The National Home Funeral Alliance is a 501(C)3 educational nonprofit that runs on volunteer fuel. Board work takes time and energy, inspiration and follow-through, but those who answer the call ensure that the organization doesn’t just continue to exist, but that it thrives. Can you see yourself stretching just a bit to join this part of the effort to spread the word about home funerals? Contact the President for information about throwing your hat into the ring when board seats are filled annually. Bring your mad skills!
ISABEL KNIGHT | PRESIDENT
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (she/her) firstname.lastname@example.org Isabel is a human-centered designer in the deathcare space. She is also an INELDA-trained death doula, a home funeral guide, and a member of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Pennsylvania. She helps doulas and death-positive businesses create a more inclusive and accessible experience for their clients through human-centered design workshops and also creates online courses and offers freelance graphic design work for death-positive businesses and organizations. Her primary goal is to make death a more equitable experience for all, and one day hopes to open a real-life "death cafe" and death education space in Philadelphia! You can find her on Instagram at @thedeathdesigner.
Growing up in a family involved with end-of-life care, Winx Vestrit (she/they) has always had a strong calling to community deathcare and service. In 2020, they trained as an end-of-life doula, specializing in LGBTQIA2S+ deathcare, pet deathcare, eco-friendly body disposition options, home funerals, and end-of-life planning. Paired with their work in social media, web programming, and customer success, Winx works to educate and support their community in exploring ways to inhabit the mysterious, beautiful, difficult, and transformative spaces around death.
MARILYNN MANZUTTO | SECRETARY
Denver, Colorado (she/her) email@example.com Marilynn worked as death investigator in a coroner’s office for more than a decade, and in that role, she created space for the living to witness their experiences while normalizing death. With a background rooted in practical after-death care and a desire to relate with those in her community in a different way, she transitioned and is now an End-of-Life Doula with focus as a Death Educator, Home Funeral Guide, and Grief Recovery Specialist. Marilynn is also a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (Region VIII) and is Secretary for the Funeral Consumer Society of Colorado. In both her professional and personal relationships, she seeks to empower individuals to be their most authentic self by removing barriers and inspiring opportunities to discover personal truth and expression.
Kaleigh entered the deathcare space with a background in the military and mental health. While she continues to pursue licensing as a mental health therapist, she also works at a green funeral home in Boulder, CO, furthering projects to serve companion animals at end of life with environmentally-friendly methods of disposition. Kaleigh is also a trained end-of-life doula and a teacher/practitioner of yoga, meditation, and Reiki. She cares deeply about holistic, environmentally-centered care for all beings at every stage of life.
Angela lives in St. Paul, MN, has been a MN-licensed mortician for over 15 years, and taught in the Program of Mortuary Science at UMN for 10 years. She is also a trained end-of-life doula, a certified celebrant, a hospice volunteer, and home funeral guide. Angela works to educate the public about end-of-life choices and is working to make land conservation natural burial a reality in MN. She is the founder of Inspired Journeys LLC, the Midwest’s first woman-owned and family-centered natural deathcare provider. She is excited to contribute her skills to the NHFA to further its mission to increase awareness and access to home funeral options.
Lashanna is, at her core, a helper; a doula and massage therapist who merges formal education, ancestral knowledge, life experience, and all 6 senses to guide her care. She serves individuals, families, intentional communities, and small businesses with end of life education and planning, body care education, home wake facilitation and creating legacy pieces. She has a never diminishing desire to grow community care through education and collaboration; to fully support autonomy and choice through abortion, death and dying. "If energy is neither created or destroyed, I'm sure we've met sometime before."
