We are proud and excited to share the results of the 2015 Annual Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. This year’s Annual Games were a remarkable performance by thousands of people and hundreds of teams committed to bringing compassion to life!
What we measure reflects what matters, and the Compassion Games are designed to measure a community’s (team’s) “compassion impact and strength” in planning, doing, reporting, reflecting on, and counting service in action.
The theme for the 2015 Annual Games was “compassion is our power-source for social innovation.” The 2015 results demonstrate many examples of how compassion can be brought to bear on social challenges. For example, a number of communities have committed to ending homelessness for veterans as a meaningful step towards ending homelessness in their communities.
Results in Numbers
The Compassion Games core set of measures include the number of acts of service that any individual or team performs, the number of volunteers, the hours of service, the money raised for local causes, as well as the number of people that are served.
This year, the scoreboard was subdivided into two categories for the number of people served. These categories are acts of “direct service” and “immeasurable acts of service”. This clarifies the process, for example, of counting the number of people that were served by a park cleanup, as there is no way to truly know how many will benefit from such an act. This is contrasted by direct service, when, for example, a person is the recipient of a winter coat or hot meal.
We capture these “compassion impact” numbers through reports that are posted to the Compassion Report Map. We do not verify each reported claim; we take players and organizers at their word. We have defined each of the measures in this document. Once reports are submitted, we post the numbers on the Compassion Games Scoreboard.
Results In Reports
For every result quantified, there is of course a story of a real experience that can uplift and inspire. Teams are made up of people from all walks of life, from students in classrooms to people in correctional facilities. This year was the third consecutive year a women’s prison in California played in the Compassion Games. This year, outsiders donated wool and yarn to inmates who “made amends” by knitting hats and scarves for children with terminal cancer and military veterans. You can read about this story here.
Results in Long-Term Impacts
With 2015 as the fourth year of the Annual Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest, we’re gaining a greater understanding of how the Compassion Games impacts a community over time. The following six themes offer a way to appreciate the impact and benefits of participation in the Compassion Games:
- Catalyst to Ignite Engagement: The Compassion Games reframe play and competition by turning “competitive altruism” and “friendly-competition” into “coopetition” amongst and between different teams to create excitement and motivated interest in participating.
- Amplifier of What’s Already Working: The Compassion Games can strengthen and amplify what’s already working in a community. Weaving together existing events and activities from different groups and organizations catalyzes a shared collective impact. The Compassion Games also inspires new events and activities that builds upon what’s already being planned for in a community.
- Framework and Baseline for Measuring Compassion Strength: The Compassion Games measures community service through the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served. Each year’s results create a baseline for building a team’s compassion impact and strength overtime, building “compassion muscles” individually and collectively.
- Engaging Environment for Reflection and Learning: The Compassion Games offer a means for engaging and a context for reflection that transfers the experiences from the Games to the real world. Composing and sharing Compassion Reports that include these reflections help develop the capacity to learn the skills needed to act more effectively and compassionately with ourselves and in our communities.
- Platform for Cultivating Open Participation: The Compassion Games offers an open-source, creative platform for “do it ourselves” and is made by many. The Games taps into people’s growing capacity—and desire—to participate in ways that go beyond theory and passive consumption. The Games are open, participatory, peer-driven, and an example of open-source collaboration.
- Connection to a Global Movement: The Compassion Games is a part of an international compassion movement that inspires participation in something greater than oneself and one’s local community. The Compassion Games movement lets us understand, connect, and learn from each other while co-creating a global culture of kindness.
Each of these themes are reflected in the results and the outcomes of this year’s Games.
Compassion Games 2015 Results
This section identifies the measurable output that the Compassion Games produced in 2015.
Agents of Compassion
We added 1,356 new agents and on each of the eleven days we sent out missions to over 4,500 Agents of Compassion. We now have 4,725 members of the International Kindness Team. Our goals remains to get to 10,000 Agents of Compassion; if you haven’t already, sign up here!
Teams and Leagues
A total of 193 teams registered to play in the 2015 Annual Games. Based upon the reports we know of, there were many other teams that played but did not register as a team.
In support of new partnerships with 9/11 Day, Service for Peace, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, we added a new league for “First Responders” and one for “Veterans and Military Families.”
With encouragement from the American Humane Society and leadership from Connie Vasquez from New York City, we added a new league for “Fur, Feathers, and Fins” to support all more-than-human living beings! Leagues are a helpful way to group and support like-minded teams.
