City of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has often said that his administration is founded upon three principles: to create well-paying jobs, improve education at all levels, and to be even more compassionate. When these three objectives are achieved, the mayor believes Louisville will reach its full potential as a great 21st Century city. He joins this episode of the Perspectives podcast series, created by Lenihan Sotheby's International Realty, to elaborate on the “compassion” pillar that he sees as so vital to the wellbeing of our city.
When he was elected, Fischer says he “wanted people to visualize a city where everybody is learning all the time.” Imagine a Louisville that is healthy in all aspects. Imagine a city where the people are compassionate and “lifting each other up,” he urges. “I think that’s a great view for a city, and that’s what we work toward every day.”
Guided by principles he was raised by, the challenge was: how do you take a city of 775,000 citizens and create an international model of compassion, kindness, respect and love – these intrinsic human values that bring people together into a community? “We’re the first city to have branded ourselves this way, but certainly I hope we’re not the first city to think about using principals of compassion.”
Louisville has always been a progressive city and a city of hospitality, the mayor says. We broke down housing barriers based on discriminatory laws. We were the first city in this part of the country to have a fairness ordinance for LGBT communities. Our Festival of Faith is known around the world. Jefferson County Public Schools received praise in TIME Magazine last month for the excellent curriculum based around social and emotional skills, nutrition and wellness, mindfulness and broader learning opportunities. This past April was the fifth annual Give a Day Week service campaign. This year, 175,000 volunteers participated by donating their food, clothing, blood, skills, or time to someone in need.
Many people don’t know this, but Mayor Fischer is a huge music fan and once ran Vanderbilt’s Concert Committee along with a few of his colleagues. “It was one of the great chapters in my life,” he recalls fondly. “I love putting on big events – love putting music in the forefront because music brings people together. Bringing different folks together to learn about each other and celebrate common interests is what fosters compassion.”
He points to the Mayor’s Music Series, a local music showcase that takes place the first Thursday of every month. Louisville is really a hotbed of top-caliber music talent – from classical fixtures like Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra, to rapper Bryson Tiller and “America’s Got Talent” contestant Lincoln Bridge, to My Morning Jacket and the burgeoning indie scene. “Your ability to walk into a show that really delights you is really high in the city,” says Mayor Fischer. Music and compassion are just two of many, many things that make the City of Louisville such a remarkable place to live.