When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The mission of the Compassionate Friends is to provide highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.
The Compassionate Friends movement was founded 50 years ago when a chaplain at the Warwickshire Hospital in England brought together two sets of grieving parents and realized that the support they gave each other was better than anything he, as a chaplain, could ever say or provide. Meeting around a kitchen table, the Lawleys and the Henderson’s were joined by a bereaved mother and the chaplain, Simon Stephens, and The Society of the Compassionate Friends was born. The Compassionate Friends jumped across the ocean and was established in the United States and incorporated in 1978 in Illinois.
Today TCF USA has over 600 local chapters that meet monthly in communities in all 50 states plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. There are over 20 Facebook support groups, and over 10 online chat rooms that offer friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents during the natural grieving process after a child has died.
In addition to support provided both in-person and online, TCF holds an annual conference and regional conferences each year as a place for bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents to come together. These gatherings offer a time of compassion and healing where hope grows and friendships are made with others who truly understand with inspirational keynote speakers, abundant workshops for everyone’s wants and needs, and a remembrance candle lighting program culminating with the annual Walk to Remember.
Each chapter, Facebook and online group, along with the supporting National Staff, is committed to helping every bereaved parent, sibling, or grandparent who may walk through our doors or contact us. The Compassionate Friends is in the process of transitioning from a physical office to a virtual one, with staff working remotely across the United States.
Under the general direction of TCF Board of Directors, the Executive Director oversees and directs all operational aspects of TCF ensuring that the delivery of services is consistent with the mission and strategic vision of TCF. The Executive Director is expected to enable and ensure the success, viability, and relevance of the organization through developing excellent working relationships with all stakeholders (Board of Directors, program and service providers, staff, and allied organizations), implementing successful development activities, and instituting strong budgetary and financial controls.
Use the chapter locator to find out information about chapters in your area. Locate a Chapter by selecting your state and zip code.