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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Compassion & Choices

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, Right to Die & Euthanasia

Mission: Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding options for the end of life. Our vision is a society where people receive state-of-the-art care and a full range of choices for dying in comfort, dignity and control. We aim to ensure individuals understand the risks and rewards of all feasible treatment options, treatment decisions are fully respected, and that care reflects a person’s values and priorities for life’s final chapter.

Results: We Expand We work to bring end-of-life autonomy to Americans in every state by expanding our volunteer base of storytellers, activists and organizational partners; growing the number of lawmakers who back our legislation as well as local officials and faith leaders; persuading medical associations and professional groups to adopt a position on medical aid in dying that recognizes people should be in charge of end-of-life decisions; and litigating in court to ensure patients’ values and beliefs are respected and honored at the end of life. We Protect Through political, legal and educational efforts, we protect the options we’ve secured and work to make patient autonomy the standard of medical care. More specifically, we partner with pro bono attorneys to defend and represent the will of the people; mobilize 450,000 supporters to raise their voices; and establish medical aid in dying as an essential component of patient-centered care. We Implement We ensure that people can access a full range of end-of-life options through their own doctors and in their preferred medical setting. More specifically, we educate the public about medical aid-in-dying laws in authorized states; persuade health systems to adopt policies that support patient’s rights; provide sample institutional policies to medical staff and deliver confidential one-on-one consultations to medical professionals. We Empower Compassion & Choices’ End-of-Life Information Center and Truth in Treatment™ initiative help people take charge of their healthcare, navigate a challenging health system and ultimately achieve a peaceful death. Through these programs we provide online tools such as our Diagnosis Decoder™ and Trust Card™, which are designed to help people foster a trusting relationship with their healthcare providers. We offer resources to help people plan for a peaceful death, including state-specific advance directives, and provide free, confidential telephone consultations with trained experts to connect patients and caregivers with the tools and support they need to navigate the medical system.

Target demographics: Improve care and expand choice at the end of life

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of terminally ill patients and their family

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Programs: Truth in Treatment End of Life Consultation program

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 5

The fact that Oregon's Death With Dignity Law, the first in the country, has worked so beautifully is because Compassion & Choices has been there to make sure it did. We've done it right, and this organization has made it happen.

Barbara Roberts

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering can feel like undervalued work -- but not at Compassion and Choices. Thoughtful training, a super-appreciative staff and meaningful work made all the difference when I came on as a volunteer. This is an organization that recognizes the importance of its supporters and volunteers, and does everything possible to help us give them our best.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've encountered many compassionate people in the organization who were very helpful.
I'm a cancer patient with concerns. I was given written information as well as many helpful websites. I even got a website for doctors and pharmacists who may require advice.

I can't think of a more deserving organization than Compassionate and Choices to be on your list. I still have cancer, but no longer have questions or fears thanks to the wonderful people at Compassion and Choices.

Wolf Breiman

Board Member

Rating: 5

First I believe this is a not-for-profit that affects everyone. Everyone will die at some point
Their Mission of supporting and educating and advocating runs deep Believing that everyone has the choice to make a decision at the end of their life
Compassion and Choices has grown substantially and is becoming well-known and well viewed It is egalitarian it is open to all The staff is very professional...well run and well-versed

Donor

Rating: 5

My adult life's work has been as a hands on philanthropist. I have been involved with Compassion & Choices since its inception and have found it to be one of the most effective, dedicated organizations I have had the privilege of supporting. They have spread the movement for compassionate choices at life's end in remarkable ways throughout the nation and beyond via both legal and educational means as well as providing direct services to individuals and families in dire need of their services.. Of the literally hundreds of 501c3s I have supported in my 82 years, there is not one I feel more deserving of being called a GreatNonProfit than Compassion & Choices.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer for Compassion & Choices to help pass "End of Life Option Act" (Death with Dignity), I had the best experience in my 80 years of life. I volunteered almost as a full-time worker, and I met the most wonderful, compassionate people whose goal to help patients achieve their Constitutional right (to choose to end extreme suffering). The law passed and I carry with pride my part in helping. I've done a lot of volunteering in my adult life, and I've never met finer people working toward an extraordinary goal which was achieved.
I consider it a privilege to have worked with such intelligent, helpful people.
The photo is of me at a rally before the law for "Death with Dignity" was passed.

