Brookfield, Wis. – In alignment with its mission to fund projects and programs that support all of funeral service in building meaningful relationships in the community the Funeral Service Foundation has awarded a record-setting 10 scholarships for attendance at the 2015 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference, which will be held April 24-26 in Chicago, Illinois.

Supporting the Professional Women’s Conference has always been a Foundation priority.  Since 1998 more than 100 women have received scholarships to attend the annual conference. “The Foundation received a record number of scholarship applications from across the country and around the globe this year, and we are pleased to be able to extend scholarships to 10 deserving candidates,” said 2014-2015 Foundation Chair Steve Shaffer.  “Our donors recognize that supporting and establishing scholarships is an investment in the future of funeral service, and provides recipients with the resources they need to be successful.”

The 2015 Professional Women’s Conference Scholarships are made possible through a long- standing Professional Women’s Conference fund and the support of this year’s scholarship contributors: Trigard, Messenger, Nomis Publications Inc., and Wilbert Funeral Services Inc. Foundation Partners will sponsor the Funeral Service Foundation’s friend-and-fund-raising event, A Night of Theatre:  “Laid Out: The Business of Funerals,” which supports both the Professional Women’s ConferenceScholarship Fund  and the Foundation’s Women’s Fund. Scholarships cover the recipients’ conference registration fees, and provide a $500-$1,000 travel and accommodation stipend.

“We appreciate the Foundation’s continued support of this essential conference, which is the only conference within funeral service that focuses solely on the professional development of women in the profession,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE.  “The collaboration between the Funeral Service Foundation and NFDA ensures that deserving candidates will have the opportunity to network with like-minded women, learn best practices from some of the profession’s foremost experts, and apply that knowledge to enrich the communities they serve.”

During an awards luncheon, Shaffer will recognize the recipients, who were selected based upon their answers to questions about the influence women have in funeral service; why they chose a career in the profession; which professional accomplishment are they most proud; and reasons for wanting to participate in the continuing education program.

  • Lori Burt Banes, intern and funeral assistant, Lakewood Funeral Home, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Sara Elizabeth Chandler, funeral director, Chandler Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Leslie Milan Fisher, student and learning resource center assistant, American River College, Sacramento, California
  • Anna Marie Foster, owner and funeral director/embalmer, Foster Family Funeral Chapel & Cremation Service, Carrollton, Missouri
  • Jordan Lenick, funeral assistant, Panebaker Funeral Home Inc., Hanover, Pennsylvania
  • Angjolie Mei, owner and funeral director, The Life Celebrant Pte. Ltd., Singapore
  • Mara Mietzner, funeral director, Bruss-Heitner Funeral Homes, Wells, Minnesota
  • Keri Lynn Rickett, apprentice funeral director/embalmer, Brown-Wynne Funeral Homes, Cary, North Carolina
  • Kathleen Stull, funeral director, celebrant and director of community engagement, Woody Funeral Home Parham, Richmond, Virginia
  • Maria Harper Thomas, funeral service intern,  Altmeyer Funeral Home & Crematory, Newport News, Virginia

Along with professional development scholarships, the Funeral Service Foundation also administers and awards academic scholarships for full- and part-time students of funeral service enrolled in or accepted into an ABFSE-accredited program.  Academic scholarship applications are currently being accepted; the application deadline is June 15.

Since 2002 nearly 500 funeral service professionals have received Funeral Service Foundation scholarships to pursue academic and professional development opportunities. Learn more  about how to contribute to, apply for or establish a scholarship fund.  Applications for scholarships to attend the 2016 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference will be available online early next year.

About the Funeral Service Foundation

The Funeral Service Foundation is the leading public foundation dedicated in perpetuity to serve the funeral service profession.  In alignment with its mission, the Foundation supports all of funeral service in building meaningful relationships in the community by commissioning innovative research, funding programs and professional development, administering and awarding scholarships, and assisting communities in crisis.