Zen Hospice Project

Mission: A model for improving wellness and aging...

End-of-life decisions cause extraordinary stress for patients, families, and society in general. Today, 40% of hospice patients come directly from Intensive Care Units, and spend just a few days in palliative care before dying. From a cost perspective, 5% of Americans account for over half of healthcare spending – with the majority of expenses incurred during hospital stays in the last year of life. Unfortunately, these issues are poised to multiply, as the number of Americans turning 65 or older is expected to double in the next 25 year.

Zen Hospice Project (ZHP) changes the experience of dying by creating space for living that offers the opportunity for individuals, their loved ones, and caregivers to find comfort, connection, and healing in this shared human experience. With an emphasis on mindfulness and compassion, specially-trained ZHP volunteers and clinical caregivers offer patients an environment anchored in a human-centered, rather than an intervention-centered approach. Zen Hospice Project has touched more than 35,000 lives through their programs and services. This includes:

  • Direct care at two San Francisco locations for 300 resident patients each year, plus support for their families, friends and personal caregivers.

  • Training more than 1,500 volunteer caregivers, with dozens of new trainees annually.

  • Support and mentorship of 125 volunteers each year who collectively provide 32,000 hours of care.

  • Partnerships with UCSF, Hospice By The Bay and other organizations who refer patients at the end of life to Zen Hospice Project.

Approach: ZHP aimed to enroll more participants in its Mindful Caregiver Education series. Full Circle Fund partnered with ZHP to help determine the best strategies to raise awareness of this program. After acquiring a deep understanding of ZHP’s programs and vision, Full Circle Fund explored ways that ZHP could expand programming for the Mindful Caregiver Education series and build ZHP’s education partnership network. Project activities included:

  • Landscape research – Assessing mindfulness programs and other educational curriculums that serve the priority target audiences to determine fair market cost for such programs.

  • Program analysis – Creating and providing access to 1000Minds online decision-making tool that could be used to fine tune priorities, evaluate program expansion models, and identify the best potential partnerships.

  • Partnership exploration – Determining models and strategies to acquire, develop, and retain beneficial relationships.


  • Strategic Growth Toolkit- Full Circle Fund provided a package of recommendations that offer ZHP a path for reaching its target audience effectively and efficiently. This included a list of organizations whose constituents share similar profiles to ZHP’s, cost comparisons to similar programs, and social media and awareness-building options.

  • Increased Partnership Building Capacity- The Full Circle Fund team created best practice guidelines for approaching local organizations to explore potential partnership opportunities. This guide included a menu of partnership models, up-front scoping considerations, strategic questions to ask, and supporting materials to develop and provide to potential partners.



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