Frequently Asked Questions

What's the relationship between CHEO and The Unforgettables Fund – National Capital Region Chapter? How will gifts be managed by CHEO?

All gifts received will go through the CHEO Foundation. Tax receipts will be issued by CHEO Foundation and funds will be deposited into a dedicated Unforgettables Endowment Fund. CHEO Foundation will then issue cheques directly to all service providers on behalf of the grieving families through an Unforgettables Operations Fund.

100% of all donations received during the Endowment Campaign will be placed in the The Unforgettables Fund Endowment Campaign. This capital will never be touched. Existing funds within The Unforgettables Operations Fund will be utilized to support current requests until the endowment begins to generate sufficient annual income to be disbursed. Eligibility decisions are handled exclusively by The Unforgettables Fund Board of Directors and its appointed fund administrator.

How do Families apply for support?

All of the families that The Unforgettables Fund supports financially are under supervision through CHEO's palliative care team or at Rogers House, a child hospice located on the CHEO campus. An application is made to The Unforgettables Fund administrator upon the death of the child. Eligibility criteria include the family's financial capacity and the qualification of the child's death through a life-limiting illness.

Is reaching 10 families per year enough to meet the current number of requests from families?

The Unforgettables Fund exists to ensure that no family falls through the cracks of the system. An endowment fund of $500,000, with a conservative annual return of 4% will generate approximately $20,000 per year to be disbursed. With funeral costs running at approximately $2,000 per family, annual fund interest will support disbursements to 10 families per year.

Estimated annual operations fund needs are also based on the historical demand for services experienced at the Unforgettables Fund at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital. Since its inception in 2002, the Toronto fund has supported over 150 families; reaching 10 families per year through the National Capital Chapter is an appropriate patient-load comparison.

Why an endowment fund? Why not just a big fundraising campaign?

Endowment funds are an attractive mechanism when a project can be discussed in finite terms: annual income generated by an endowment fund The Unforgettables Fund's will support 10 families per year for many years to come. By partnering with CHEO Foundation, the fund is able to minimize its administrative costs, and avoid the steep learning curve and financial expense of setting up a private endowment fund. Donors appreciate endowment funds because their one-time gift keeps on giving year after year.

Why aren't the Funeral Homes supporting this free of cost? Why isn't it free?

Historically, it is the funeral homes that have been quietly waiving funeral costs to support bereaved and financially traumatized families. But there are so many other financial stresses associated with a funeral. Funeral homes still incur expenses from outside suppliers - caskets, food, flowers, newspaper announcements and taxes to name a few. There are also costs in consideration of cemetery and cremation services. Even the most modest funeral will never be completely free.

The Unforgettables Fund aims to reach families in need with whatever kind of financial support they require. The end goal remains the same: families are able to spend their last moments with their child without worrying about the impending cost of a dignified funeral.

What is a dignified funeral? What kind of expenses does The Unforgettables Fund cover for families?

The Unforgettables Fund believes that every child is entitled to a dignified funeral. By taking away a huge financial worry, TUF aims to help families stay focused on what is important to them: spending time with their child at end-of-life. Expenses that might be covered by TUF include direct and indirect costs for burial and/or ceremony, airfare costs for family (grandparents, parents) to attend a funeral, and costs associated with burying a child within their faith. Expenses are capped at $2,500 per family.

Who has The Unforgettables Fund helped so far?

Since its inception in 2008, the Unforgettables has helped 20 families with the financial trauma of losing a child to a life limiting illness. Please refer to the "Families touched by TUF" section of our website.

Who is on the Board of The Unforgettables Fund (TUF) – National Capital Chapter?

The Unforgettables Fund – National Capital Chapter is a volunteer-driven initiative. The Fund Administrator responsible for handling family requests is a staff member at CHEO. Her work places her in contact with the palliative care teams, the social work teams and Rogers House staff that support the families in financial crisis. Other members of the Board represent the bereavement care industry in Eastern Ontario, other staff at CHEO, parents who have lost children, as well as numerous community-minded and compassionate people.