Compassion Ecosystem Sponsorship Program

Following His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Seattle in 2008 for the Seeds of Compassion conference, Compassionate Action Network (CAN) was created with the express purpose of incubating promising compassion-focused initiatives. CAN's founders recognized that grassroots programs face incredible obstacles in the early stages of organizational development. In order to provide this "compassion ecosystem" with the resources most needed by these programs, CAN established a sponsorship platform to provide comprehensive support and relationship-based incubation for new compassion-focused nonprofit organizations.

Over the years, CAN's sponsored programs have collectively impacted millions of lives across the globe. These partners in compassion have each gone on to become successful, independent organizations with a deep commitment to creating compassionate communities and a more compassionate world. Through visionary sponsorship of these inspiring initiatives, Compassionate Action Network is creating a world united by compassionate action. Here are a few examples of our successes:

Charter for Compassion International
Born out of Karen Armstrong's 2008 TED Prize, Charter for Compassion International (CCI) provides global networking and events that enable people and organizations that affirm The Charter to connect and engage in collaborative partnerships. To date, CCI has achieved the following impacts:

  • Over two million signatures and contributors worldwide, including Elizabeth Gilbert, Deepak Chopra, and many others
  • More than 100 cities and governments in over 50 countries
  • Over 400 community initiatives worldwide
  • More than 1,775 partner organizations

Compassion Games International
Compassion Games offers fun and creative ways to catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. In the five annual Compassion Games, competition becomes coopetition as teams and individuals challenge one another to make our planet a better place to live through community service, acts of kindness, and raising monies for local causes. The 2016 Global Unity Games resulted in:

  • 30,828 volunteers
  • 97,743 hours of service
  • 2,862,245 people served
  • $81,358,809.50 cause contributions
I’m aware of no other foundations or organizations making the bold argument that compassion is their number one priority across programs, interventions, and policies. This is visionary.
— Dacher Keltner, Director, Greater Good Science Center

While each sponsored program receives personalized support and resources guided by CAN's commitment to relationship-based compassionate collaboration, the following are examples of services and support we provide to our sponsored programs:


Fiscal Sponsorship

Recognizing that investing in administration and infrastructure can sometimes be impossible for new initiatives, CAN provides short-term and medium-term fiscal sponsorships which allow organizations to begin focusing on their mission immediately. During this period, CAN provides coaching, program development, funding, and additional resources to ensure that the fundamentals are healthy before embarking on the journey to become independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. 

Individualized Coaching

Each organization brings different strengths to their mission. CAN works with each sponsored project to identify and expand these strengths, and to recognize opportunities for growth. We match domain experts with sponsored programs to provided individualized coaching in the areas of fundraising, building a business plan, program development, partnership building, identifying and connecting with their essential purpose, and more.  



Access to Resources

New initiatives can rarely afford to bring needed resources in-house during the early stages of organizational growth and development. CAN provides sponsored programs with access to fundraising support, leadership development, marketing and communications support, and other resources based on their unique needs. 


Trust-Based Grantmaking

CAN provides periodic operational funding, matching grants, and project-based mini-grants to sponsored programs and partners. Whenever possible, this financial support is offered as unrestricted funds to allow the organization to deploy the funds where they will have the most impact. Moreover, we invest in action research—front-line efforts undertaken by carefully selected and vetted organizations which are designed to produce findings through experimentation and implementation.

Program goals

To nurture a healthy Compassion Ecosystem:
CAN supports the health and vitality of what we call the Compassion Ecosystem: a growing network of individuals, groups, initiatives, organizations, institutions, and systems dedicated to compassionate action. CAN's efforts seek to elevate our culture’s collective understanding of compassion, as well as to redefine the role organizations play in stewarding and nurturing a movement. Although we focus primarily on groups based in the Pacific Northwest, we seek out organizations with a broad local and global reach, resulting in support of the worldwide compassion movement.

To support innovation through Strategic Amplification:
CAN's unique position allows us to witness the patterns and evolutionary trends that are reshaping our world. As we identify what is emerging, we also seek to discover what these promising initiatives require in order to contribute to a compassionate, whole society. Strategic Amplification refers to the activities of (1) identifying promising solutions and innovations with the greatest potential impact and benefit to society, (2) discerning what is needed to scale and/or evolve these initiatives, and (3) facilitating those needs being met.

To create a world united through Compassionate Action:
We believe in a world united by compassion, and recognize that this vision calls each of us to take action in our own lives and communities to create more opportunities to come together in compassion. CAN invests in this vital collective effort by ensuring the groups and initiatives that demonstrate the most promising, solutions-based approaches have access to the resources, partnerships, and support they need to succeed in their efforts.

Support this program

Your financial support empowers Compassionate Action Network to create a world united by compassion through our Compassion Ecosystem Sponsorship program. Our efforts to identify promising compassion-focused initiatives and incubate successful programs are made possible through the generous support of contributors like you. 


For organizations: Interested in participating CAN's Compassion Ecosystem Sponsorship program? Please contact us.