What is Project Compassion's mission?
Project Compassion Soldier Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit humanitarian organization, provides one original, gallery-quality 16"x20" oil portrait of American military and law enforcement casualties who have died in active service since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Our sole mission is healing their loved ones through our gift of art.
How many people are in the Project Compassion organization?
As of May 15, 2008, Project Compassion includes a 3-person board of directors including founding artist Kaziah Hancock, five volunteer artists, and one part-time administrative staffer.
When and how was Project Compassion started?
Project Compassion was founded in 2003 by Kaziah Hancock, a professional Utah artist and goat rancher. She was moved to create a portrait of a fallen Utah soldier for his family, after hearing his story on local radio, as a personal gift of appreciation for their sacrifice. Kaziah was encouraged by friends to continue to create these offerings for the families of other military casualties, and resolved to do so for as long as her time and financial resources would permit. She created 23 additional portraits for other Americans before she incorporated Project Compassion Soldier Fund, Inc. as a certified nonprofit organization in September, 2004. A major benefactor stepped up to cover the cost of artist supplies shortly thereafter, enabling the natural next steps of building Project Compassion to where it is today.
Where is Project Compassion headquartered?
Project Compassion is headquartered in Utah. Our five individual artists create and ship hero portraits from their individual studios, wherever they live.
Who is eligible for a free Project Compassion hero portrait?
The mother, father or spouse of any American military or law enforcement casualty who has died in active service since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 is eligible for a free Project Compassion portrait. Project Compassion does not judge the location or circumstances of death within this eligibility.

Related Question: What if my hero is not eligible for a free portrait?

Who are your Project Compassion artists?
They are renowned professional masters of the traditional form of portrait in oils on canvas, apropos our heirloom quality works of art, residing and working in several different states. All of them have professional and personal lives outside of Project Compassion, and their individual working styles and time demands are respected as fully as possible within our organization. All of them have applied to Project Compassion for the privilege of this service after seeing a news story or learning about the organization through word of mouth, and having met our very rigorous standards of consistent quality and output over a 3- to 6-month trial period to meet the high volume of requests in a timely manner. Completed hero paintings by all of our artists, with attribution, may be viewed on the Project Compassion Online Gallery on our website.
Can I request a specific artist for my portrait?
No, we do not accept requests for any specific Project Compassion artist to create a specific portrait. We have received such special requests for every one of our artists, but cannot overburden one over another. All Project Compassion artists are gallery represented, published and/or awardwinning professionals, and recipients of any Project Compassion hero painting are the owners of a work of fine art worth $3,000 to $10,000 on delivery, which as an heirloom quality masterpiece will only increase in value with time.
What if there is more than one designated next of kin for a fallen hero?
We will create additional hero portraits for qualified designated next of kin, if those next of kin submit a new portrait request according to our requirements. If there is uncertainty within a family as to who is actually the designated primary next of kin, it is up to the family to determine who will receive the portrait. Project Compassion does not get involved in family disputes on this matter. We do not create multiple paintings for any one person, nor do we produce copies, art prints or other reproductions of Project Compassion portraits. Such reproductions or copies are solely the responsibility of individual recipients of our hero paintings.
Will Project Compassion replace a lost or damaged portrait, once delivered?
We cannot replace lost or damaged portraits, once delivered.
Do you ever consider hero portraits for casualties of other wars?
With all our hearts, we wish Project Compassion were funded and staffed to enable us to do this. It is a serious goal toward which we are working.

Related Question: What if my hero is not eligible for a free portrait?

What are the Project Compassion new portrait request requirements?
Eligible next of kin must complete the Project Request Form they have received through our Army mailings, from their casualty assistance officers, or downloaded from the Project Compassion website, and attach this to the basic essential material we require for new portrait requests. In addition to the Portrait Request Form, we require a minimum of 3 high-quality color photo prints of the fallen service member (larger size better, 8x10 or 5x7 ideal). We invite, but do not require, a note or letter telling us about the casualty which has the benefit of wonderfully informing our artists about the person being painted-which, as their families almost always tell us, remarkably finds its way into the finished portrait for the most personal rendering possible. Project Compassion returns all photos and other material to the recipients with the completed portrait.
Can I submit my new portrait request electronically?
No. Project Compassion does not accept digital or electronic submissions such as e-mail with attachments, website URLs of family memorial websites or media articles, etc. Most of our artists do not have the computer applications to work with digital submissions. Several do not use e-mail, and Kaziah Hancock does not even own a computer.
How long will it take before I receive my portrait, once I have submitted my materials?
Depending on which artist receives your assignment and the current backlog of requests awaiting painting, you will receive your portrait, framed and ready to hang, in approximately 4 months.
How many portraits have you shipped to families so far?
As of November 1, 2010, we have shipped over 2550 hero paintings. The current total can be derived from the number of portraits in the gallery. The actual number is somewhat higher, as there have been a few instances where next of kin requested that their portrait images not be publicly posted. The gallery is updated monthly with newly completed images.
Does Project Compassion verify successful receipt of my request materials?
We do not have the time or resources to log such deliveries as they arrive in our office. For this reason, we ask that next of kin send their request material to Project Compassion via certified or registered U.S. Mail, FedEx, UPS or other service from which they will be able to keep and reference a receipt and tracking number, if needed.
What if my hero is not eligible for a free portrait?
Project Compassion will paint portraits of those not eligible for a free hero portrait. Unfortunately, Project Compassion is not fully funded for these portraits and as such we will request the following fees to cover our costs:
  • $300 - For any soldier, law enforcement or emergency response personnel that died prior to 9/11/2001.
  • $1000 - For any other commissioned paintings.
If you have any questions about eligiblity please contact Project Compassion.

Related Question: Who is eligible for a free Project Compassion hero portrait?

Can I check the status of my portrait in progress?
Please contact Kenna at projectcompassion@manti.com or send mail to:

P.O. Box 153
Manti, UT 84642

Given the typical backlog of portrait requests awaiting completion at any given time, and limited staff for such followup, please be patient in awaiting a response.
What is your relationship with the United States Department of Defense?
The Department of Defense and United States armed services are in official partnership with Project Compassion, but Project Compassion receives no funding from them. Project Compassion, as any humanitarian organization seeking to work with the military or military survivors, was required to submit documentation to the Department of Defense and United States Army certifying our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status by both the IRS and State of Utah (state where the organization was founded and incorporated), a detailed summary of our mission, and other information. We were subsequently approved by the Department of Defense to be able to contact the armed services and military next of kin with their blessing. This has been the single most important key to empowering Project Compassion to reach families of our military fallen as quickly and efficiently as possible-with the exception of the Army, all of the armed services include our information with casualty papers at time of a service member's death, so that their families know about us and our gift of appreciation immediately. In the case of the Army, which does not provide that information to the families for us, Project Compassion sends, at our own expense, an authorized monthly mailing from a list of next of kin sent to us by the Army. Project Compassion has been honored to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff, generals, officers of all rank, casualty and mortuary officers and chaplains, military cadets, civilians employed by the armed services, national veterans organizations, and members of Congress on our organization and its powerful healing effect on American families. All of these presentations have been by invitation.
Is there a time limit for requesting my portrait?
There is no date of expiration or statute of limitations on when next of kin can request a Project Compassion hero painting.
Are you a permanent program? Will Project Compassion disappear if the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars end?
Project Compassion will be here, serving the families of American military and law enforcement casualties as long as there are Americans in uniform in active service. We're working, and planning, on being here forever.
Who are your benefactors and sponsors?
Project Compassion has been blessed by the generosity of private benefactors, corporate sponsors for 100% in-kind donation of goods and services, and several visionary foundations to date. A partial list of these wonderful friends may be found on the sponsors page of the Project Compassion website, and also include individual grateful Americans-every one of whom is our partner in compassion through their support.
Do you have any political or religious affiliations?
Project Compassion is not affiliated with any political party, religion, or other formal organization. We're proud of the leadership and support of members from both houses and parties of the United States Congress, at state and local levels, service and veterans organizations, neighborhood groups, and beautiful individuals from America and, increasingly, beyond our borders. Anyone with a caring heart is a friend of Project Compassion.
Are you looking for new artists?
Project Compassion is not currently seeking additional artists. If this changes we will post an announcement to our main page. However, if you are interested in becomming a Project Compassion artist, you must mail all of the following:
  1. 8 to 10 high quality color samples of portrait work in oil on canvas, showing professional level skill in both figure and background composition.
  2. A one-page cover letter stating the artist's reasons for wanting to become a Project Compassion artist.
  3. List of shows, publications, awards, commissions and/or education relevant to Project Compassion qualification.
  4. Contact information (full name, e-mail, phone, mailing address and web-site).
Inquiries and submissions should be addressed to (via registered, certified mail):

