Mission & Vision
People’s Memorial Association (PMA) is the trusted resource and thought-leader for funeral choice, education, and advocacy in Washington State. We envision a future where everyone has access to after-death arrangements that reflect their personal values and resources.
People's Memorial Association (PMA) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization EIN 68-0621888.
Respect: Serve the residents of Washington State with dignity and care. Honor the diversity of those we serve.
Compassion: Seek to understand the circumstances and needs of families at time of loss. Provide professional services that are appropriate, supportive, and caring.
Innovation: Affect positive change to benefit funeral consumers with accessible, efficient, and quality services.
Cooperation: Work together with consumers, industry, and government to strengthen the rights and expand the choices for end of life.
Advocacy: Support and promote legislation that protects the rights and needs of all funeral consumers at the state and federal levels.
Sustainability: Conserve resources and respect the environment to ensure affordability and long-term viability.
Ethics: Maintain the highest standards. Be democratic, transparent, and accountable in all aspects of our operations.
People’s Memorial Association would like to acknowledge the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Coast Salish, Duwamish, and Suquamish nations on which we work and live. Generations of volunteers and staff have worked to make dignified and compassionate deathcare accessible to all. Our work continues as we strive to be more equitable in our organization and in our community, and that starts with engaging with and acknowledging even the small ways that we have benefited from the painful heritage of colonization.
Founded in 1939, People's Memorial Association (PMA) serves its members and the general public throughout Washington. PMA was created in the height of the co-operative movement in the U.S. to establish an alternative to the high prices and predatory sales practices of the funeral industry. PMA founders set out to provide affordable funeral services that honored the deceased’s social and spiritual values.
In 1962, PMA and its affiliates nationwide established the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) to function as a unifying force at the national level. In 1984, the FCA got the Federal Trade Commission to adopt a set of funeral home pricing standards called The Funeral Rule. These revolutionary standards enabled consumers to obtain accurate price information from funeral homes. PMA's biennial Funeral Home Price Survey was a key component of this success. Now PMA and the FCA are working to bring the Funeral Rule to the 21st Century, by requiring funeral homes to post their pricing on their websites.
In 2007, the members of PMA voted to open a co-operative funeral home in Seattle called The Co-op Funeral Home of People's Memorial. Since then, PMA expanded its reach statewide by merging with its sister organizations, the Memorial Society of Central Washington and the Spokane Memorial Association.
Advocacy Wins in Washington State
- PMA and a team of death care providers worked together to pass SB 5001 Concerning Human Remains. This bill legalizes two additional disposition options, alkaline hydrolysis, or "aquamation", and natural organic reduction, or "recomposition" (2019).
- PMA worked side by side with the funeral industry to bring about passage of Designated Agent legislation, once again benefiting consumers (2011).
- PMA successfully advocated for the right of religious and cultural minorities to have up to 24 hours to perform religious or cultural rituals with an unembalmed, unrefrigerated body (2007).
- PMA succeeded in protecting the rights of families to care for their own dead (2005).
- PMA played a key role in changing Washington law to place the funeral industry under the state’s Consumer Protection Act (2002) and helped pass another law legalizing the scattering of ashes of the deceased.