Empathy Surplus Project

A Caring Citizens' Congress Federation.

The Caring Citizens' Congress


Our Vision

“We the people” and our representatives - not kings, presidents, preachers, CEOs, or generals - are charged with the protection and empowerment of our own and one another's life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We will occupy compassion and care for ourselves, care for our family, care for our work, care for our communities, care for our states, care for our nation, and care for our world.

Our Values

Empathy, Responsibility and Strength - Empathy and responsibility for self and others, basic human rights, are strengthened when people govern both privately and publicly with these values, caring for one another, leading to freedom and fairness for all.

Protection, Fulfillment and Fairness - When you care for someone, even people you don't know, you want them to be protected, their hopes and dreams fulfilled, and to be treated fairly.

Freedom, Opportunity, and Prosperity - Fulfillment in life comes from being free. Our communities must have sufficient prosperity for its residents to have the opportunities to exercise their mutual responsibilities to care for themselves and each other.

Community, Service, Cooperation - Children are shaped by their communities. Shared responsibility requires serving and helping to shape that community. That service above self requires cooperation.

Trust, Honest, and Open Communication - Effective cooperation requires trust. Building trust, or a trust / brand, requires the consistent, honest, and open communication of these core American values in all aspects of our lives.

Our Purpose - To Build Trust for Effective Governance

The Empathy Surplus Project was formed on August 27, 2009 as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of Ohio. Our application for 501(c)4 status was submitted in August 2014. The Organization is operated to accomplish the following purposes:

  1. To promote the compassionate discourse among citizens of the United States who believe empathy and responsibility for self and others belong in public government; 
  2. To research, develop and promote the distribution of information about the benefits of compassionate public government; 
  3. To encourage the development of caring public policy directions that promote a measurable empathy surplus and encourage the citizens of the United States to protect and empower each other; and 
  4. To engage in any lawful act or activity and to do all things necessary, convenient, or expedient to further the general purpose of the corporation either alone or in association with other corporations, firms, associations or individuals.

Your Neighborhood Think-And-Do Tank

Members of the Empathy Surplus Project are Caring Citizens' Congresses.

A Caring Citizens’ Congress is a neighborhood collaborative think-and-do tank, a small community of diplomatic practice. These 1st Amendment gatherings are made up of no more than 12 caring citizens called delegates, registered voters of any political affiliation or no affiliation. These delegates practice 4-Occupy Compassion Exercises to strengthen caring citizenship [see below]. 

Dr. George Lakoff, author of our consulting materials, identifies two parts to all public policy: material and cognitive. The material policy is about the nuts and bolts of legislation or local ordinances and identifies how things work.

We currently have the requisite number of delegates to charter, i.e. 6, but need three more Republicans to meet our diversity requirement. Our current make-up is one Republican, one unaffiliated, and four Democrats. 

Caring Policy Directions

Cognitive policy is about what the public has to have in its brain in order to support material policy - the idea. Caring Citizens' Congresses focus on cognitive policy called caring policy directions. Our electoral process focuses on precinct and county parties to spread those ideas at the grassroots.

Membership in Your Caring Citizens' Congress

Caring citizens are the solution. Members of a Caring Citizens' Congress are called delegates or adjuncts. Delegates have voting rights and direct our activity. Their credentials include acknowledging core American values for public governance of empathy and responsibility for self and others. Both require a monthly freedom investment. Delegate status requires a larger commitment found in the 2014 Manual of Procedure.

4-Occupy Compassion Exercises of the Caring Citizen Congressional Delegate

We are a community of practice. We will occupy compassion every day by practicing four critical activities. We will:

  1. Inwardly digest and use the values of empathy and responsibility for self and others in daily conversation “in order to form a more perfect Union.”
  2. Invest in our peaceable public assemblies and weekly pledge “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor” to strengthen compassion occupation and identify caring policy directions.
  3. Implement our caring policy directions to fulfill our lives, secure our liberties and perfect our pursuit of happiness.
  4. Invite our neighbors and public officials to join us for the sake of freedom and human dignity now and forever.

Sample Agenda of Weekly Congress in Its 1.5 Hour Session

The agenda is similar to weekly civic organizations everywhere like Rotary, Kiwanis, or Lions only smaller for the sake of fostering conversations that matter in these communities of practice.

  • Gather in convening venue (usually a public place with wi-fi). There are currently three. Weekly peaceably assemblies fulfill the "Investment" component of the 4-Occupy Compassion Exercises.
  • Join Google Hangout that connects participating venues.
  • 1st 30 minutes spent in fellowship and a meal.
  • 2nd 30 minutes focuses on the "Inward Digestion" component of the 4-Occupy Compassion Exercises. It begins with the Caring Citizen Declaration; and continues with discussion of this week's reading or video presentation by Dr. Lakoff or colleagues. The subject matter is always on framing the local debate around our values of empathy and responsibility for self and others. Once a quarter a live program could be substituted for the presentation with discussion as usual.
  • 3rd 30 minutes is spent focused on our individual and local efforts at the "implementing" and "inviting" components of the 4-Occupy Compassion Exercises. It ends with adjournment and the recitation of our 4-Occupy Compassion Exercises.

Congressional Ambassador to Council of Compassion

The first ten Congresses will provide one ambassador each to the Council of Compassion, the governing body of the Empathy Surplus Project. Don’t have a neighborhood Congress? Become a new Congress envoy and occupy compassion in your neighborhood.



