BROOKFIELD, Wis. – The Funeral Service Foundation accepted more than $250,000 in major gifts and pledges in 2017 stewardship of its mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and communities it serves.
The gifts were showcased throughout the National Funeral Directors Association International Convention and Expo last month in Boston, and during Foundation events held in conjunction with the convention.
“For three generations, we’ve been inspired by our donors’ philanthropic spirit and generosity,” said Fund Development Chair Jay Dodds during the foundation’s donor appreciation reception. “Gifts at every level allow the foundation to carry forward the profession’s next generation of leaders, thinkers and doers, and carry out our vision of an improved end-of-life experience for families and their loved ones.”
Answering Service for Directors (ASD) – $100,000
In January of this year, ASD pledged $100,000 in support of the Foundation’s mission. ASD Treasurer Kathy Kelley presented a ceremonial check to Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill during the convention’s opening session.
“Education funding has always been important to ASD, whether through our employee tuition reimbursement program or supporting local schools,” said Kelley. “We are excited to expand that effort and now partner with the Funeral Service Foundation to give back to future funeral service professionals so we can help them gain the tools, resources and education needed to make positive impacts in their communities.”
Memorial Classic – $53,450
The Memorial Classic contributed $53,450 in June toward the Foundation’s Memorial Classic Academic Scholarship. Sponsored by Johnson Consulting, the annual golf outing has raised $292,000 since its inception for the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Scholarship in memory of the profession’s finest: Bill Bishoff, Dave Hirt, Steve Mack, John Morrow, Ed Murphy, Ed Tuggle and Joe Weatherford.
“We are honored to support the Foundation’s efforts to award deserving students with the funds needed to help them work toward their educational goals,” said Tom Johnson, Johnson Consulting founder and Foundation trustee emeritus. “We are on track to award a record $10,000 in Memorial Classic scholarships this year to emerging leaders who display a clear commitment to the profession and their communities.”
Johnson Consulting President and Foundation Trustee Emeritus Jake Johnson was on hand during the Foundation’s 17th Annual Golf Classic to present a ceremonial check on behalf of the Memorial Classic.
Service Corporation International (SCI) – $50,000
In August, for the fourth year in a row, SCI made a $50,000 gift. “The Foundation is in and of the fabric of funeral service, which is a testament to its commitment to the profession,” said SCI Senior Vice President and CFO, and newly elected Foundation Trustee Eric Tanzberger. “SCI is honored to help the Foundation expand its capacity to seek out and support initiatives that make a noteworthy impact within our profession and our communities.”
SCI presented the Foundation with a ceremonial check during the 17th Annual Funeral Service Golf Classic; a long-time Golf Classic supporter, SCI served as the event’s $10,000 Presenting Sponsor.
Homesteaders Life Company – $50,000
Homesteaders Life Company pledged $50,000 in October in honor of outgoing Homesteaders CEO (and Foundation trustee emeritus), Steve Lang. Earmarked for scholarships, the gift comes on the heels of the company’s completed $150,000 pledge. Homesteaders presented the Foundation with a ceremonial check during the donor reception, and also acknowledged the gift during a reception to celebrate Lang’s retirement.
“The Foundation has been an influential part of my career and I remain a strong advocate for its scholarship- and professional development-centered initiatives,” shared Steve Lang during the reception. “As a trustee emeritus, I’m proud to see Homesteaders help carry forward the Foundation’s rich scholarship legacy.”
Legacy.com – $22,500
For the third year in a row, Legacy.com is matching, dollar for dollar, the first $22,500 in gifts made in support of the Foundation’s Fund ’45 giving campaign. Stopher Bartol, Founder and CEO of Legacy.com, shared, “We're thrilled to partner with the Funeral Service Foundation again and we're honored to have a role in supporting the future for funeral service professionals and all the communities they serve."
Foundation 2017-18 Chair Bob Arrington announced the matching gift during the convention’s opening session, and encouraged convention attendees double their impact with a $45 contribution. By the convention’s conclusion, the Foundation raised $18,750 toward Legacy.com’s $22,500 Fund ’45 match, and is on track to make the overall $45,000 fundraising goal by the end of the year.
Contributions in support of Legacy.com’s dollar-for-dollar match will be accepted through December 31. Donations can be made online at FuneralServiceFoundation.org. Those who contribute $45 or more will receive a commemorative Fund ’45 lapel pin.