Ways to Play
When people ask, “What do you do during the Compassion Games?”, it’s the “ways to play” that make up the basic activities of how to get engaged. Players get creative in coming up with ways to serve others or themselves, and service projects intended to better community well-being are at the core what it means to play in the Compassion Games.
The following section explains new ways to play that we introduced this year:
Secret Agent of Compassion: Compassion is Our Power Source Edition
Everyone who signs up to play in the Games is a member of the International Kindness Team, receiving daily missions that are sent as part of the way to play we call Secret Agent of Compassion. A mission was sent out for each day of the Annual Games (9/11-9/21), going out to over 4,500 Agents of Compassion around the world. This edition of missions were composed as part of the theme “Compassion is our power-source for social innovation.”
9/11 Good Deed Challenge
The 9/11 Good Deed Challenge was a new way to play that kicked off this year’s Games. We partnered with 9/11 Day and the Corporation for National and Community Service to encourage people to do good deeds on 9/11 and continue throughout the 11 days of the Compassion Games. There were over one million good deeds done on 9/11.
Champions of Compassion
We introduced a way to play we call Champions of Compassion that includes a simplified way for agents to invite others to play in the Games. This led to almost 1,000 new people signing up as Agents of Compassion. (You can be an Agent of Compassion by signing up to play here.) Champions of Compassion are empowered individuals who dedicate themselves to championing the power of compassion.
The US TV Talk Show Host Challenge
This year we started the US TV Talk Show Host challenge and a League of Teams associated with each talk show host. We are planning to approach each of these famous “champions of compassion” who can reach out to millions of possible agents if they choose to play. This way to play was birthed during the 2015 Compassion Games and was announced on the WBAI Radio Show, which can be watched here.
Compassion is on the verge of becoming a mainstream topic. We will focus on this new way to play to have it in place for the 2016 Annual Games.
Events and Service Projects
There were over 350 service projects and events posted to our shared calendar. Teams post upcoming service projects, events and activities here and promote them to their local community. The picture to the right is just a snapshot of a tiny portion of the many, many events that were produced as part of the Compassion Games by team organizers and their fellow teammates.
On September 21st, the last day of the 11 Days of Global Unity, we teamed up with the UN International Day of Peace, Unify
and the Silent Disco Squad to co-create the “Global Peace Dance Party”. We joined with many different teams all over the world bringing a collective unified action of Global Peace through dance. We danced with Denmark, Australia, Washington DC, Vancouver, Big Sky, Montreal, San Francisco, Seattle, Israel, China, Spain, and others.
Compassion Report Map
Through our continued partnership with ESRI in 2015 we published a new Compassion Report Map to simplify the submission process and to enhance the viewing experience. The map is remarkable in what it shows. Nearly 1,000 reports were submitted during the Games that included the compassion impact measures. You can you view the entire map here.
As is often the case with with a new technology, there are challenges in introducing and stabilizing the tool. Thank you to everyone for their patience and commitment. We’re already in development on the next generation of compassion mapping technologies.
Compassion Games Coopetition Scoreboard
The scoreboard shows the results for each team that reported. The teams are listed alphabetically… remember, no one can lose the Compassion Games!
The scoreboard totals were the following:
You can link to the entire scoreboard here.
Reported Outcomes and Experiences
The thematic impacts that we’re making and the results that were produced are highlighted in the outcomes we share. There were amazing “lived experiences” that happened that we can all appreciate and benefit from. What follows is only a drop in the bucket of the nearly 1,000 reports that were submitted to the Compassion Report Map. The following reports are organized by Teams and Individual Players.
As usual, Louisville, Kentucky did a remarkable job playing in the Games. They were awarded a mini-grant by the Compassion Games and chose to donate a “compassion bench” to their local Islamic center. As fate would have it, a few days prior to the
event in which the bench was to be donated, one or more individuals chose to scrawl words of hate onto the center’s walls. As Mayor Greg Fischer said at the time, “this was like a punch to the gut.” Louisville, by far, is one of the most compassionate cities in the world and prides itself on their interfaith sensitivity and understanding.
What was to be a small Compassion Games event turned into a huge community event attended by over 1,000 people. They had the children take fresh paint to wash out and paint over the hate that was scribbled on the walls. It was symbolic and powerful (on left).
In other reports, students at the University of Louisville were asked to write “love letters” during the Games (center). Another player reported her reflection on how the Compassion Games had positively impacted her life (right). Participation in the Games can leave a lasting impact. There were well over a 100 reports from Louisville alone!
