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Frequently Asked Questions

 

The Questions

  1. What kind of organization is the International Center?
  2. How is the International Center governed and led?
  3. What kind of legal entity is the International Center for Compassionate Organizations?
  4. What is the International Center's relationship to the Charter for Compassion?
  5. What is the International Center's relationship with religion-focused or political party-based organizations?
  6. Why does the International Center charge organizations for products and services?
  7. Was Ari Cowan, the International Center's Director General, the one who certified Louisville as a "Compassionate City?"
  8. Is the International Center part of or involved with the Compassionate Louisville group?
  9. Why did the International Center move from Seattle to Louisville?
  10. What is the International Center's stance on people, governments, corporations, and others driving some of the suffering in the world?

 

 

 

Questions About the Center

Q 1

What kind of organization is the International Center?
 

A

The International Center for Compassionate Organizations is a nonprofit, public health, and public service organization that focuses on social systems such as government, business, healthcare systems, service agencies, colleges and universities, and schools. The Center is neither a "movement" or "social service delivery" organization; rather it focuses on providing practical education, research, and public information on the understanding, application, and growth of compassion as a value and practice in social systems.

The International Center is classified as a nonprofit organization in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and as a nonprofit charitable organization under Section 501(c)3 by the United States Internal Revenue Service.

The International Center affiliate center in the United Kingdom is located in Nottingham, England.

Q 2

How is the International Center governed and led?
 

A

The International Center is governed by a Governing Committee made up of twelve people. The Center is led by Ari Cowan, Director General, and Tony Belak, JD, Associate Director General. The International Center in the United Kingdom is lead by Darran Trute, Executive Director, and Jeff Buck, Associate Director.

Q 3

What kind of legal entity is the International Center for Compassionate Organizations?
 

A

The International Center is a nonprofit organization organized in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, USA. The Center's has received a determination letter from the United States Internal Revenue Service classifying the International Center as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Q 4

What is the International Center's relationship to the Charter for Compassion?
 

A

The International Center is not affiliated with the Charter for Compassion.

Q 5

What is the International Center's relationship with religion-focused or political party-based organizations?
 

A

The International Center for Compassionate Organizations is not affiliated with religion-focused or political party-based organizations or initiatives. The International Center is a nonpolitical and nonreligious public health organization.

Q 6

Why does the International Center charge organizations for products and services?
 

A

We charge for some of our products and services (including assistance we provide for compassion campaigns) for a number of reasons including: 1) free products and services unfairly undercut the livelihoods of professionals and their organizations wishing to offer similar products and services, making it difficult to compete with us; 2) we eliminate those who are not serious and committed to their compassion projects; and 3) the income we generate from these products and services helps underwrite the programs we do provide for free such as information services and assistance to those unable to pay.

Q 7

Was Ari Cowan, the International Center's Director General, the one who certified Louisville as a "Compassionate City?"
 

A

In 2011 (and before the establishment of the International Center), International Center Director General Ari Cowan had a consulting engagement with the Compassionate Action Network (CAN) and developed the International Institute for Compassionate Cities (IICC) as well as serving as CAN's representative to Louisville to certify the city under the ICCC program. The program Ari created included:

  1. Affirming the "Charter for Compassion" by proclamation on the part of the mayor and city council (or their equivalents).
  2. Developing of a comprehensive plan with tangible, measurable results.
  3. Identify and research outcomes with respect to the application, acceptance, and efficacy and each city's compassion efforts.
  4. Use the IICC for collating and distributing information to all cities in the program, thus sharing ideas, challenges, and questions.
  5. Where possible and practical, affiliating with local colleges or universities to cultivate academic participation, collaborate on research, and to provide students in a variety of disciplines working experience in practical applications of compassion.

This approach was, along with the IICC, abandoned by CAN. However, the "Charter for Compassion" proclamation requirement remained.

The new approach is simpler and more convenient, and allows more cities to quickly declare themselves to be compassionate. Thus, while Ari did certify Louisville, it was for a program that no longer exists.

Q 8 Is the International Center involved with or part of the Compassionate Louisville group?
 

A

While the International Center for Compassionate Organizations is currently located in Louisville, it is not part of the Compassionate Louisville group. The Center's focus extends beyond the Metro Louisville area. However, Louisville — because of a number of factors, including its proximity to the Center — is a demonstration site for International Center initiatives and programs that are designed to be of value to organizations worldwide.

One of our goals is to be sure that anything we offer to one organization (in this case a city), we will make available to other, similar organizations throughout the world. Our objective is make sure that — to the degree that we can — we don't play favorites when making such decisions. If the International Center were to become a Louisville community organization, then it would need to make a similar commitment to become a community organization in other cities. As this is far beyond our capabilities, we decline local involvement except as far as conducting program demonstrations.

Q 9

Why did the International Center move from Seattle to Louisville?
 

A

Louisville is already known for its leadership in the compassion arena, having received the 2012 U. S. Conference of Mayors Most Livable Large City Award and the 2012 Jack Olive International Compassionate City of the Year Award. Additionally, a Louisville citizen received the 2012 Jack Olive International Heart of Compassion Award for his work furthering the value and practice of compassion worldwide.

Comparing the locations of Louisville and Seattle — both active in compassion efforts — Louisville is within 360 miles (580 km) of the mean population center of the United States. Seattle is 1,672 miles (2,690 km) from the mean population center of the United States. Louisville is within approximately 600 miles (965 km) of twelve major cities. Seattle is within approximately 600 miles (965 km) of two major cities (Portland and Spokane).

Louisville has led by a mayor who is committed to fostering compassion as a value and practice in his city. Because of Louisville’s example, Tom Cochran, the executive director of the U. S. Council of Mayors has committed his organization to encouraging other cities to follow Louisville’s example.

With respect to continuing in Louisville, the International Center leadership is aware of changing social conditions worldwide as well as the Center's growing capabilities. In recognition of these dynamics, the leadership team routinely evaluates how and from where to best serve.

More on the Center's move to Louisville.

Q 10 What is the International Center's stance on people, governments, corporations, and others driving some of the suffering in the world?
  A

We take a public health stance regarding people, governments, corporations, and others contributing to suffering in the world. Perhaps the best way to explain our approach is to use the example of a hospital.

When a patient arrives in the emergency room for treatment of a broken arm, that patient's occupation, religion, political affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, gender, social status, education, or similar defining characteristics are not relevant to the decision about whether or not to treat them. The only consideration is their broken arm and the importance of treating it directly.

In the overall consideration of arm fractures and the desire to reduce the challenge of this health issue, those involved in public health examine the sources of broken arms and develop methods to effectively prevent and respond to incidents related to this health issue.

As a public health organizations, our approach is much the same.

For example, policing in the United States has become a significant concern, and one we share. Our approach to working with police and the communities they serve is to understand the dynamics of those elements driving suffering (in the form of excessive use of force, racism, cover-ups, etc.) to work with the people affected to stop the onset of suffering, prevent its recurrence, build resiliency in the people and organizations at risk so that the antecedents to injury (physical, emotional, mental, situational/environmental, and transpersonal/spiritual) is reduced, and effective responses to those events that may continue to occur are met effectively.

Accusation, shaming, condemnation, demonization, hate, intolerance, brow-beating, revenge, and related responses are absent from our approach.

We believe that holding the feet of others to the fire does nothing to warm their frozen hearts and return them to health and freedom from suffering.

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working to foster the value and practice of compassion in organizations worldwide.
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