About Us


Climate survival is the strategic reason the world needs more empathy

Since 2014, Empathy Surplus Project has been committed to the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative and its principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.

Our Mission Strengthens A Human Rights Expectation

“To educate a man is to unfit him to be a slave.”

—Frederick Douglass (1818-1895),
escaped slave, abolitionist, author

“Everyone has duties to the community in which the free and full development of his personality is possible.”

—Article 29, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Empathy is the soul of democracy, and today’s challenge is how to reverse the world’s empathy deficit. Empathy is hard wired in humans at birth through neural pathways and can be strengthened or weakened through nurturant parent governing or strict father governing of the family, respectfully.

The language of those same nation as family metaphors that are also used unconsciously in ethical business, public government task forces, and caring society organizations create morally complex individuals.

ESP believes caring citizens are the solution. ESP wants a strong, caring body politic that’s responsible to its residents. ESP is a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating caring citizen leaders. The educational mission of the Empathy Surplus Project is to:

Promote the latest brain research by Dr. George Lakoff and colleagues that informs caring citizen leadership education;

Support caring citizen leadership education, through a network of neighborhood congresses, especially of our elected representatives and their core constituents at the state and local levels, that strengthens respect, protection, and promotion of universally recognized human rights;

Assist our Empathy Surplus Congresses in protecting and promoting human rights locally; and

Partner with like-minded public government task forces, ethical businesses, and / or caring society organizations to strengthen effective government of, by, and for people at all levels.

Caring citizens are the solution.

You can find caring citizens everywhere, especially in government task forces, ethical businesses, and caring society organizations. The Preamble of the UN Charter states that

“We the people of the United Nations determined . . . to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms . . . have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.”

We hope caring citizens will consider becoming monthly human rights progressives to remind us that together we can make progress for better life standards that expand freedoms.

We are especially reaching out to Rotarians and Lions, because 50 Rotarians and 3 Lions helped to write the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California, after World War II in June of 1945. Learn More.

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Our Declaration to Build a Caring Society

I am a caring citizen.

I occupy compassion.

I here highly resolve that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

I am a person with human rights.

I care for my own Safety and Happiness and that of others.

I am the solution to expanding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And for the support of this declaration, joining caring citizens known and unknown, we mutually pledge to one another our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

A Letter from the Board

My name is Paul Hillard, and welcome to the Empathy Surplus Project website. Born in Athens, Ohio, I was raised in Athens and Grand Junction, CO. I am 35 years old, single, and a pilot in Athens.

When I consider the future, the collaborative vision of our mutual grandparents after World War II still resonates with me. That generation called the world and future generations to collaborate for peace. In the UN Charter Preamble in 1945, they wrote in part,

“We the peoples of the United Nations determined… to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms… have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.”

Empathy is the soul of democracy and the foundation of our republic. You have to have empathy to collaborate well. The empathy deficit we currently have in government and our economy was created over the last fifty years by those who reject empathy as a core governing value.

Now, despite a groundswell of empathic voices emerging, we must double down on empathy building in our institutions. It’s all hands on deck. And the human rights to life and freedom are the strategic reasons the world’s people and governments need more empathy.

That’s why I hope you will consider joining me in caring citizen thought leadership education to build the empathy surplus needed in our local spheres of influence. 

Yes. I did say ongoing collective education. 

I was introduced to the Empathy Surplus Project after house sitting for activist friends in Athens. One evening I found a book by Dr. George Lakoff, on their shelves, entitled Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservative Think. When I shared my thoughts on this book with my brother, a supporter of the Empathy Surplus Project, he suggested I connect with them, which I did. There are no designated teachers. We simply read the works of George Lakoff, discuss them, apply them to our sphere of influence, and discuss them again.

Yes. We do need to be involved in the electoral process. 

Yet more importantly, we need to unite behind both cognitive science and linguistics. Now is the time, to know and understand our values and reframe the debate. Dr. Lakoff’s Introduction to his bestselling “Don’t Think of an Elephant” is entitled “Reframing IS Social Change.” If we are going to change the world, we must change our language, and repeat our language, to describe the world we want.

Yes. We have the science that has been used to inhibit empathy in government and our economy.

We know what to do to advance effective government and progressive markets through mutual responsibility. And the most important thing we must do is to talk about what we want, using empathic and socially responsible language, continuously. We can use cognitive science for good. I hope you will consider how you can help.

The first thing you can do is to share your contact information. That gives you access to our closed social network, provided by Facebook’s WORKPLACE. There you will find other like-minded people, who are reading Dr. Lakoff’s work, discussing it with others, and then applying what they are learning to reframe their own sphere of influence.

Join us. Caring citizens are the solution!

Paul Hillard

Paul Hillard, Board Member, Empathy Surplus Project

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The Human Rights Pocketbook Venture wants Young Americans to know what’s important to caring citizens in ethical business, civil society, and effective government institutions in the USA. Please contribute today.

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