The Funeral Service Foundation gratefully accepted $97,500 in major gifts and pledges for its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund (The Fund), which provides funding for emergency assistance, personal protective equipment procurement and grief support initiatives and organizations. With gifts totaling $281,000, and a $200,000 funding allocation from the Funeral Service Foundation, nearly $500,000 is available to grant to worthy initiatives.
“These gifts demonstrate our profession’s enduring commitment to ensuring families and communities receive the care and compassion they need no matter the circumstances,” said Foundation Chair Anthony Guerra of Guerra & Gutierrez Mortuaries in Los Angeles. “This widespread generosity allows the Foundation to support the funeral service professionals and grief organizations that work tirelessly to meet the unique needs of families grieving the death of a loved one during the pandemic.”
Memorial Classic, Inc. – $30,000
The Memorial Classic’s $30,000 gift brings the annual outing’s cumulative giving total to $530,000. Headed by Tom Johnson and Jake Johnson of Johnson Consulting Group, the Memorial Classic brings together more than 130 players from across the profession for two days of play in memory of the profession’s finest: Bill Bischoff, Dave Hirt, Steve Mack, John Morrow, Ed Murphy, Ed Tuggle and Joe Weatherford.
“The Memorial Classic may have been cancelled this year, but our long and proud history of supporting the Foundation’s work carries on,” said Tom Johnson, Founder of Johnson Consulting Group, and Foundation Trustee Emeritus. “We are honored to make a contribution in honor of the funeral service professionals who are serving their communities with strength and resiliency.”
Matthews International – $20,000
Matthews International pledged $20,000 in support of The Fund. The gift comes on the heels of its most recent major gift pledge of $200,000, which was completed in 2019. “Matthews is proud to do anything it can to support the funeral service profession during this unprecedented time,” said Steve Gackenbach, Group President, Memorialization at Matthews International and Foundation Trustee. “Our donation helps ensure that funeral service professionals will have the resources and support they need to assist families who can’t say goodbye in ways they wish, which may result in unresolved and complicated grief.”
The Baue Family Charitable Fund – $15,000
A Foundation supporter for nearly three decades, The Baue Family Charitable Fund made a $15,000 contribution. “I have always believed in the Foundation’s purpose and how it helps our profession, especially through offering scholarships, and providing resources such as the Youth & Funerals booklet and the Grieving Alone & Together grief guide,” said Lisa Baue of Baue Funeral Homes in St. Charles, Mo. “Our firm is using the grief guide daily as we serve families during this difficult time. They are so grateful to have this support.”
The McComb Family Foundation – $12,500
Inspired by Homesteaders’ matching gift, The McComb Family Foundation contributed $12,500 to The Fund. “Funeral service was built on a foundation of care and compassion,” said Dave McComb, President and CEO of Inman Shipping Worldwide, and Foundation Trustee Emeritus. “Now more than ever we need to answer the call to give to ensure our profession’s strong foundation keeps our communities thriving.”
Terrybear Urns & Memorials – $10,000
Terrybear Urns & Memorials gave a $10,000 gift in support of The Fund, which is the company’s first gift to the Foundation. “We’re grateful for all the Foundation does for the funeral industry and especially the funeral directors and workers helping families through this difficult time. We are glad to participate in the Foundation’s effort as it aligns with our company vision – leading with greatness” said Lavina Lau, President and CEO of Terrybear Urns & Memorials.
John & Barbara Wenig – $10,000
John & Barbara Wenig contributed $10,000 in support of The Fund as part of a $25,000 pledge to the Foundation. “Funeral directors play an integral role in helping communities navigate times of uncertainty. When it matters, funeral directors are there,” said John Wenig, President of Wenig Funeral Homes in Sheboygan and Oostburg, Wis., and NFDA Board of Directors At-large Representative. “Barbara and I are honored to support the profession’s important work in helping communities through the pandemic.”
About the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund
Launched in March, the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund began with a lead gift of $50,000 from the National Funeral Directors Association, a $200,000 funding allocation from the Funeral Service Foundation, and a $100,000 matching gift from Homesteaders Life Company. More than 100 donors – individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations – doubled their impact through Homesteader’s matching gift.
Gifts made to COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund through June 30 will be available for immediate grantmaking. After June 30, grant applicants may apply for funding via standard Foundation granting channels. 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 information about the application process.
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.
About the Funeral Service Foundation –
Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the profession’s philanthropic voice. As the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since 1997, the Foundation receives operational support from NFDA and donors across the profession to help advance its mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and the communities it serves.