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Compassionate Tacoma

Compassionate Tacoma

Compassionate Tacoma is a new initiative launched by Mayor Victoria Woodards in March 2020. It is founded in the belief that each of us has the ability to make Tacoma a more welcoming, connected, resilient, and vibrant community by listening and serving others with love.


Each of us have the power to impact the lives of our friends, families, neighbors, and neighborhoods every day. We can do so by practicing compassion in ways both small and large everyday – at work, at home, driving on the freeway, or in school. The long-term benefits to us as individuals and to our community as a whole can be much larger than we believe. 


The City of Tacoma Establishes Rental Assistance Fund

In response to a request from the community to establish a way for people to donate to our rental assistance program, we have opened the City of Tacoma Rental Assistance Fund with the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. You can help a family in need pay their rent by making a donation to the Rental Housing Fund to increase the amount of funding available for people who need rental housing assistance because of COVID-19 impacts. Read the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Disclosure.


Donate to the Rental Assistance Fund


Join us in Making Tacoma a More Compassionate City

Are you in? Share your commitment to practicing compassion and making Tacoma a more kind and connected community by completing the pledge form below. There is no opportunity too small to make a difference. Those who sign up will be among the first notified of future ways to get involved and chances to get swag that lets you show your commitment to a more Compassionate Tacoma.

Compassionate Tacoma

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Coming Soon! Nominate Community Members that Create a More Compassionate Tacoma

While we hope there will be many Compassionate Tacoma announcements in the coming year, one goal of the Compassionate Tacoma Initiative is to recognize community members that use the core principles of "listen", "serve" and "love" in their daily lives. Individuals, organizations, groups and businesses will be able to be nominated (self-nominations are also encouraged) for practicing these principals on a regular basis. There will be more information on the nomination process coming soon! Complete the pledge form above to be the first to get updates.


20 is Plenty  

The 20 is Plenty campaign is partnering with Compassionate Tacoma. This campaign is working to create more space for safe walking on residential streets, as well as promote biking, and people powered transportation. More than ever, people are out using residential streets differently than they have before. This campaign encourages us to all to look out for each other, be a good neighbor, and slow down while driving on residential streets, because 20 is Plenty. To learn more, visit cityoftacoma.org/20isplenty.


Why Does Compassion Matter?

Engaged Communities are Stronger Communities. Results from the 2019 community survey showed that Tacoma is an engaged city – More than 75% of surveyed residents indicated that they come to City Council meetings or City events, belong to community or faith groups, or actively volunteer. However, only 22% of respondents believed that their civic engagement and service is “very impactful” or “impactful” to our community. 


While the public may doubt the value of their connections and contributions, the City of Tacoma holds that these things are vital. Communities and the government agencies that serve them can only function well when community members are actively engaged.


Service Excellence. Additionally, city services can have very different impacts when delivered with compassion. Every interaction with businesses, visitors, and residents is an opportunity to build trust in local government and influence our reputation as a city. How we do what we do is important. Conducting the routine processes or providing services with care while seeking to understand community members and coworkers can vastly improve outcomes.


Improved Public Health. The kind of connections created by compassion have sweeping and scientifically-backed impacts on public health. For example, research has shown that witnessing or experiencing even small acts of kindness:

  • Produces Oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the 'love hormone,' which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health
  • Shields us from the physiological impacts of stress
  • Positively changes bio-markers in our brain, and
  • As discovered by those in the emerging field of epigenetics, it has the power to improve our health by changing the story of our DNA

Engaging the Power of our Diversity to Spur Innovation. Tacoma is a city, like many across the nation, grappling with issues such as climate change, homelessness, equity, and housing affordability – nuanced issues with immediate system-wide impacts which lack tried and true answers. Diversity is a key driver of innovation. Finding successful paths forward in these uncharted areas will require engaging the power of our diversity and constructively communicating across differences to develop new approaches. Success requires us to be able to put all ideas on the table: Compassion is not refraining from speaking your truth. In fact, it can mean speaking up when it is unpopular when what we witness is at odds with our values. It is about dropping the weapons that often come with our words, and speaking our truths with the kind of love described by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


By promoting action in alignment with these principals, this initiative will advance the following goals from the Tacoma 2025 Strategic Plan:

  • Embrace Tacoma’s diversity of people, places, and cultures
  • Grow and enhance the vitality of Tacoma’s neighborhoods
  • Increase neighborhood safety
  • Improve services to youth and vulnerable communities
  • Engage residents, stakeholders, and partners in the future of Tacoma

Compassionate Tacoma will move the needle on these Tacoma 2025 indicators of opportunity:

  • Increase the percentage of residents who believe they are able to have a positive impact on the community and express trust in the public institutions in Tacoma
  • Increase the number of residents who participate civically through volunteering and voting
  • Increase positive perception of safety and overall quality of life