The Compassionate Friends

Conference UPDATE

Dear Compassionate Friends,


Posted on April 16, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH put it best this past week when he said, “We don’t set the timeline. The virus sets the timeline.” We at The Compassionate Friends are dealing with that reality regarding our upcoming 2020 National Conference in Atlanta, which is scheduled for July 26-28, 2020. We want to share our current thoughts about the conference.

Our board and Executive Leadership have been meeting on a continual basis to discuss the current circumstances and our options. We’ve been reaching out to experts in the field to see what other organizations with conferences are doing when confronted with these same realities.

TCF leadership is monitoring the COVID-19 situation on an ongoing basis and is responding as quickly as we can with needed support for our members such as our new training for Chapter Leaders on how to continue holding chapter meetings virtually. We are talking through the conference circumstances with our host hotel in Atlanta and are adjusting these conversations as our national information changes weekly and daily. With these decisions, we’re cognizant of multiple needs to be met including:

• Continued support of our members at a time when it’s needed more than ever.

• Addressing contract and timeframe aspects that are informed by outside national and state decisions in addition to our own.

• Keeping our members as safe as possible.

We are developing contingency plans should it become necessary to change our current conference structure and plans. We are keeping all options open and discussing them daily. This letter will be our starting point for communicating updates and changes to our full TCF membership, and we’ll continue these regularly as we have new information to share. We realize in the past few weeks you’ve most likely been inundated with COVID-19 and pandemic information. Here are a few reminders and additional tips for all of us while we settle into our new normal:

• Please continue to wash your hands diligently for at least 20 seconds as this is the strongest line of defense right.

• Consider buddying with one another so that we all have someone to check in on and someone who is checking in on us.

• Let’s make sure we’re identifying who we know who may not have support or what they need right now. The newly bereaved have more difficulty identifying their needs and having a voice to reach out.

• Use compassion when communicating with others. This is our founding and why we’re here.

Please know that our thoughts are with you. We have heard from many of you about how this crisis is affecting you and your families. We know that when this crisis passes, even in the best of circumstances, we will have many more people reaching out to TCF. We hope all who need us will find us, and all who find us will be helped.

Please read the sidebar with a short note from the TCF Foundation on how they are responding to the current economic downturn sparked by the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you for your continued commitment to our children, grandchildren, and siblings during these most difficult times. Please stay healthy and safe.

Debbie Dullabaun Dales’s Mom President, Board of Directors The Compassionate Friends

Shari O’Loughlin Connor’s Mom & Patti’s Sister CEO/Executive Director The Compassionate Friends


Dear Compassionate Friends,

As you may know, TCF Foundation is an endowment fund that is overseen by a Board of Trustees and managed by Vanguard. The Foundation provides about 10% of TCF’s annual operating budget. The Foundation’s funds are invested for conservative, long-term growth, mostly in the shares of U.S.-based companies and in bonds. The annual distribution to TCF is in keeping with a well-accepted formula that is predictable and reliable.

The Foundation’s diverse portfolio is down about 20% in the past quarter and is performing better than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. We have been talking with the Vanguard fund managers during this crisis and we believe that our investment strategy continues to be fundamentally sound. We always welcome contributions to the Foundation but ask that you consider making a special donation to TCF and its operations during this crisis.

Please be safe and thank you for being a Compassionate Friend.

Sincerely, John Santoro Paula’s Dad

President, Board of Trustees TCF Foundation