Cincinnati Foundation for Mortuary Education

CFME is Transforming Death Care Education

The transformation of death care education is underway – starting with the Foundation! The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, governed by the Foundation, has successfully pioneered advancements in mortuary science education longer than any other educator. The momentum is undeniable as we culminate years of transformational concepts and strategic planning in Transforming Death Care Education.

The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit established in 1970 by Charles Dhonau and Thomas Stueve, is the governing body of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science created to provide the broad support necessary for the college to flourish.

An Entirely New Governance Model

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is comprised of over a dozen diverse professionals who are strategically focused, sharing a vested interest in the College’s success. In 2016, this diversified Board of Trustees sought to understand the challenges that had hindered implementation of strategic concepts developed over the years. They recognized the need to first and foremost answer a very foundational question: “To whom does our non-profit Board—and, in turn, the Foundation— answer?” As a college, there are no shareholders, but there are stakeholders.  The Board answered, “CCMS is accountable to the entire death care profession and the families it serves.”  These are the stakeholders.

With this answer, the Board of Trustees next assessed whether it had an effective governance approach to truly transform death care education. This prompted the 2016 adoption of the innovative Carver’s Governance Model for Non-Profits, which in turn gave immediate momentum to the College’s initiative. Under this model, the Board, in collaboration with the CCMS President & CEO, while considering the needs of practitioners and the community, sets “end goals” that push forward the mission and vision of the College.  The Board then allows CCMS’s President & CEO to develop the “means” for achieving success.

The implementation of an entirely new governance model, along with enhanced stewardship and growth of the College’s assets, has laid the necessary groundwork for CCMS to culminate existing strategic concepts along with new transformational visions, and to bring them to fruition. The successes achieved since 2016 and the growing momentum are exciting!

Purpose of the Foundation

The non-profit foundation provides a broad range of financial and governance support to the College’s growth and transformational initiative.

Transforming Death Care Education is ongoing, beginning with expansion and development of education programs and opportunities for students and practitioners, including:

  • Construction of the CCMS Educational Cremation Center (2019)
    • Expansion of cremation curriculum
    • Integrate hands-on learning not currently available to students or practitioners
  • Develop and launch affordable online education programs (students & practitioner)
  • Ongoing expansion of innovative curriculum and specialized training
  • Encourage, promote, develop and enhance education, instruction, training, and research
  • Secure and increase endowments and grants for sustainability and enhancement of:
    • Student scholarships and grants
    • Alumni events and networking opportunities
    • Affordability and relevance of lifelong learning programs for practitioners
  • Develop relevant and engaging continuing education programs
  • Disseminate of imperative information and knowledge to all death care professionals
  • Assure and ensure the continuity of CCMS as the nation’s first and leading force in death care education

How to Support the Foundation & CCMS in Transforming Death Care Education

CCMS is unique in that it receives no state or federal funding, outside of the financial aid our students receive for tuition, for its operation., As a result, CCMS heavily relies on support from the Foundation, alumni, and private individuals. Their generous and continual support is in large part why we have remained successful for well over a century.

CCMS alumni, service professionals, and supporters of the College are encouraged to join the Foundation. Graduates of CCMS receive dues-free membership for one year after graduation. All dues-paying members are invited to attend the Foundation’s annual meeting and participate in the strategic planning processes as we transform death care education.

Brief History of the Foundation

The Cincinnati Foundation for Mortuary Education (CFME), dba Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, is a non-profit educational foundation established in 1970 by Charles Dhonau and Thomas Stueve to govern the then small proprietary Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science (CCMS). The two recognized that broader support was necessary for CCMS to flourish; thus, all assets were transferred into the responsibility of the Foundation. The Foundation remains the governing body to this day. CFME is incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio and is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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