October 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

I’d like to take this opportunity to describe a number of the organizational oversight duties and the structures in place which determine how Board members at the Chalice of Repose Project perform their due diligence activities.  All six Board members are deeply engaged in the oversight of the organization, and yet none receive compensation for their work.  All of the Board work is donated.  All Board members have copies of and understand and support the 3-fold mission statement.  They each have copies of the bylaws and articles of incorporation, a copy of the IRS letter of determination, a conflict of interest policy, and receive detailed financial statements at each and every Board meeting.  These Board meetings occur anywhere from three to five times per year.     Our Treasurer makes very detailed financial reports at each meeting, and at all times, the financial status of the organization is assessed, and the financial activities (income and expenses) are thoughtfully monitored. We are confident that our stewardship commitments model excellence.

No doubt, you understand that a non-profit has no shares, disburses no dividends, and so the whistle blower policy that applies to for-profit corporations is not applicable to the 501-c-3 framework.   However, the reportage and documentation standards of excellence required for non-profits are regulated by statute.  These  are usually expressed a little differently from state to state but the regulations have much in common with one another.   In my opinion, and in our shared experience, the Oregon statutes articulate our fiduciary and oversight responsibilities in formal, thorough and strong ways.

As a 501-c-3 tax exempt corporation, the Chalice of Repose Project has established and maintained effective and nuanced conflict of interest policies that are coherent with our stated non-profit mission and consistent with the statues published by the State.   Pro-actively, we place special emphasis on the articulation of policies appropriate to Board (and staff) and to all Board-governance operations, and by extension, we provide the same thoughtful care and formality in our oversight of  the educational and clinical programs.

Relative to the Board conflict of interest policy,  interested persons are defined, as are financial interests, confidentiality standards and HIPPA compliant security procedures.   (Please note: This organization does not   invoice or charge any agency or any dying individual (or their surviving loved ones) for the delivery of music-thanatology clinical services.

Compensation rates for any employee position at Chalice have been somewhat competitive and yet are objectively determined by virtue of the individual resume plus comparables research, the data of which is available on local and national governmental and non-profit databases.

Any and all organizational operations articulate and model timely disclosure procedures for Board (and staff) as well as the identification of possible conflict of interest situations at the Board level and or their timely and formal determinations.  These standards of excellence include written records of proceedings which reflect meeting agendas which I approve in advance and the documentation of the voting results.

All six of our Board members are professionals who have considerable non-profit experience, and yet are inspired by the mission and work of the Chalice of Repose Project.  All six of us have conducted Board oversight or held leadership positions of administration, teaching, clinical care or publishing initiatives at large organizations, hospitals, foundations, colleges, universities, clinics, etc.

Within the cultivation period during which a new Board relationship is being explored or considered, and prior to the start of any new Board term of service, an incoming Board member is provided with a hefty Board Governance notebook to study and read.   In this way, a new Board member is particularly well informed about history, mission, values, finances and procedural operations prior to start of service, and prior to attendance of their first Board meeting. A second threshold relative to the review of the Organizational conflict of interest policy occurs by virtue of the Agenda of the annual Board meeting which takes place each July, wherein the conflict of interest policy is revisited and voted for renewal.  A third threshold can include a quick review or reminder at the regular end-year meeting which usually takes place in December.

Our educational and clinical policies incorporate similar standards of excellence for the faculty or staff serving those programs, and do so with professional sensitivity towards the individuals being served (whether student or patient).  Similarly, academic policies (school fee structures, expectations, policies, recommendations and procedures) have been formed by careful study and understanding of those published by large and small colleges and universities and or comparable non-profits that are functional institutes, and offer adult education continuing education courses.

Without exception, from 2004 to the present, prospective cohorts and individual students have consistently received a complete schedule of fees (as well as explicit refund policies) associated with enrollment in each course prior to registration for that course.    The registration is formalized by contract, and cohort contracts were formalized for a year at a time.  (Individual enrollment contracts for rolling admissions students are developed on an individual basis, and calendar is determined only two modules at a time rather than a year at a time).   Prior to matriculation, each student signs an enrollment contract, and the contract stipulates that their signature means that they have been fully informed in advance of all financial fees and refund policies, and of the academic expectations, and that they accept the expectations and requirements described in that syllabus or handbook or course description.

In the rare instances where a cohort student has been placed on academic probation or on an approved leave of absence, the student has always been given the opportunity to demonstrate work improvement rather than fail by ignorance of improvement criteria or inadequate time in which to demonstrate improvements.