Moira A H.

Donor

Rating: 5

While living in Washington DC more than 20 years ago I received a call from my dad, who lived in Oregon with my mother. He normally never called, leaving the long-distance chats to my mother, so I knew something was very wrong. Tersely he told me my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She wasn't ready to talk to me at that moment but she would call me soon. A couple of days later she called. We talked and she told me she was going to fight it all the way, that she was willing to be a guinea pig for research and that she was feeling strong. She then ended the call with words I have never forgotten. She said, "I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid of the process of dying."

Four years later she had fought the good fight, had been a guinea pig for research, had done experimental treatments at both NIH and Cleveland Clinic, and nothing had changed the outcome. She was dying. She knew it and she wanted control over the remaining days of her life.

As my family frantically tried to make sense of her inevitable death and I web-searched late into the night looking for answers, I found Compassion and Choices. Within a week they had worked with her and her doctors to arrange for her to take control of the end of her life. She followed all the steps and her signature was on the appropriate paperwork. It was unrecognizable, bearing no resemblance to the tidy finishing-school signature of her past, but it was there and with it came some serenity. She felt as if she had been able to do one thing where she was calling the shots. She would get to choose how and when the end would be. As she signed it, she told us she might never use it, but it gave her the option should she choose.

In the end, she never had a chance to make that decision. She went downhill too fast in those last weeks, but I know during her remaining alert hours she had some small sense that she was managing her destiny. She died at home with her family around her and I have never forgotten how much it meant to her to have that option. Compassion and Choices has often said the right to choose dignity in death is like an insurance policy. Many people never end up using it, but what it provides is a choice that allows those at end of life who have lost so much dignity and control over their daily existence to feel they can control one small but immeasurably significant part of their life. To that end, I have decided not only to support Compassion and Choices on a yearly basis, but to bequeath a sum to the organization in my will. I hope you will consider doing the same.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to Compassion and Choices since 2011 and now I am also a volunteer. I feel that the advances Compassion and Choices has made in encouraging medical care for the terminally ill, and in making the Right to Die legal in California and other states, are important to our continuing comfort. I plan to continue to contribute financially and actively to support their success. In my Trust, I have left a large portion of my estate to Compassion and Choices to encourage the wonderful work they are doing and all the things that they are achieving.

Donor

Rating: 5

Compassion & Choices is doing incredible work to make medical aid in dying accessible for all. This important work is sometimes poorly understood by the general public, but C&C shares impactful stories and helps educate Americans about this issue. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, medical aid in dying will become an increasingly important question for millions of Americans. C&C is at the forefront. Anyone who cares about this issue should consider supporting Compassion & Choices.

Donor

Rating: 5

Compassion & Choices is doing the most important and far-reaching work in the country today. The option for terminally ill, mentally competent adults to access life-ending prescription medication should be a right for all U.S. citizens. Anything short of this leads to undue suffering for people who have no further options. The work Compassion & Choices is doing is both profound and essential, and I am proud to support their mission in any way I can.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this nonprofit for many years, starting in the early 90s as a member and donor (when the organization had a different name) . In 2011 I began volunteering for Compassion & Choices and it was then that I was able to truly appreciate the value of what this organization does. The mission of this dedicated group of people is to provide the option for a dignified, physician-assisted death for terminally ill individuals, and to give them autonomy and decreased suffering at the end of life. They believe, and I strongly agree, that this choice is a basic human right that should be available to all Americans. They have been successful in making this a reality in several states and are striving to add more states where this humane and compassionate practice is legal. They have also taken up the important cause of preventing unwanted medical treatment, which occurs all too often.

Compassion & Choices should definitely be recognized as a top-rated nonprofit!

