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Chapter Development Guidelines

The Compassionate Friends, Inc. (TCF) is a mutual assistance, self-help organization offering friendship and understanding to bereaved families with over 600 TCF chapters throughout the country. The National Office of TCF determines the need for a new chapter. The Compassionate Friends chapter meetings offer an accepting atmosphere for bereaved families to express their feelings. A TCF meeting should offer friendship, understanding and hope. TCF firmly believe in the principles of mutual assistance and self-help; parents supporting parents, grandparents supporting grandparents and siblings supporting siblings. Information on grief and the bereavement process is given through sharing with other parents, siblings, grandparents, professional speakers, community outreach, chapter libraries, chapter and national newsletters, and regional and national conferences.

Chapter Development
Based upon professional studies of bereaved parents and over twenty years of experience, we find that chapters succeed when (1) four or more bereaved families form the initial charter group who serve together as the chapter’s steering committee. (2) a combination of both bereaved mothers and fathers participate (3) the chapter leader is at least 18 months or more from the death of their child(ren) or sibling(s). The steering committee members must carry the commitment initially to organize and manage the chapter.

If you have not been a part of a chapter, we urge you to visit the closest chapter and attend several meetings (please call TCF for the nearest chapter). Visiting chapters will be beneficial to you as a bereaved parent, sibling or grandparent, and will enable you to observe some of what is required of a chapter leader. This will not only be beneficial in seeing how a chapter is managed, but will help you to recognize if you have worked through your own grief and are now ready to reach out to the newly bereaved. It is not advisable to put your grief “on hold” while trying to form a TCF chapter.

Chapter Development Fee
The fee for chapter development is $150. This fee covers resources you will receive after chartering such as a brochures, thank you cards, stickers, and various resources essential to maintaining a chapter.

Chapter Annual Membership Fee
TCF is a national non-profit organization that relies on individuals and its chapters for financial support. Each year the national organization requires chapters to pay an annual membership fee of 10% of their annual income or a minimum of $100.00. We realize that it takes a period of time for new chapters to become financially viable; therefore, new chapters are not asked to pay the annual membership fee the first year they are in existence. All membership fees are based on the previous year’s income. Any chapter giving an additional $40 or more are recognized as a Chapter Patron of TCF.

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