Project on Death Is Funding Programs to Improve the Care of the Dying

April 1, 1995

NEW YORK--An international foundation headquartered in New York City hopes to trigger a national debate about death and dying in the United States. The Project on Death in America will be funded by the Open Society Institute, one of the Soros Foundations.

NEW YORK--An international foundation headquartered in New YorkCity hopes to trigger a national debate about death and dyingin the United States. The Project on Death in America will befunded by the Open Society Institute, one of the Soros Foundations.

The Open Society Institute will award $5 million annually to peoplewho are developing better approaches to the needs of the dying(see below for information on how to apply). The awards couldgo to doctors, nurses, hospice workers or scholars, or to communityworkers, church groups, artists, writers, or others, who somehowcan find a way to improve the care of the dying.

The idea for the project came to philanthropist George Soros,founder and chairman of the Soros Foundations, from his experienceswith the deaths of his parents and his reading of the works ofElisabeth Kubler-Ross, who pioneered the study of death and dying.

To oversee the project, a nine-member advisory board has beenselected, headed by Kathleen M. Foley, MD, chief of the pain service,Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

"We want to encourage a national discussion on how we carefor our dying in the United States," Dr. Foley said. "Wewant Congress and the NIH to focus on the issue and to providepolicy and research leadership to help understand and transformour current culture of dying."

"I would like to move beyond medicalization to issues ofmeaning," Yale law school professor and Project Board MemberRobert A. Burt, MD, said at a press conference. "I wouldsuspect there is a lot of comfort being given to dying peoplewithin communities, within parishes. Wouldn't it be nice to getsome money to them so they could train others? We want to geta proposal letter with smudges on it that looks like a good idea."

The Soros Foundation fosters the development of democracy andfree trade around the world, particularly in previously communistcountries.

To Apply for Grants

For application information on the Grants Program (1- to 2-yeargrants) or the Faculty Scholars Program (2-year fellowships, renewablefor a third year), write:

Project on Death in America, Kathleen M. Foley, MD, Project Director,Open Society Institute, 19th Floor, 888 Seventh Avenue, New York,NY 10106, or contact by phone (212-887-0150) or fax (212-489-8455).