Contact a Delegate for more information

Clinton County, OH

New Vienna, OH

  • Gary Evans - gary.evans@empathysurplus.com - 937-481-1134

Wilmington, OH

  • Chuck Watts - chuck.watts@empathysurplus.com - 937-725-4317
  • Kathryn Palmer - kathryn@cinci.rr.com - 937-302-6836
  • Miriam Speaight - mrspeaight221@yahoo.com - 937-302-6343

Green County, OH

Bellbrook, OH

  • Anita Dobrzelecki (pronounced doab gilette ski) - adobrzelecki1@woh.rr.com - 937-902-0964

Warren County, OH

Clarksville, OH

  • Samantha Whisenhunt - swhisenhunt@live.com - 513-405-9336


Contact an Adjunct for more information

Wilmington, OH

  • Angie Calendine - acalendine@cinci.rr.com - 937-725-9482

5th Session of the Caring Citizens' Congress Began June 1, 2013

5th Session - June 1, 2013 - May 31, 2014

  • May - Miriam Speaight and Samantha Whisenhunt become delegates bringing total to 6. We need 7 to charter.
  • May - One delegate elected as senate district representative to his respective OH Party Central Committee
  • May - Two delegates elected as precinct representatives to their respective parties.
  • Mar - United Nations Global Compact accepts application for Empathy Surplus Project to be a participant.
  • Feb - Council of Compassion, ESPs governing board, approved financial partnership with our empathy surplus partner, Charter for Compassion, that equals ten percent of revenue.
  • Feb - Angie Calendine became a control panel staffer and will work with co-founder, Chuck Watts, to communicate with monthly freedom investors and interviewers.
  • Feb - Encouraged Jennifer Durren, Brittany Skidmore, Miriam Speaight, and Chuck Watts, Democrats, to file as Wilmington 3B,  Wilmington 3A, Adams B, and Union North B precinct representatives respectively to their county central committee.
  • Feb - Encouraged Mark Hess and Gary Evans, Republicans, to file as Union North B and Green precinct representatives, respectively to their county central committee.
  • Feb - Angie Calendine, Jennifer Durren, and Miriam Speaight become Adjunct members.
  • Jan - Started using the Caring Citizen Freedom Survey as an interview tool.
  • Jan - Charles Cerny, Dayton, OH, became a donor.
  • Jan - Moved past 1,400 email subscribers.
  • Jan - Rolled out Caring Citizen Survey on Healthcare and Human Rights on Survey Monkey. Minimum goal for Ohio completions - 220,000. Will definitely need help. What's the goal in YOUR state?
  • Jan - Encouraged caring citizens in Ohio to run as precinct and senate district representatives to their respective county and state political parties.
  • Dec - Jennifer Durren guest & recessed the last three weeks
  • Nov - Moved passed 1,300 email subscribers
  • Oct - Miriam Speight guest
  • Oct 24 - Hosted the free screening of The Invisible War at The Murphy Theatre
  • Oct 24 - Hosted the Lamplighter presentation to Kori Cioca
  • Oct - David Sharpe and Bill Lierman guests
  • Oct - Ten monthly freedom investors reached
  • Sep - Reached out to local churches to partner: Wilmington United Methodist Church and Christ Episcopal Church, Dayton, shared Meet Kori at The Murphy flyers in their Sunday bullentins.
  • Aug - Reached out to Wilmington College Peace Resource Center to help promote Meet Kori at The Murphy event
  • Aug - Reached out to local veterans commission to partner: Co-director sent Meet Kori at The Murphy flyers to their constituents
  • Aug - Reached out to local Rotary Clubs to partner and planned participation to Rotary International / United Nations Day at the United Nations in New York City, November 2, 2013.
  • Aug - Reached out to Wilmington College to become a weekly gathering venue for Wilmington and partnered with Watson Library on campus Mondays, Student / Faculty Lounge, 5:30 p.m.
  • Aug - Made milestone of 1,000 email subscribers
  • Jun - Purchased the public viewing license of The Invisible War, featuring Kori Cioca, to promote caring citizenship in Clinton County, OH.
  • Jun - Established the Caring Citizen Freedom Survey and encouraged people on Facebook to fill it out.
  • Jun - Established partnership with Vermont Workers' Center and SPAN Ohio Region 4 Coordinator, Dr. Don Rucknagel, to learn how to use their survey on healthcare as a human right
  • Jun - Tom Bensman guest
  • Jun - Began session with four delegates from four precincts and two counties in Ohio gathering weekly on Mondays from three locations together via Google hangout

4th Session - June 1, 2012 - May 31, 2013

  • May - Nominated through the Healthcare Is a Human Right Collaboration U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Kori Cioca as a Clinton County Lamplighter

3rd Session - June 1, 2011 - May 31, 2012

2nd Session - June 1, 2010 - May 31, 2011

1st Session - August 27, 2009 - May 31, 2010

Do you like this page?

Showing 1 reaction

commented 2014-07-23 05:52:27 -0400
Put ‘community’ in your lives. We the people are gathering together to protect and empower one another for the greater good of our communities. We need care and compassion in our public governance. It is not and will not be given to us. We must work together to get it and keep it.
The Empathy Surplus Project, a 501c4 non-profit, provides the administrative structure for you to create your own local Caring Citizens Congress. Our mission is to help people influence their local governments to implement caring policy directions.
Occupy Compassion
The Global Compact
Empathy Surplus Project
Re-imagining the American ideal of a well-functioning democracy one precinct at a time.