Project Compassion

At the beginning of 2012, Health Connections Network and Project Compassion became partners with the sole purpose to promote and expand the Circles of Care Program in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties.

Project Compassion is a non-profit organization based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that creates community and provides innovative support for people living with serious illnesses, care-giving, end-of-life and grief.  Project Compassion was founded in 2000 by volunteers organized by Mary Meyer Sullivan after she experienced first-hand the unmet needs of a close friend battling breast cancer.  Our grassroots founders articulated an impact statement, now expanded, that still guides us today.

Impact Statement:
At Project Compassion, we strive to create communities where:

  • All people have full access to whole-person, whole-family care when facing illness, caregiving, end-of-life and grief.
  • People will receive practical, emotional and spiritual support through the continuum of illness, caregiving, end-of-life and grief.
  • Caregivers are educated, honored and supported.
  • Neighbors are empowered and supported in caring for neighbors.
  • Patients, caregivers, professionals and organizations are engaged and equipped to create a continuum of care during illness, caregiving, end-of-ife and grief.
  • All people understand, anticipate and communicate their end-of-life care choices.
  • All people are equipped to advocate for themselves and others.
  • People have hope that there is a way through the transitions of serious illness, end-of-life and grief.

Strategic Initiatives:
Through our initiatives, we work to bridge the gaps in community care for vulnerable individuals and families.  Project Compassion focuses on four major initiative areas:

  • Caregiving Support: Volunteer caregiving Support Teams provide practical, emotional and quality of life support for people living with serious illness and caregiving. The Support Team Initiative has been recognized nationally by AARP, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Council on Aging, the Metlife Foundation, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  Circles of Care and Operation Compassion are customized extensions of the support team concept.  Project Compassion is now the home for Support Team Development Conference training through the National Support Team Network.  We provide training conferences and team development resources nationally.
  • Patient Advocacy and Civic Engagement: Coaching, interactive workshops and resources help people improve their ability to advocate effectively for themselves or for someone else in the health care system.  Finding Your Voice offers integrated, dynamic patient advocacy, advance care planning and organ and tissue donation education for patients, caregivers, community members, health care student and professionals across North Carolina.
  • Advance Care Planning: Consult visits, workshops and resources help people understand and communicate end-of-life care wishes. Our workbook Getting It Together: Planning Ahead helps was featured in the Sunday New York Times and is distributed nationally in book and CD formats.
  • Eduation and Engagement: Workshops, leadership trainings and resources help people gain the knowledge they need to care for themselves and others. The publication, The Unbroken Circle: A Toolkit for Congregations around Illness, End of Life, and Grief, written by former Executive Director James L. Brooks, was created and is distributed nationally in partnership with the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.  James L. Brooks also authored It’s About How You LIVE—In Faith, a guide for hospices and end of life care coalition on engaging faith communities, also part of this partnership around faith community engagement.

Partnership Strategy:  
Since its grassroots founding in 2000, Project Compassion has partnered with more than 100 organizations in the Triangle area of North Carolina - hospices, hospitals, faith communities, retirement communities, neighborhood groups, universities, businesses, government entities and non-profits.

In addition, we have partnered with national and regional groups across the country to further the mission of creating community and providing innovative support for people living with serious illnesses, caregiving, end-of-life and grief.

National Impact:
Today Project Compassion has grown into a model program, known nationally for our innovative programs, services, and resources that create community and provide support for people living with illness, caregiving, end-of-life and grief.  In addition to the initiative we offer in North Carolina, now individuals and organizations across the U.S. can access Project Compassion’s award-winning resources and model programs described above through our website, conferences, presentations and consulting services.


For more information about the amazing work Project Compassion does, visit their site.