Last but not least, students enrolled in any of the educational programs are asked to provide feedback on the quality of their satisfaction.  How do they perceive  communications?  How do they perceive course content and methodology, and what do they think about their own personal growth following the completion of each and Module?   In this way, each student is pro-actively invited to identify any concern they might have or ask for clarification about a question they may have formed or a confusion that has surfaced.  Extensions of time are frequently given, and are, without exception, granted on a no-fault basis.  The organization affirms the effectivity of communicating in a timely, natural, effective and gracious manner.

Occasionally, as appropriate or useful, the Board forms or requests or assembles a professional review committee composed of individuals external to the organization.  At other times, the Board forms an ad hoc committee which tackles a single theme or idea or assignment, and the committee members are drawn from colleagues and associates knowledgeable in the field of music-thanatology or education.    Small but mighty!  Our policies and procedures reflect considerable input from trusted external resources and they incorporate the thoughtful expertise of nationally recognized professionals.

I hope that this is helpful.  Should you have any questions about corporate oversight, I would welcome hearing from you, and am happy to receive such letters at:  Board Chair, Chalice of Repose Project, PO Box 169, Mount Angel, OR 9732.


Carol Hegedus

Chairperson, Chalice of Repose Project Board of Directors




July 20, 2017

Dear Friends,

It is with joy and pride that I find myself serving in the position of Board Chair and I want to briefly reflect on that.  I am grateful to work with a dedicated, deeply engaged and distinguished Board team.  However, I am the only member of the Board who has known the work of the Chalice of Repose Project in a variety of forms as it emerged and flourished in all three historical locations: Colorado, Montana, and during the last fifteen years in Oregon.

In my former capacity as a program director at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I worked with leaders in medicine, psychology, science, media, culture, religion and spirituality.  I managed multi-year grants awarded to individuals at prestigious universities. I served as the publisher of Advances:The Journal of Mind-Body Health — the first peer-reviewed journal in that field.  I led the planning and conceptual development of the Emmy Award winning PBS series, “Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers” and was also project director for “STILL/HERE with Bill T. Jones and Bill Moyers” and “Healing and the Arts with Bill Moyers” and consulted on “On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying in America.”  At Fetzer, we also developed and funded a wide variety of print and broadcast publishing efforts, pioneering scientific research, and work in consciousness, spirituality, and religious studies.  It was an honor to help bring the work of artists, scientists, physicians, journalists, cultural commentators and religious leaders to a wide viewing and reading public and to do our best to expand the meaning of health to include Fetzer’s mission directives of wholeness, freedom and love.

I first learned about the field of music-thanatology and of Therese Schroeder-Sheker’s pioneering work of the Chalice of Repose Project when the Fetzer Institute asked Therese to make a presentation to its directors and trustees in Michigan in early 1991.  Everyone at Fetzer was deeply moved and impressed by Therese and her presentation, and soon http://www.buyambienmed.com awarded a generous multi-year grant to support her and the Chalice work, with the caveat that a formalized structure and corporation (as a 501-c-3) be created.  This corporate filing took place in July of 1992.  The Institute also funded the Paul Kaufman documentary film on Therese’s Contemplative Musicianship in Death and Dying which won 1st place in the Palm Springs International Film Festival Video Award in 1997, and later, in 2001, Fetzer also supported the first book ever published on music-thanatology, also authored by Therese, TRANSITUS: A BLESSED DEATH IN THE MODERN WORLD.

Over the years since 1991, I have seen the work of the school, the clinical practice, the publications, and the organization grow and transition through each exciting stage.  I am grateful to have such a rare continuity of insight and information from my Board service in both Montana and Oregon.  The quality of the work pioneered and advanced by Therese and her colleagues in this organization, in education, publishing and clinical care continues to inspire me.  Therese’s commitment to continually publish has been a huge (decades long) public service.  I am particularly excited about a series of publications which will begin to become available in 2018.

In the meantime, I invite you to explore a significant recent work published by IAMM (International Association for Music & Medicine) in April of 2017.  Please go to mmd.iammonline.com and find MUSIC & MEDICINE/2017/Volume9/Issue2/Pages 128-144. Therese Schroeder-Sheker’s “The Chalice of Repose Project’s Music Thanatology History and Praxis” presents an in-depth 44 year history.

MUSIC & MEDICINE is jointly sponsored by Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York and The Institute for Music Therapy, and the University for Music and Drama HfMT Hamburg in Germany. Please consider supporting their vital work.

I hope you will return to this page again in November to see the schedule for the upcoming book series in contemplative musicianship and music-thanatology.

Warm regards,

Carol Hegedus

Chairperson, Chalice of Repose Project Board of Directors

Last updated Wednesday, 03-Oct-2018

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