Humber began offering Funeral Services programs more than 50 years ago, and has graduated over 3,400 students since 1967. Today, ours is one of only two programs in Ontario recognized by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, and the only one offered in English.
In recognition of the significant potential of Humber's Funeral Services students, over 60 industry partners help facilitate work placement opportunities. These students are dedicated and hard-working. They take full advantage of our state-of-the-art facilities, including the Ontario college system's only cadaver lab for health programs. They learn from excellent faculty who are themselves licensed funeral directors.
Their potential is bright indeed—but the challenge is to keep that light alive and growing.
All Funeral Services students face entering a field in which burnout is known to be high. Figures indicate that 50% of funeral directors quit the profession within the first five years due to what is termed "funeral director fatigue." The pandemic has further exacerbated funeral director fatigue by introducing increased risks to physical health, overwhelming workloads, and the need to provide emotional and practical support to grieving families in non-traditional ways.
Jason Powell, Senior Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness, recognizes these challenges. "It's important that we offer our Funeral Services students appropriate and meaningful support, not only for the sake of their careers but also for their own health and well-being," he says. "While they have been learning everything they need for success, perhaps the most important thing in their toolkit going forward will be resilience. This, too, can be learned—and it's vital that we give our students opportunities to do so."
Thankfully, the Funeral Service Foundation wholeheartedly agrees—and has been generous in their support of our goals.
The philanthropic voice of the funeral profession and the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Foundation has gifted the college an initial grant of $60,000 USD, through our Unlimited campaign. The grant has the potential to be renewed for two additional years (totaling $135,500 USD), allowing for up to three years of resilience training support for students in Humber's Funeral Services programs.
“We are honoured to support organizations like Humber whose work aligns with our mission of investing in people and programs to strengthen funeral service and lift up grieving communities,” said Funeral Service Foundation Executive Director Lee Wiensch, CFRE. “This award is the largest grant to date made to a Canadian organization. We admire the institution’s unwavering commitment to top-notch education, and are proud to help educate funeral service professionals in the importance of self-care and resilience.”
Allan Cole, Unlimited Campaign Cabinet Member and 2021-22 Chair of the Funeral Service Foundation, saw a strong correlation between our goals and those of the Foundation, whose granting philosophy includes supporting initiatives of national and international scope that strengthen the funeral service profession.
“I was very pleased to see that the Funeral Service Foundation found the proposal regarding resilience training to be worthwhile and of value. This generous grant from the Funeral Service Foundation will enable Humber to deliver valuable resources to the Funeral Service Sector through their educational programs. As a proud Humber graduate, and a member of the Humber Unlimited Campaign Cabinet I am glad that I can contribute in some way to enhance the delivery of education to candidates for our sector.”
Through the support of the Funeral Service Foundation, Humber can ensure that incoming talent across Canada’s funeral sector is prepared to face industry challenges, both during and beyond the current pandemic.
To add your gift to this important initiative, please donate here.