Compassion Elk Grove: A Quick Introduction

What do we mean by “compassion”?

Active concern for the well-being of others, especially those in need or distress.

Why is compassion important?

  • Humans are by nature social beings who cooperate and depend on each other to survive and thrive.
    •  Because we are interdependent, a fully developed community requires caring for each other and promoting the common good for everyone. Compassion builds community.
    •  One cannot become a fully developed individual without both giving and receiving compassion. Compassion builds people.
  • We live in a time of dangers and challenges that affect everyone and demand the response of a compassionate community.
  • Compassion is an antidote to hate and fear.

What is Compassion Elk Grove?

A new non-profit organization dedicated to promoting compassion in the greater Elk Grove area.

How does Compassion Elk Grove plan to promote compassion?

Through collecting and disseminating free information:

  • Recognition of compassionate service already in the community and helping to learn from and expand it.
  • Identification of where more compassion is needed and of ways to provide it.
  • Advocacy for more compassionate approaches.
  • Promotion of open discussion via both Internet and face-to-face meetings.
  • Maintenance of an Internet-accessible library of links and references to easily accessible sources about compassion and how to implement it as individuals and community.
  • Keeping the idea and value of compassion in the public eye.

Who is behind it?

Interested individuals who think that a greater sense of compassion is important for our community to become the kind of place we want to live in.

  • We represent no organization, religion, or ideology. The idea for the organization came out of a weekly coffee klatch that over a couple years has been reading and discussing the topic.
  • The members are:
    • Brenda Kress: consultant focusing on compassion in business and leadership
    • Robert Lilly
    • Greg McAvoy-Jensen: Catholic deacon and CEO of an information technology company
    • Paul Merrill: Retired marriage and family therapist and former clergyman
    • Bill Myers: Retired United Nations child rights advocate and scholar
    • Mackenzie Wieser, Planning Commissioner, Climate Commissioner, Environmental Education NonProfit CEO, compassionate mother of 3.
  • We hope to attract more interested individuals into participating with us, and are open to everyone interested.

Guiding Principles

  1. Compassion is Natural
  2. Compassion Can Be Extended
  3. Training and Practicing Are Important
  4. All is Interconnected
  5. A Selfless Vision
  6. Compassion Nurtures All of Us
  7. Relationships are Shared
  8. Interdependence and Cooperation
  9. Human Rights Exist for Everyone
  10. A Sharing Economy
  11. Simple and Sustainable
  12. Human Behaviors Drive Change
  13. Well-being for All
  14. Visionary and Courageous Leadership

Our Story

The idea for Compassion Elk Grove comes from an ongoing informal coffee clatch that weekly discusses current events, ideas, and moral issues. Three members of that clatch together read and discussed chapter by chapter a challenging but usefully comprehensive book on compassion—Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World—by famed French scientist-philosopher-writer-Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. That was us, Paul, Greg and Bill, and we found the message of that book, plus other scientific and philosophical material on compassion that we also looked into, so compelling that we decided the whole subject of compassion and its enormous social and individual benefits should be made more publicly visible. It would be good for everybody.  We also were moved by the gobal Charter for Compassion initiated by religious historian Karen Armstrong a few years ago and the fact that some cities have begun to draft their own charters of compassion to help guide policy more effectively toward the common good. One of those cities is Sacramento, and we made contact with the group of volunteers behind the movement there. This is the kind of conversation we thought it would be good to start in Elk Grove, dealing with our own situation and population. As we looked around at our own community, we were impressed both by how many people and organizations are already carrying out projects of compassion that people ought to know more about and by how much need there is for compassion that  our community should be aware of. So we thought it would be a good idea to simply raise and inject a compassionate viewpoint into public discussion of our many issues. Our interest is in encouraging and helping people and organizations to think compassionately, not in deciding for them what compassion in a given situation ought to look like.   That is theirs to decide.

The website on which you are reading this is our very first foray into implementing the encouragement and supportiveness we intend. We represent no particular group, religion, or ideology. We really are just a pick-up group of citizens believing we should all be more compassionate. We are open to participation by all. If you have any questions, or information and ideas you would like to share, or if would care to join us, please let us know at the address on this website.