Project Compassion
Attention: New Artist Submission
P.O. Box 3505 S 2480 W
Manti, UT 84642-0004

Inquiries submitted without all of the above requirements will not be accepted. We will not accept e-mail submissions.
Have any artists left Project Compassion after being accepted?
Yes, we have released several artists from Project Compassion because their work quickly proved consistently unacceptable for our standard or took too long to complete. No artist has ever resigned from Project Compassion. Our artists consider this work a privilege and honor, as do all of us in the organization.
Why are almost all new artist applications declined by Project Compassion?
1) The artist has not done his or her homework on what we require and submits samples of work in other mediums, too stylized or abstract, or not enough samples; 2) The artist is hoping we will make an exception, in their case, to do just one work of art "for Project Compassion," to work on their own schedule without our close management, or relax our requirements because they are affiliated with the military in some way, disabled, retired, an art student, and so on. 3) The artist's motivations are wrong for Project Compassion. Everyone in Project Compassion is deeply grateful for any honors, recognition, media and appreciation we receive, but we have never campaigned for such attention. Individual self-promotion is absolutely contrary to the mission of Project Compassion. For example, one artist said, "Wow, I wish I had thought of this-I'd be nationally famous now, too!" This artist never made it past that first phone interview with Project Compassion.
Do Project Compassion artists consider commissioned works?
Yes, we welcome inquiries regarding commissions for all Project Compassion artists. All commission and other inquiries to our artists are directed through the Project Compassion business office to protect our artists' privacy and time.
Do you offer hero paintings for auction, to raise funds for other organizations?
No, Project Compassion does not provide art for fundraising by other organizations. Occasionally, we will provide a Kaziah Hancock original painting at an honors event for private purchase or silent auction to raise funds for our own organization. Starting in June 2008, above and beyond her ongoing hero portrait service for Project Compassion, Kaziah will also be offering at least one original painting for sale on her personal website at http://www.kaziahthegoatwoman.com, with 100% of proceeds donated to Project Compassion.
Do you endorse or partner with similar organizations, whether military or humanitarian oriented?
We applaud any person or organization that is inspired to an act of generosity, period.

Project Compassion has a wonderful, mutually supportive relationship with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), an outstanding national support network for families of the fallen. TAPS does not do what we do, so our organizations are very harmonious. We have briefed together at military casualty seminars, and TAPS has graciously provided information about Project Compassion in its magazine and at its annual Memorial Day weekend conference.

We are also an approved humanitarian partner of America Supports You, a Department of Defense program that provides opportunities for citizens to show their support for the US Armed Forces. The program was launched in 2004 in an effort to highlight citizen support for our military men and women and communicate that support to the members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. America Supports You connects individuals, organizations and companies to hundreds of homefront groups offering a variety of support to the military community. The program also connects military service members and their families to homefront groups that provide assistance, and connects citizens and service members with hundreds organizations eager to help.

Many individuals and organizations have contacted Project Compassion about a possible formal association of some kind. Others have asked us what it took to get where we are today, beginning with one portrait for one family of one fallen American solider in 2003. We try to be as open and helpful as possible, but have preferred to remain an independent, tightly run organization to ensure that Project Compassion stays as personal, hands-on, and efficient with our resources as possible.

There have been a number of individuals-fortunately, only a few-who have dishonestly inferred an association with Project Compassion, or who have named their efforts similar to ours to attract media, money or other attention. The Department of Defense, and our media friends, have brought these misrepresentations to our attention as they have occurred.

To protect the integrity of, and to avoid false association with, any point of view contrary to our stated mission, Project Compassion does not encourage reciprocal Web links between our website and sites with whom we are not formally affiliated. We respectfully ask those interested in reciprocal Web links to contact us for proper permissions before doing so. It is considered not just discourteous, but in some cases legally questionable to insinuate an endorsement or affiliation in displaying a link to Project Compassion, its logo, images or any other copyrighted content, on a third party website without prior permission.

Project Compassion is not affiliated with the Arlington National Cemetery Women's Memorial exhibit several years ago, although we provided five miniature hero paintings of specific casualties as a special favor to the organizers, to help complete their collection for the exhibit.

