2017 Darcie Sims Compassionate Friends Scholarship

You may be the next recipient of our scholarship to this years Conference.

The Tony Brown Foundation, LLC is pleased to announce that they will be sending one grieving parent to The Compassionate Friends/USA 40th National Conference, on July 28-30th.”Rays of Sunshine, Oceans of Hope . is this years theme for this event being held at the Hilton Bonnett Creek Resort in beautiful Orlando, Florida! The 2017 Conference will be  full of hope, resources, friendship, understanding, compassion and so much more.  To learn more about this year’s conference, visit The Compassionate Friends website or follow us on Facebook.

The deadline for applications is April 23rd and the recipient will be announced April 30th.

PLEASE be sure to read ALL the rules and regulations regarding this gift.

If you would like to be considered for the scholarship, please read the rules and guidelines below.  By submitting an essay, you agree to the terms and conditions of this scholarship!

I boarded a plane headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It was a place I had longed to go to from years of Listening to A Prairie Home Companion.  This, however, was not that trip.  I was headed to a “grief conference”.  Never would I have ever imagined that my life would bring me there.  Oddly, I was as nervous as I was excited.  I was alone, and knew of no one attending, but felt this was somewhere I needed to be.  To see that I was not alone.  That there were others thinking and feeling like I was. That I was indeed “normal” in my grief.  This trip changed my life.  I met people who understood.  I met others who were there, not to attend any of the 80 plus workshops, but rather to share their child with those they met. A vacation with their child is how they explained it to me! I met inspiring speakers and workshop presenters, I cried and stumbled through the first day, I was comforted by strangers, and met friends who have become my chosen family in grief!

In 2012, I had the privilege of meeting Darcie Sims at the Costa Mesa Conference!  That was an event that turned my grief journey into one of healing and helping.  I had the opportunity to be mentored and inspired by one of the most beautiful, knowledgeable minds on grief.  I attended Darcie’s Grief Service Provider Program and shared some wonderful moments on the set of Open To Hope TV with her and other amazing people.  Darcie also helped me with the first Life After Loss Symposium, gently guiding and directing  me through the process while also attending, presenting and keynoting, providing those in attendance an experience they will never forget.  Darcie inspired and encouraged me to grow, learn, share and always strive to reach my dreams.  I now dedicate this scholarship to her beautiful memory!

You may read the article  I wrote after attending the conference in 2011 by clicking here or you may view the slide show from the 2012 conference by clicking here.

PLEASE be sure to read ALL the rules and regulations regarding this gift.

Rules, Regulations and Legal:

The Tony Brown Foundation, LLC (to be known hereinafter as TBF) is granting a wish to ONE Continental USA Member of  The Compassionate Friends.  If your wish is to attend The National Conference this year in Dallas, then The Tony Brown Foundation wants to help.

**What TBF will cover:

  1. TBF will cover the cost for the conference fee and meals EXCLUDING and any/all cost incurred outside of the paid portion of the conference.
  2. TBF will pay for the hotel room for Thursday, July 27th, Friday, July 28th, and Saturday, July 29th with check out on Sunday July 30, 2017.  You will have the option of paying for extra nights on your own.
  3. YOU are responsible for getting yourself to and from the destination.
  4. YOU will be responsible for any cancellation, change or other fees not covered by TBF.


The Tony Brown Foundation requires the candidate to:

  • Be a member of a Continental USA, Compassionate Friends Chapter
  • Be a FIRST TIME conference goer
  • Write a short essay to be read by a panel explaining why you feel the conference would benefit you, a brief description of your journey that has led you here and how you will use what you learn to help others.
  • Be able to provide a letter of recommendation from your chapter leader
  • Must attend AT LEAST one workshop per day, the candle lighting, dinner,  AND opening and closing ceremonies.
  • Be willing to share their experience with a short story or article about how the conference helped you and be willing to pay it forward in some small way.


  1. Following the requirements above, send your letter of recommendation and essay to:

The Tony Brown Foundation, LLC

835 Route 111
Monroe, CT 06468

Attn: TCF National Conference

Or email to:  anne@thetonybrownfoundation.org with subject line TCF conf 2017

In consideration of being accepted, I hereby affirm, acknowledge and agree to the following: 

    • That, I assume all responsibility for any and all damages to, or theft of, my personal property or any bodily injury (including death) that may occur to me.
    • I assume responsibility for property damage and bodily injury (including death) that I may cause to others, in each case arising or resulting from, incidental to, or as a consequence of, my participation.
    • TBF will NOT be held responsible for missed flights, cancelled flights, delayed flights or ANY problems or fees that arise due to conditions beyond the control of The Tony Brown Foundation including but not limited to:
      • Illness and/or  emergency medical treatment/transportation / evacuation
      • The airline or hotel goes out of business.
      • Bad weather other natural and unnatural acts out of human control.
      • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage.
      • Your trip is delayed, cancelled or interrupted due to an unexpected strike, terrorist attack, war, or other act of violence expected or unexpected.
      • A plane crash, fire or other destructive acts to any facility or transportation you may be part of.
      • Any unlawful acts, committed by the you or towards you, a family member, or a companion.
      • Alcohol or substance abuse, or related illnesses.
      • Any unexpected or unforeseeable events legal or illegal by you or anyone else.
      • Any expenses incurred  for any reason outside of what is covered by TBF.
    • This is non transferable or eligible for resale.
    • Any photos, publicity or images electronically or otherwise may be used at the discretion of TBF.
    • Forms must be received by midnight, April 23, 2017.
    • That I grant the permission for use of my name and/or picture in any broadcast, photograph, video, or other account TBF sees fit to use.
    • Darcie’s daughter, Allie Franklin, Board members, Chapter leaders and/or foundation members will choose the recipient based on information provided to us.
    • The recipient will be notified by April 30, 2017.

I look forward to meeting you at the conference and sharing in the healing path this will lead you down.

Anne Castaldo ~

Tony’s Mom and Darcie’s Friend ♥



  1. Barbara Beck says:

    I have had to bury my only daughter Teresa. She was my co-worker in my hair salon, bowled on my team, and my friend. I took her to Dr. appointment in KC. for her daughter who had 2 heart surgerys before she died.I fell sad that she was not here to raise her 5 and 7 year old children. So missed.
    My grandson Austin died after turning 16 and died 10 days later. It is hard to watch my son go through what I have went through and I wonder what Austin would be doing now. My son misses him a lot.
    I hope to not have to bury another child before I go.
    At one of our conferences, I was blessed to share a lunch with Darci, and went to several of her meetings at the funeral home in KC. She was such a joy to listen to and share time with her.You will cry and laugh.

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