The John and Wauna Harman Foundation is a small, private family foundation focused on improving end-of-life care in the U.S.
The Foundation was created in 1999 in honor of John “Jack” and Wauna Harman. Jack and Wauna started from humble beginnings and quietly amassed a sizeable estate in apple orchards, KFC franchises, and other business enterprises in Yakima, Washington. The Foundation trustees are committed to stewarding Jack and Wauna’s legacy in a way that honors their compassion and down-to-earth values.
Since its beginning, the Foundation has sought to make a meaningful social contribution by supporting organizations focused on improving health and quality of life, particularly for elders.
Our current mission is to encourage Americans to have meaningful conversations about their end-of-life care wishes with the important people in their lives before serious illness occurs, thereby improving quality of life as death is near. We do this by supporting organizations and projects that help Americans engage in talking about death, shifting from silence to sharing what’s most important to them at the end of life.
As patients, family members, and medical professionals, we can get so caught up in our medical system’s ability to cure that we sometimes forget that death is inevitable. This often results in ineffective treatment at the end of life that is inconsistent with people’s values and wishes. Additionally, this misalignment of values and treatment often puts tremendous strain on families as well as contributing to spiraling healthcare costs.
Too many people are dying in ways they wouldn’t choose. Seventy percent of Americans would prefer to die at home, yet 70% die in hospitals and institutions, often in the intensive care unit – exactly where they didn’t want to die.
A 2013 study by the Conversation Project revealed that 90% of Americans say it is important to talk with their loved ones about their end-of-life care wishes. Yet, the same study found that fewer than 30% of people have actually done so.
We're having these conversations. We hope you will, too.