In June 1979, a group of interested citizens of different religious identities founded the Memorial Society of Rhode Island at Westminster Unitarian Church in East Greenwich. The Society was incorporated under Rhode island law one year later. The Society’s primary purpose was to provide consumer education on funeral and cemetery costs for its members and the general public. The Society became an affiliate of the Continental Association of Funeral and Memorial Societies and has paid dues to this group or its successor ever since.
The Society’s Board of Directors met regularly, surveyed area funeral homes and cemeteries, prepared occasional newsletters, and established a speaker’s bureau to inform community groups. The Society held Annual Meetings with guest speakers. However, over time the Society became less active.
In May 2006, seeking Board members and desiring to expand the general membership, founding members called a meeting to revitalize and reorganize the Society. The revived Society set an ambitious agenda. The new Board approved a Mission Statement and changed the Society’s name to the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) of Rhode Island. (The national parent organization, the Continental Association of Funeral and Memorial Societies, has become the Funeral Consumers Alliance.)
In a short period, staffed entirely by volunteers and on a shoe-string budget, the Alliance has compiled an impressive record of achievement:
- A General survey of fees charged at every funeral home in Rhode Island — now available free and online
- Monitoring of every funeral home in Rhode Island for compliance with federal mandates
- Counseling on the full range of choices guaranteed to funeral consumers by federal law — The Funeral Rule of the Federal Trade Commission
- Encouragement of individuals of all ages in advance planning of final arrangements
- A website that details the Rhode Island Alliance’s work and which links to the national FCA website
- A phone line open 24/7 to assure prompt attention to requests for aid or information
- Talks and workshops for community and professional groups
- Annual newsletters dedicated to end-of-life issues and funeral planning
- Annual meetings featuring guest speakers on timely topics and emerging options such as green burial
Our Current Board Members: