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Our Mission

Investing in people and programs
to strengthen funeral service
Ampersand in Pink lift up grieving communities.

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National Funeral Directors Association Logo

NFDA Partnership Statement

Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the philanthropic voice of the funeral profession and has identified as the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since 1997. Donors and volunteer leaders profession-wide support the Foundation in its mission of investing in people and programs to strengthen funeral service careers and lift up grieving communities.

An Evolution of Support

The Funeral Service Foundation has threaded its commitment to education, innovation, and support into the funeral service profession’s colorful tapestry for more than 75 years—each strand strengthening the profession, its people, and the communities and families we’re called upon to serve.

Our mission has evolved to reflect the funeral service profession’s compassion, generosity, and care. From awarding scholarships and funding grief-focused resources, to promoting the value of memorialization, and supporting profession-wide research, education remains at the heart of what we do.

OUR HISTORY

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1945 

1945

FSF OurMission 1945

Established in 1945 as the National Foundation of Funeral Service (NFFS). Located in Evanston, IL, the educational trust is the only full-time center for funeral service continuing education in the world. NFFS programs boast more than 6,000 alumni from 1945-1996.

1978 – 1986 

1978

FSF History 1978

NFFS establishes the National Research & Information Center, producing two landmark research projects: Attitudes toward Death and Funerals, conducted by Northwestern University, and Project Understanding, conducted by Notre Dame University. These studies demonstrate the profession’s effort and concern for meeting consumer needs and elevating the profession.

In 1986, the NFFS offers an innovative continuing education seminar entitled Women in Funeral Service, which was the foundation for NFDA’s Professional Women’s Conference.

1996 – 1997

1996

National Foundation of Funeral Service Logo Stack of Books

Understanding that merging with NFDA will allow for greater impact across the profession, NFFS transfers its assets to NFDA’s educational foundation. Transferred assets include the Beryl L. Boyer Library, the most complete library on funeral service in the world. Preserved and maintained by NFDA, the collection now serves as an integral part of NFDA’s Howard C. Raether Library. Many texts within the unique collection include the NFFS logo on the inside cover, upholding the Foundation’s role in funeral service education.

 

1998

1998

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Funeral Service Educational Foundation (FSEF) forms – dedicated to advancing professionalism in funeral service and enhancing public knowledge and understanding through education and research. The Foundation awards scholarships, offers assistance to thousands of consumers with questions, concerns, or complaints about funeral service, and provides continuing education programs developed by NFFS and NFDA.

2002 – 2013

2002

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The Funeral Service Foundation as we know it today is established as a grantmaking organization. The Board of Trustees launches the Hand-in-Hand Endowment with a goal of $5 million. The endowment ensures the Foundation is supported into perpetuity to serve the funeral service profession.

The Foundation begins awarding scholarships to students of funeral service in 2004, funds the Hurricane Katrina Memorial in 2005, produces Screening & Hiring: An Expert Guide to Making the Right Hire, and begins making grants from mature endowment funds in 2006.

Memorial

In 2011, the Foundation funds a ZMET research study called Breaking the Consumer Code. Focusing on consumer attitudes toward funeral service and deathcare, the landmark research study led to the creation of FAMIC’s Have the Talk of a Lifetime consumer education campaign. In 2013-15, the Foundation and NFDA provide lead gifts in support of the Have the Talk of a Lifetime.

2014

2014

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The Foundation rolls out a new brand and identity that embodies its vibrant spirit and bold mission, and represents strength, tradition, community, and progress. With an endowment at nearly $7 million, the Foundation continues to award grants to grief-focused organizations, grow its scholarship offerings in number, type and scope, and offer community resources, including its award-winning Youth & Funerals initiative.

2020 – 2021

2020

Funeral Service Foundation New Logo

In 2020 the Foundation launches the COVID-19 Crisis Fund, and awards a record $800,000 in scholarships, program support, and grants to grief-focused organizations. Thousands of funeral service professionals and those serving grieving families leverage the Foundation’s free resources, including Grieving Alone & Together, and Caring for Families & Caring for Yourself: A Self-Care Handbook for Funeral Service Professionals. In a landmark partnership with the ICCFA Educational Foundation, the Foundation launches Journey to Serve, which aims at recruiting military veterans into open positions within funeral service.

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A LASTING IMPACT

On the heels of a global pandemic that forced us to find new ways to connect, educate, and communicate, the Foundation remains as relevant and resilient as ever.

Now valued at over $11 million, the Hand-in-Hand Endowment remains the cornerstone of our funding structure, and promises that the Foundation will remain a source of inspiration and impact for generations to come.

We are committed to leveraging our strong financial assets and trusted partnerships to invest resources in:

Arrow Bullet Icon  Fueling the careers of funeral service professionals by continuing to expand academic and professional development scholarship offerings,

Arrow Bullet Icon Innovation around memorialization and grief support, and

Arrow Bullet Icon Promotion of the profession that attracts the next generation of funeral service professionals and professional leaders.

The future is bright with our commitment to investing in funeral service, preparing professionals and leaders for the future, and catalyzing innovative programs that lift up grieving communities.