Compassionate Huntington Beach
We’re thrilled when we hear things such as Rev. Peggy Price from Huntington Beach California posting that Compassionate Huntington Beach doubled their number of points this year (see left image). For us, this is a sign that the Games are serving as a baseline for growth, and giving the community a target to aim for in building its capacity to act more compassionately overtime. Go Huntington Beach! On the right, view a report on just a simple act done to support someone’s grandfather.
Toledo and Northwest Ohio
We were stunned to see this beautiful tapestry of compassion reports produced by Judy Trautman and the folks from Greater Toledo and Northwest Ohio (left). This is what compassion in action looks like. Just take a look at these individual reports to appreciate the wide range of actions taken by a diverse community of individuals, groups, and organizations from the Greater Toledo and NW Ohio area. There were over 60,000 pounds of food and many acts of compassion and kindness happening in Toledo Ohio!
Compassionate Richardson – Feeding Children Everywhere
Here’s a report that shows what happens when 15 nonprofits and 15 houses of worship come together and pack over 20,000 meals for hungry kids. Dr. Charles Barker is one of the humblest and most powerful organizers we’ve ever met. He was able to bring together very diverse groups to do amazing good together while feeding hungry kids.
Peace Day Austin; 9/11 Heroes Run- Compassionate Austin
There were 17 different teams that participated in the Compassion Games from Austin, Texas and 2 more from neighboring communities. A group of collaborating organizations joined together to celebrate and honor Peace Day and Global Welcoming Week, generating multiple compassionate activities and events from 9/11 through 9/21, culminating in a city proclamation. Dr. Lesa Walker, Founder of the Compassionate Austin movement, welcomed and encouraged organizations to participate simultaneously in the Compassion Games as a perfect way to highlight and elevate these wonderful Peace Day Austin efforts on both a local and global level! Teams represented Austin’s art, music, poetry, dance, drama, and yoga sectors, libraries; schools and colleges, youth-focused organizations, faith/interfaith groups, as well as businesses and service groups. The Austin 9/11 Heroes Run, benefiting the Travis Manion Foundation, was awarded a Compassion Games mini-grant this year! In addition, due to the Compassionate Austin and Peace Day Austin’s social media efforts, word spread and there were a couple of self-started family teams that emerged this year involving youth. Lesa Walker is based in Austin and also serves on the Compassion Games leadership team. She coined the phrase “compassion is our power source for social innovation” that was the theme for this year’s Games. Lesa says that the Games offer a wonderful way to engage and unite the community in compassionate action. Austin is teeming with compassionate activity. The Games are a way to highlight and document collective impact and spread the message of the importance of 3D compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth).
The Compassion Games were a part of powerful community processes to bring about healing. Here’s a report about the power of forgiveness (on left). Rotary Peace Days in Winnipeg was a big sponsor of the Peace Days and Compassion Games. Many events were intergenerational and cross-cultural. The Compassion Games in Winnipeg included an Indigenous Powwow (on right).
The California Institution for Women’s Prison in Chino California played their own Compassion Games. Introducing the Games to the inmates gave them another way to express their power. The impact was transformational, and an entirely new culture emerged since the women first played in 2013.
- The first year the women logged more than 4600 acts of kindness on 1” X 2” pieces of paper and deposited them into their
unit’s designated envelope. The women coined the name “Compassionistas”, and took the Games very seriously. Everyone who played participated in a closing ceremony. The winning unit received a frosted cake decorated in the color of their unit. Everyone who played got frosted cake. Almost 100% of the prison population played in the Games, which had measurable and astounding results. For the first time in the history of the prison there were 11 days without a single recorded incident of violence. In year 2, 10,000 acts of kindness were recorded and this year, because of some changes made within the prison system, the women were permitted to sew, knit and craft items for homeless veterans, shut-ins, nursing homes and children’s hospitals. The women logged in more than 3,500 hours of volunteer service during the 2015 Compassion Games and are already looking forward to playing in 2016.
From West Virginia: “Meaningful Misfits”
Coming out of West Virginia a remarkable therapist organized a team of youth that are challenged with co-occurring disorders. They formed a team called the “Meaningful Misfits” and performed some of the most creative, thoughtful and simple acts of kindness.
