Brookfield, WI – Thanks to generous donors, the Funeral Service Foundation has awarded nearly $500,000 in grants from its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund since its April call for funding proposals. The Foundation’s Fund Advisory Committee reviews grant proposals weekly allowing for swift deployment of urgently needed funding in the areas of volunteer relief, personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement, creation of grief resources, and grants to grief support organizations.
“These grants help ensure that funeral service professionals can safely and compassionately serve families and communities throughout the country,” said Foundation Chair Anthony Guerra of Guerra & Gutierrez Mortuaries in Los Angeles. “We are also able to fuel the work of grief organizations that offer critical emotional support for those grieving the death of a loved one during the pandemic.”
The COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund helps offset costs for funeral director and student volunteers who are working in overwhelmed areas, whose expenses are not covered by host funeral homes or government agencies.
The Foundation purchased and distributed 42,000 N95 and KN95 masks to funeral service professionals in hot spot areas via state funeral associations. Masks were also shipped to the following associations for distribution to their members: the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA); the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association (NFD&MA); the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA); the Cremation Association of North America (CANA); KAVOD – Independent Jewish Funeral Chapels; the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR); and Selected Independent Funeral Homes.
“Grieving Alone & Together” – A Grief Guide
The Foundation and NFDA teamed up to offer a free 12-page booklet entitled “Grieving Alone & Together: Responding to the loss of your loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Funeral service, hospice, and grief and bereavement professionals across the country and around the globe use this Foundation-funded resource to strengthen relationships with families and communities. Offered in English and Spanish, the guide was written by Sara Murphy, Ph.D., CT, and includes a foreword by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Funeral professionals and others involved in end-of-life care can order free copies via funeralservicefoundation.org; they simply pay shipping. An e-book version is available online for use as a website embed or social media share by funeral homes and other organizations. Consumers are able to visit RememberingALife.com to read the booklet or request a free printed copy.
Grief Organization Grants
To date the committee has also awarded 15 grants totaling $252,000 to non-profit organizations working alongside funeral service in the wake of the pandemic. Grant recipients include:
- Cornerstone of Hope, Independence, OH: Development of a curriculum for bereavement training for first responders
- First Hour Grief Response, Louisville, KY: Expansion of programs that provide support immediately following a death, including help planning a funeral and grief support for families in 28 zip codes in Louisville area
- Grief Center of Southwest Colorado, Durango, CO: Expansion of current grief support services for low income families, isolated elders, at-risk youth and indigenous communities affected by the COVID-19 crisis, especially in the Southern Ute, Mountain Ute and Northern Navajo Nation tribal lands
- The Justice & Peace Foundation, Vashon, WA: Launch of a new project to address the grief and loss experienced by the black community during the pandemic by supporting the grief process, disseminating best practices for funerals and public memorials, and providing self-care tools for religious leaders through a six-month series of collaborative, interactive webinars
- KinderMourn, Charlotte, NC: Delivering grief and support services to low-income youth via their “Helping the Hurt” program
- Maria Regina Residence, Brentwood, NY: Memorial services and grief training for the staff of this nursing home that lost 75 residents to COVID-19
- New Hope Grief Support Community, Long Beach, CA: Creation of online bereavement support groups for adults and expansion of their “Stay@Home” support groups so that social distancing does not lead to social isolation
- Ontario Association of Cemetery & Funeral Professionals, North Bay, ON, Canada: Creation of self-care resources for cemetery and funeral professionals facing trauma as a result of their COVID-19 experiences
- Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, Pittsburgh, PA: Expansion of webinar series and free town-hall style meetings on immediate and emerging issues faced by pediatric providers as they care for children during the pandemic
- Precious Gems Supportive Services, Glenside, PA: Expansion of music-based grief therapy programs for black youth ages 8 – 18
- SoGal Foundation/Eterneva, Austin, TX: Provide funeral professionals with PPE, N95 masks, and grief resources that build resilience in children and families during and following the pandemic
- Remembering A Life, Brookfield, WI: Distribution of 612 self-care boxes to be delivered via funeral directors to grieving families that have lost a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic, available to all of funeral service
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Arlington, VA: Grief support for families that have experienced the loss of a military veteran family member
- What’s Your Grief/Fusion Partnerships, Baltimore, MD: A three-part bereavement support program tailored specifically to coping with grief during the COVID crisis, and a free online course for funeral directors to help them understand the acute stress and trauma responses they may observe in families at this time
- Willow House, Bannockburn, IL: Urgent grief support and training for first responders, families that have lost a loved one, and clinicians to help them better serve their communities in the wake of COVID-19
About the Covid-19 Crisis Response Fund
Donations to COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund through June 30 will be available for immediate grantmaking. Gifts can be made online at FuneralServiceFoundation.org. Those interested in supporting may also send checks, made payable to the Funeral Service Foundation to the FSF COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, 13625 Bishop’s Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005, or call 1-877-402-5900 to make a gift by phone.
Grant Proposal Deadline
After June 30, grant applicants may apply for funding via standard Foundation granting channels. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the Funeral Service Foundation will continue to listen to and assess the profession’s needs and respond accordingly. Prospective grantees can visit FuneralServiceFoundation.org for more information about the application process.