As a loved one of a fallen American military service or law enforcement member, how can I know I'm being contacted by "the actual" Project Compassion regarding a hero painting?
Here's how you can be absolutely sure: 1) Official military channels. If your hero served in the Army, you will receive a mailing directly from Project Compassion. The information inside will tell you about us, and provides contact information for you to call or email us for assistance or questions. If your hero served in any of the other armed services (Air Force, Marines, Navy), your Casualty Assistance Representative will have provided you with our information at the time of the casualty. If you have not received our information, you can contact your Casualty Assistance Representative, or Project Compassion directly, for this information. 2) There is no other "Project Compassion Soldier Fund, Inc.," the full legal, registered name of our organization. You can contact the IRS, the Utah Department of Corporations or Employment Development Department, or other agencies for verification. 3) If any person or organization, by whatever name, offers any work of art that costs the recipient money, even a single penny, it is not Project Compassion. Project Compassion's gift is provided at no cost whatsoever to eligible next of kin.
I'm only one person, how can I help Project Compassion?
You're perfect for Project Compassion. Project Compassion is just that: one person making a true difference for one another. One person, and one generous act at a time to lift hearts from tragedy to healing.

First, by joining us in a spirit of "It's not about me," with kindness, compassion and generosity toward others, especially those who have chosen to wear the American uniform in military service and law enforcement, and their families. (And why not everyone else, as well?)

Second, by spreading the word about Project Compassion to everyone you can, whether friends and family, local media, professional associates, especially by remembering to include our website link on your emails: http://www.heropaintings.com. You can check with your employer to ask whether they provide matching funds for your donation to Project Compassion. If your company has a charitable foundation, you can personally bring Project Compassion to their attention for grant consideration. If you are a federal or military employee, you can donate to Project Compassion via automatic payroll deduction through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) at: http://www.opm.gov/cfc/. With everyone, we encourage you to share our website URL-especially the viewable downloads of selected major media stories about Project Compassion at: http://www.heropaintings.com/news_media.html and our Online Gallery of completed portraits to date.

Next, every generous dollar literally helps Project Compassion get one more hero painting into the arms of a soldier's loved ones. Project Compassion does not spend our precious funds on golf tournaments, black-tie galas, frivolous travel, or anything that doesn't directly pay for the material cost of creating and shipping our paintings and artist support. As our partner in compassion, you will personally help deliver another legacy masterpiece to our bereaved military families, regardless of what you can do. You will also help ensure that Project Compassion, as one of America's most respected humanitarian organizations, will be here for many years to come. Project Compassion is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and your gift is entirely tax-deductible.

And finally, although we are a very special humanitarian organization, we have very real, ongoing core business expenses such as printing, office supplies, telephone charges for calls throughout the U.S., and more-every one of which support the actual delivery of Project Compassion hero paintings. We gratefully welcome and are currently in need of sponsorships and in-kind gifts of material goods such as artist materials as yet unsponsored, office supplies, travel services and airline mileage, services such as Web hosting, updates and development, and anything else you think might help Project Compassion.

To learn more about how you can give to Project Compassion, whether through secure online donation, please click here.
I received a portrait, but it doesn't look right. What should I do?
Project Compassion desires for each portrait to be an honored work of art. Photography interpretation is difficult and can be different than intended. If your portrait doesn't appear as you had hoped, you may return the portrait (in the original box it arrived in) along with a detailed list of the changes/corrections desired to the artist who painted the portrait. Remember to remove the canvas from the frame. If the artist can clearly discern from your notes what is wrong it will be much easier to make a correction. Project Compassion asks that you pay for the return shipping although when the corrections are made we will cover the shipping to return it to you. This is a one-time opportunity. Project Compassion artists cannot be responsible for multiple changes.

©2003-2010 Project Compassion Soldier Fund, Inc. No part of this website or its contents may be reproduced without prior written permission. Major funding for Project Compassion has been provided by The James R. Greenbaum, Jr. Family Foundation and Disabled Veterans of America. Project Compassion is a privately-funded, politically unaffiliated 501(c)(3) nonprofit humanitarian organization founded in 2003, serving the loved ones of American military and law enforcement casualties in active service throughout the world since September 11, 2001. An official partner of the United States Department of Defense, Project Compassion's sole mission is healing families of our fallen through art.