Individual Players, Families and Teams
Sharing Donuts: As brothers learn to be nice to each other, their mother shows them how to share their compassion on the Report Map. It all took less than a minute! (See report on left.)
Let Live: Here’s an example of caring for all creation. This player realized that it was the last day of the Compassion Games when they discovered 13 wild turkeys in their yard. They chose to set them free in the name of compassion! (See report on right.)
The Compassion Corner Returns Home!
David Breaux completed his year-long Compassion Tour by ending up in Seattle where he jumped in and was a key part in the Compassion Games by offering his honed wisdom and heartfelt sincerity. David is back in Davis, California and on the Compassion Bench! (See report on left.)
As part of preparing for a free, no-questions-asked health clinic, a team of volunteers were challenged with sorting 5,500 donated pairs of running shoes. It was planned to take two days of full-time volunteers to complete this task. There were so many volunteers and it was so well-organized that the task was done in half a day. People were actually disappointed when the job was done it was so much fun to serve together!
With nearly 1,000 reports on the Compassion Report Map, there are many examples of compassion for others, for ourselves, and for the earth. Visit the map to appreciate the many shapes and forms that compassion takes in our world during the Compassion Games.
Our Partners: Sponsors & Supporters
In addition to the individual players and team organizers, there are our incredible partners – sponsors and supporters – who make the Compassion Games possible.
LUSH Cosmetics – This is the third year that LUSH has been our Gold sponsor. You could not ask for a better partner and company dedicated to using their power to affect positive change in the world. They encouraged LUSH stores to challenge each other to participate in the Compassion Games as well as engage the many other nonprofits they support.
Service for Peace is a subgrantee of the US Corporation for National and Community service. This year, Service for Peace was a sponsor of the Annual Games, which made it possible for us to issue mini-grants to participating teams. We first met in Louisville and we have now partnered on 9/11 day, looking forward to partnering on MLK day going forward as well.
The Corporation for National Community Service is a federal agency of the United States government. They are responsible for promoting public service for 9/11 day as a National Day of Service of Remembrance as well as MLK Day as a National Day of Service. We are deeply grateful for their support of the Compassion Games.
Compassionate Action Network (CAN) – CAN is our fiscal sponsor and the original home for the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities and the Compassion Games. The Seeds of Compassion was the initial event that brought many of us together, including Compassion Games chairman Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. The CAN board includes Yaffa Maritz, Heide Felton, Dan Kranzler, Maya Nader, Jeff Vanderclut, Cynthia Figgie, and Andrea Brenneke. Thank you for your foundational support.
Thanks to the Kirlin Foundation and to Dan for his personal commitment and determination to being a living example and reflection of the deepest values of compassion and generosity. Dan has held this movement together for the good of all of us.
New Stories and Threshold Foundation – Thanks to Lynnaea Lumbard for so deeply supporting the birth of the Compassion Games as part of the New Stories community as well as bringing us to the Threshold foundation as an opportunity to gain their support. Thank you to the donors who contributed as part of the Threshold Foundation grant to the Compassion Games.
Greenworld – Many thanks to Marc Ian Barasch for his support for the Games. The interview we conducted as well as the alignment and partnership with the Green World campaign, focusing on regreening the planet in one generation for all future generations, is a remarkable example of Green Compassion.
The Shift Network and the Summer of Peace – Thanks to Philip Hellmich, Stephen Dinan and Emily Hine for their continued promotional support of the Compassion Games!
The Charter for Compassion – Thanks to Marilyn Turkovich for the strategic partnership we have with the Charter for Compassion. We are natural complementors for each other and we encourage all the teams to be Charter Partners as well as participants in The Games.
The 11 Days of Global Unity – Thanks to Rick Ulfik for conceiving of and sharing the platform for 11 days of global unity. This frames the connection between 9/11 as a Day of Service and Remembrance and 9/21 as the International Day of Peace, and is the timeframe in which we organize the Annual Games!
United Religions Initiative continues to be a strategic partner for the Compassion Games, with many of our core team and advisers connected closely to them.
Puget Sound Community School – This innovative school was founded by none other than Andy Smallman, leader of the International Kindness Team and primary author of the missions for the Secret Agent of Compassion.
CCARE – Thank you to Dr. James Doty for sharing his wisdom and network of support to promote the Compassion Games. We’re honored to offer a signed copy of his new book as one of the perks for our IndieGoGo Campaign.
Wisdom at Work – Thank you Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey for your continued support and generous sharing of resources, talents and gifts. The “contemplations” that you’ve written are a fundamental part of the Game’s foundation.
