Our Purpose

The Conversation Project is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected.

Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.

It’s time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It’s time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it’s time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don’t want for ourselves.

We believe that the place for this to begin is at the kitchen table—not in the intensive care unit—with the people we love, before it’s too late.

Together we can make these difficult conversations easier. We can make sure that our own wishes, and those of our loved ones, are both expressed and respected. The Conversation Project offers tools, guidance, and resources to begin talking with loved ones about your and their wishes.

Our History

The Conversation Project began 2010, when Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ellen Goodman and a group of colleagues and concerned media, clergy, and medical professionals gathered to share stories of “good deaths” and “hard deaths” within their own circle of loved ones.

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By the Numbers

While 92% of Americans say it’s important to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care, only 32% have had such a conversation. 95% of Americans say they would be willing to talk about their wishes, and 53% even say they’d be relieved to discuss it (The Conversation Project National Survey, 2018).

More than 340,000 people, from all 50 states and 160+ countries, have downloaded our Conversation Starter Kit, which is available in English, Arabic, French, German, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

More than 740,000 people have visited The Conversation Project website since its 2012 launch.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get involved?

Start by having conversations with your loved ones about your and their end-of-life care wishes; The Conversation Starter Kit is a free resource to help guide you through the process.

If you’d like to get more involved, we encourage you to first check out our Community Getting Started Guide. This is a great way to begin planning for how you can engage community residents in end-of-life care conversations and how to partner with other organizations in your region to promote this work.