From President Brian Ruder
It has been two years since I was elected President of the Board of your Final Exit Network (FEN). The last 12-18 months have been difficult for our guide program as we had to slow down our application processing. Our coordinators continued providing information to callers and our senior guides continued to support their existing clients. We are happy to again be accepting applications.
From an organizational perspective, we have made several changes. The Board hired our first executive director and first client services director to make FEN more sustainable. Our executive director has transitioned FEN to a new financial system in preparation for our first external audit. She participated with a Board committee to develop a three-year strategic plan that focuses on how FEN can become more professional and accepted in the right-to-die movement, while being true to our mission and keeping FEN and our clients safe. She also oversaw the development of our new website. Our client services director oversaw her first successful two-day training program to add more volunteers to our guide program.
The Board launched the Supplemental Advance Directive for Dementia Care (SADD) initiative to allow members with dementia a second option to manage their end days. We provide free legal support for our directive if that becomes necessary. We also launched our Surrogate Consultant Initiative to provide members with advice and support in managing their advance directive.
FEN completed the first phase of research with our clients to better understand the psychosocial reasons they have for hastening their death. This research will help us improve our services and messaging, and may open new areas of research in dying and death.
Our magazine now includes more stories of clients who have chosen to hasten death, as well as the experiences of their families. The magazine is one of our most important marketing tools, and I hope that you share your copy with friends and neighbors.
These changes come at some cost. Some volunteers didn’t like the changes and decided it was time to move on. FEN owes much to these volunteers, and we thank them for their years of service.
The Board is unanimous in its belief that our move toward a more professional organization will attract new supporters and clients for Final Exit Network and expand our opportunity to play an important role in the right to die movement.
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