Andy Smallman continues to teach kindness through his nonprofit called kind living. Andy is the heart and soul of the International Kindness Team.
fish (Astronaut) – There were many new images created by fish (Astronaut) during this year’s Annual Games. We think Fish did his most exceptional work to date during this year’s Games. We love the simple and powerful messages his drawings contain. The Games would not be what they are without fish (Astronaut). Thank you fish!
Thanks to the partnership with the Silent Disco Squad for organizing the closing ceremonies on a global level.
United Nations International Day of Peace – Thank you to Reverend Deborah Moldow for embracing and supporting the Compassion Games and building its relationship with United Nations.
ESRI – We are grateful to ESRI for their generous support of the crowdsourcing platform for the Compassion Report Map.
Lorian Associates – Thank you David Spangler for contributing your unique talents and insight into crafting the missions for the agents during the Compassion Games.
Thank you Gary Zukav for lending your wisdom and clarity about the importance of compassion and “survival of the kindest”!
Compassionate Louisville – Our partners and friends in Louisville continue to play such a key part in the overall compassion movement. Mayor Greg Fischer and his team including Tom Williams, Brenda Frank, Lora Haynes, and Peter Hayes were available whenever we needed them to help spread the word and encourage others to embrace compassion in building-up their community. You could not ask for more generous and supportive partners than we have with our “champions from the ‘ville.” Also the original “community challenge” coming out of Louisville is what helped inspire the birth of the Compassion Games movement!
For a complete list of our remarkable sponsors and supporters go here.
Interviews with Distinguished Champions of Compassion
We produced and published seven interviews with distinguished Champions of Compassion. We asked these leaders why compassion is important to them in their work and about their support for the Compassion Games. Interviews were produced with: Dorothy (Dot Maver), Dr. James Doty, Gary Zukav, Mayor Greg Fischer, Reverend Gola Wolfson Richards, Marc Ian Barasch, Karin Miller, and David Breaux. They can be viewed here.
We received limited coverage from different media outlets. This is certainly an area that we can improve. Here are some print and broadcast coverage we did receive:
We did dramatically expand our social media presence and went from 2,000 to over 15,000 likes on our Facebook page!
We also got more engaged via Twitter including participating in #CompassionConvo’s led by Compassion NYC organizer Marie Roker-Jones.
Expanding our social media presence and partnership with the Charter for Compassion is one of our goals for 2016. We just received a grant from the Parliament of World Religions to strengthen our partnership and the application of social media for it. We will be encouraging players and partners to sign up and use Slack to communicate with each other.
We are gifted with a number of extremely talented and committed individuals who work and volunteer to make the Compassion Games possible.
Thank you to Sande Hart for giving so much to making the Games happen and for supporting individuals looking to organize teams. You have enriched the Games and made the Games accessible to so many organizers. Thank you.
Thank you to Joey Crotty for bringing a diverse set of talents and skills from writing, graphic design, and website management to articulating the dream of a just and compassionate world. Under the leadership of Joey we completed a major upgrade to our website and social media presence. Thanks to Beth Alexander for lending her skills and talent to making our website presence so functional!
Our gratitude extends to Dr. Lesa Walker for her humble, clear headed, determined and brilliant approach to building relationships, growing a network, and creatively finding solutions to have things work. Dr. Walker is a member of the Leadership Team.
Sommer Joy Albertsen is the Compassion Games unicorn, divine inspiration and caregiver to the creative life force that sustains us. Her natural leadership talents, creative imagination and expression give the Compassion Games their magical perspective. Thank you Sommer!
Phyllis Shulman is a key advisor and contributor to strategic projects and initiatives that have guided and directed the development and growth of the Compassion Games. Thank you Phyllis!
Thank you to Jon Ramer for keeping the fire burning and getting us all into this mess!
There are many others who selflessly gave to make the Compassion Games a possibility… Thank you very much!
Board of Directors and Advisors
We are blessed with a wise and committed Board of Directors and advisers. Thank you to Phil Lane Jr., Jim McCarthy, Kunal Sood, Leslie Meehan, and brother Sidney Genette.
We are grateful to our fiscal sponsor the Compassionate Action Network and the members of the board who give selflessly of themselves in support of this work and the work of many moving the compassion dial forward.
To help underwrite the cost of producing the games we launched an Indiegogo campaign. We’d love you to contribute and help spread the word!