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Dignity50: State Leadership Incubator

Dignity50 is the program at Death with Dignity directly focused on helping us accomplish our mission: to promote death with dignity laws based on the model Oregon Death with Dignity Act, both to provide an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements in end-of-life care.

Dignity50 has three major components:

  • Active political campaigns
  • Death with Dignity Fund
  • State Leadership Incubator

Our active political campaigns are part of the work of the Death with Dignity Political Fund. In a typical year we conduct campaigns in 6-8 states at a time. Active political campaigns are supported from the Death with Dignity Fund, a dedicated financial resource that allows us to launch promising campaigns, fill a critical gap in existing campaigns, offer financial support to successful efforts, and help push death with dignity initiatives over the top when a win is imminent.

State Leadership Incubator

Effective local leadership is a key factor in a state’s readiness for a successful campaign. The State Leadership Incubator provides technical assistance to community leaders and advocates who will form and lead local organizations to promote death with dignity legislation in their respective states. The goal of the Incubator is to provide information, resources, and expertise to help grow local organizations which can participate in effective campaigns and lead statewide advocacy efforts.

This has been a phenomenal opportunity for our young organization to learn from the experts. We’ve also appreciated ‘meeting’ people from other organizations.

—Lisa Vigil Schattinger, Executive Director of Ohio End of Life Options

We aim for local and state level group leaders to feel empowered to participate at state level campaigns, which may involve:

  • partnering with bill sponsors to design campaign plans and strategies;
  • building coalitions among legislators, health professionals, community leaders, faith leaders, activists, and others;
  • building organizational capacity for advocacy work offline and online; and
  • working with the media.
  • implementation after passage of a law.

Launched in January 2017 as a pilot, the program features the following elements that aim to support the work of local advocates:

  • Trainings providing practical tools for grassroots advocacy basics, legislative/ballot campaigns, communication, organizing, and online advocacy.
  • Model death with dignity legislation featuring the best language from the Oregon, Washington, California, and Maine death with dignity laws. It is no longer enough to copy another state’s law for a new bill.
  • Grant program offering local groups financial resources to build capacity and infrastructure.
  • Specialist support and guidance, upon request and as resources are available.

The program has been invaluable by giving me access to successful role models who have shared their wisdom.

—Ed Tiryakian, Executive Director of Dying Right North Carolina

Join Dignity50 State Leadership Incubator

Are you committed to leading an effort in your community to promote end-of-life policy reform and, ultimately, to enact a death with dignity law in your state? The Dignity50 State Leadership Incubator is open to dedicated advocates in every state, but particularly in those states lacking an assisted dying statute.

Due to the sensitive nature of the program content, we ask every advocate who wishes to access it to provide additional background and information. To apply for the program, please fill out this form, answering questions about yourself and the work you are doing or wish to do.