Susan Woods
Portland, Oregon

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having been a Clinical Social Worker for 40 years and as a clergy wife of an Episcopal Priest for almost 50 years, I have had a lot of experience with the terminally the ill. Aid in Dying is a tricky issue, one many people find distasteful. As a Client Service Volunteer for the past 7 years I can tell you that this organization has the highest ethical standards and provides a variety of services to terminally ill people.
Here in Oregon, where we have had 20yrs of experience helping terminally ill patients acquire and take a lethal dose of medication that will end their suffering and their life, the question of choosing death over suffering is legal, well documented, and a relief to both patients and their families. It has been an honor to be present at over 80 deaths.
But C & C is so much more than just providing services for the terminally ill. It is in the forefront of the movement to make this compassionate end available in all states, to all who qualify and want a peaceful end. Our volunteers in states without the law advocate, educate, and support people who are looking for the security of knowing that if their suffering becomes too great they have the legal right to end their life.
I am proud to be part of this movement and this organization.
Betsy Moss, Eugene, Oregon

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If we stand by and watch the pain unfold in a persons life and do nothing about it; then thats our stand.
C&C has rallied a call for Action and I so wish there was such a group I could've offered to a dear friend of mine who had dnr directives in place and ended up 9 weeks starving to death on morphine patches all alone in his apartment controlled by a home hospice who checked in on him daily then left him alone. My Dad didn't know the option of choosing death. Instead he suffered for years declining from liver cancer which finally he gave into. Horrible stories of family members and friends are numerous. My own call to Action is moving terminally ill adults to any state they want to go to regardless of finances or what reasons they have for the move. Movemehome@gmail.com

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Compassion and Choices is a great nonprofit that helps everyone all over the US. With it's great work they are doing, they are achieving and educating the consumers, nurses and doctors. Being able to learn your options and having the choice is very important.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to C and C for the last 13 years. Their work matters and they do such much with a limited budget. Advocating for choice at the end of life is not an easy topic and therefore raising money to do the important work is not easy.
I have known my donations will be used well advocating and supporting patients and families on those tough end of life decisions.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Compassion & Choices is a superior non-profit: well-organized, effective and competent in all those critical areas that make a donor want to give and give.

3 Norma C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has been at the forefront for years in teaching folks how to prepare for dying: Advance Directives, withholding invasive treatments where the side effects are sometimes worse than the illness, supporting terminally ill people, and providing consul to folks at the end of their lives. More recently, they have been very active in the legislative side of the right-to-die using medically prescribed drugs. This is an idea whose time has come...and I'M ALL FOR IT. And if someone is not "for it"....that's fine too...but legally we should have a choice. This organization is helpful for anyone who will eventually die...all others should put their money into saving the planet....no sense living forever if the earth doesn't go along with the program!

1 Bonnie104

Client Served

Rating: 5

These dedicated people are simply amazing. The subject of Compassion and Choices makes it somewhat difficult to speak to certain people. Yet they have a staff to handle everything including reluctant family members, who may want to put off speaking about death with dignity. I have been observing for several years. I have raised money for them. I speak out to those who may not know about this organization. And they have helped me. They have wonderful councilors and talking to them is free. As the population ages and medical policies change it is more important than ever for people to think ahead. Compassion and Choices is as good as it's name. It helps people make and keep choices and they do this with great compassion. They are growing and becoming more effective as more and more people learn about them. I want to help them in any way that I can.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

When my mother was at the end of her life, the doctor could not give her pills she could take for a peaceful death with her family gathered around her. Instead, we had to suffer with her for several weeks as she starved herself to death. And as it turned out, I was not able to be at her bedside when she died.
I am therefore very hopeful that the District of Columbia Council will soon pass a Death With Dignity Bill, so that if I or my husband should find ourselves in a similar situation, two doctors could give us pills with which to end our lives, with our children around us.
Because we feel so strongly about this issue, we are enthusiastic supporters of Compassion & Choices and its work to make a dignified death possible. I'm proud to give this organization a top rating as a Great Non-Profit!
Sarah G Epstein
Washington DC

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compassion and Choices is a powerful non-profit offering advocacy, education, and support to people at the end of their lives. The goal of the organization is to educate, consumers, medical personal, medical entities like hospitals, insurance companies, Hospices, and legislators about Medical Aid in Dying which has been legal in Oregon since 1997.
They also provide direct support to the dying, their families, and their medical providers. In every state in the country. They are an advocacy group that has worked hard to pass Medical Aid in Dying in Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Vermont, California, and are on the ballot in Colorado.
As a national organization they are second to none in utilizing their donations to the maximum. It always amazes me what so few people can accomplish with so little! I nominate them as an outstanding non-profit!!!