Finding joy in living and compassion in dying


    How can we view death with compassion, respect, and dignity, and comprehend it as a natural part of life?  How can the anticipation of death be transformed so our seniors, and all of us, can live richer and more meaningful lives? What are the conditions necessary for successful aging and compassionate dying?

    The unique challenges presented in the dying process are often overwhelming for the dying, their families, friends, and the larger community. We have largely become a culture that pushes death to the background, which in turn has ramifications in our health care system and in our daily lives. 

    We primarily support projects that improve end of life care in Santa Barbara.  We are most interested in efforts that serve to improve the quality and continuity of palliative care, and those that address the cultural, social, and spiritual perspectives of death and dying in our community.

    On a community level, we are interested in change that:

    1.   Reduces the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social pain & suffering in the face of death.

    2.   Increases the number of people who experience an enhanced state of well being at the end of life (this might be characterized as a state of peace, spiritual enlightenment, or simply an acceptance of one's pending death).

    3.   Increases the sense of self-determination and choice over how one dies.

    4.   Promotes greater success of families after the loss of a loved one.

    5.   Reduces unnecessary or unwanted medical intervention at end of life.

    6.   Reduces fear and anxiety related to the dying process and of death itself

    We recognize that these challenges are immense, progress in addressing them difficult to measure, and that their resolution often lies in changing the way our healthcare system addresses death and dying.  These issues have been getting more attention as of late, and for those not familiar with the field we highly recommend Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal and/or click here for the Frontline piece based on the book.

    Our funding has three core strategies:

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