How Does City of Character Work?

City of Character Website:

Vijay Manuel
Character Council Chair
Have you heard of the movie entitled Contagion (Trailer)? It's not a pleasant thought, but the movie is about a virus that spreads from one person to another by simply making contact with them.  I haven't seen it, but I hope the good guys win in the end.  :)

The City of Character initiative will be successful if it spreads in a similar way; from one person to another.  Unlike the movie mentioned above, this 'virus' is something extremely positive that will be a huge benefit to our city!  Once you've been 'infected', you'll undoubtedly find ways to spread it to others you come in contact with and those circles in which you carry influence:  your family, friends, neighbourhood, place of worship, place of work, where you shop, etc.  In fact, most of us already believe in these concepts regardless of culture, religion, or socio-economics... you're probably infected!!

One common misconception is that this is another 'program' added to what's already out there.  In fact, City of Character is something that should infiltrate the good things already happening in the city.  For example, as an educator, I would end up taking the powerful concepts we now stand on to my staff and students and begin plugging them into the things I do and say.

So many good-character things are already happening in our city.  The City of Character initiative is designed to unite us all under one umbrella of what 'good character' or 'good citizenship' will look like in our city.  A group of 60 city leaders met in April, 2011 and came up with RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY, EMPATHY, COURAGE, & SERVICE as our key concepts or values (Definitions).

Our job, as citizens of this great city, is to take those 6 concepts with us everywhere we go and to PRACTICE and PROMOTE them!

Questions or thoughts?  Please add them to this post or email me, Vice Chair Fran Vanderpol, or our Executive Team at