Commerce City, Colorado (she/her) firstname.lastname@example.org Tawnya values community, advocacy, and education. With a professional background rooted in human services, she’s worked with at-risk youth, adults with developmental disabilities, as a family advocate, and as a tobacco cessation counselor specializing in pregnancy and post-partum cessation. She entered the death sphere in 2017 after realizing how truly at home she was with death and dying, as well as having been wholly disappointed in the ways she experienced personal deaths in her life. She sought training as an End-of-Life Doula, Life-Cycle Celebrant specializing in funerals, and most near and dear to her heart, within the realm of community death care/home funerals. She’s big on choice, but as the saying goes, “a choice isn’t a choice if there isn’t more than one option.” In order for folks to make informed decisions, they need all the information. Tawnya strives to bolster the grassroots community death care movement. When educating her community about their rights she hears, “we wish we would have known” all too often. She hopes to hear, more and more going forward, “we’re so glad we knew.”
Michelle Acciavatti (she/her/they), MS, is a licensed mortician, end of life specialist and natural burial educator and cemeterian. She works with people preparing for the end of life, designing funeral services, caring for their own dead, and exploring natural burial options. Michelle seeks ways to positively integrate community death care and conventional funeral home offerings for people who want to participate in hands-on death care and natural burial. She offers death awareness and disposition education to individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to facilitate building community resources focused on end of life care and rituals.
Michelle has trained as a mortician, advance care planner, end of life doula, home funeral guide, natural burial advocate & educator, writer, neuroscientist, and ethicist. She is a founding member of The Collective for Radical Death Studies. She has practiced death work with people of all ages, including death during pregnancy. Her work has found her in setting as varied as Boston Children’s Hospital, community spaces, people’s own homes, and the funeral home. Michelle runs Ending Well Funeral Home and Vermont Natural Burial, where she strives to provide each person with services that fit their specific mourning needs.
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (she/they) email@example.com Leilani Maxera (she/they) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is a daughter of the Hawaiian diaspora raised in Martinez, California, by the Carquinez Strait and in the shadow of Mount Diablo. She grew up in the homeland of the Karkin and Muwekma Ohlone Tribes and was called home to Hawai’i in her early 30s. She currently lives in Mānoa Valley by the Mānoa stream, at the base of Pu’upia of the Koʻolau Range. Leilani is a therapist with her own private practice, Kaipuokaualoku Therapy + Death Work + Consulting (kaipuokaualoku.com). Leilani is a death educator and home funeral advocate, and the founder of Death Café Honolulu. Leilani has a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in Aging from the University of California – Berkeley and a Master of Social Work degree from Hawaiʻi Pacific University, where she wrote her thesis on home funerals and their effects on grief. She worked and volunteered in harm reduction for 14 years, including managing a syringe exchange and an overdose prevention program where she conducted training and education with other social service organizations to teach about overdose prevention and response and to reduce stigma around drug use.
MELANIE MONTECLARO PACE
Charlottesville, Virginia (she) firstname.lastname@example.org Mel is a humanist chaplain with a special interest in companion animal deathcare. An MSW, she has worked with sexual and gender minority youth, survivors of trauma, and people experiencing homelessness. Mel helps run our social media, produce our newsletter, and connect folks to home funeral education and resources.
Past NHFA Boards
2015 Board (l-r) Seated Lee Webster, Sarah Crews, Peg Lorenz, Sara Williams, Kateyanne Unullisi Standing Donna Belk, Lynn Barnett, Kristine Bentz, Zalene Corey, Anne Murphy Board Retreat, Peru, VT, 2014
2013 Board (l-r) Peg Lorenz, Kristine Bentz, Susan Oppie, Sarah Crews, Elizabeth Knox, Lynn Barnett, Lee Webster, Zalene Corey, Raleigh, NC
2012 Board (l-r) Pat Hogan, Peg Lorenz, Merilynne Rush, Anne O'Connor, Char Barrett, Jerrigrace Lyons, Donna Belk, Heather Massey, Olivia Bareham, Cassandra Yonder, Elizabeth Knox, Lee Webster, Chicago, IL
The NHFA is a nonprofit 501c3 organization committed to supporting home funeral education. The NHFA does not offer certification opportunities. Membership in the NHFA and participation in its activities does not constitute endorsement of any kind.