KIP Awards

The KIP (Keeping It Personal) Awards for the best in personalization were created by ICCFA's Personalization Committee to recognize outstanding examples of personalization of services or products in the death care profession. Categories are:

  • Most Personalized Service or Memorial: An outstanding example of a personalized funeral for a particular individual, or a very personalized memorial. Explain how your staff provided a particular family with a funeral service or memorialization that really told the story of their loved one’s life. >> Click here to download the 2016 Personalized Service entry form

  • Best Practice/Personal Touch: A "best practice." Something that you do for every family, or every family in a certain situation (examples: when the deceased is a veteran, or a baby). Note: An event such as a Christmas program is NOT a best practice, it’s an event. >> Click here to download the 2016 Best Practice/Personal Touch entry form

  • Event: For the most personal and creative workshop, seminar or holiday event sponsored by your cemetery or funeral home. The event must include the participation of your clients and/or the general public. Such events may include, but aren’t limited to, themes that are educational, commemorative, charitable, celebratory, financial or psychological in nature. >> Click here to download the 2016 Event entry form

  • Innovative Personalized Product (suppliers-only category): Product that memorializes in a personal and meaningful way. The product may be physical or virtual and may include, but is not limited to, memorials, monuments, urns, art, printed material and web-based tributes. >> Click here to download the 2016 Innovative Product entry form

  • Most Personalized Pet Service or Memorial: An outstanding example of a personalized funeral for a particular pet, or a very personalized memorial. Explain how your staff provided a particular family with a pet memorialization or tribute service that really told the story of their beloved pet’s life.  >> Click here to download the 2016 Personalized Pet Service entry form

The deadline for the 2016 KIP Awards was December 19, 2016.


2016 KIP Award Winners

This year’s contest attracted 55 entries from the United States, Canada and Ireland. Communications and marketing professionals from outside the cemetery and funeral service profession performed the judging. ICCFA congratulates the winners and all who entered the 2016 KIP Awards.

The winners are as follows:


First Place and Grand Prize Winner
Manasota Memorial Park and Funeral Home: "Live, Laugh, Love... and Don't Panic" Memorial for Patricia • Bradenton, Florida

Unlike any service the Manasota Memorial Park and Funeral Home has ever done, the “Live, Laugh, Love...Don’t Panic” service was a beach oasis for the family remembering their loved one, Patricia. Over 250 guests were greeted with Hawaiian leis as they entered the funeral home. 2,000 pounds of sand was used as decoration for this service as guests could play games, lounge on patio furniture and partake in the photo booth while listening to their loved one’s favorite music. Over 150 biodegradable balloons were released in the honor of Patricia.

Honorable Mention
Evergreen Washelli: Remembering Chase • Seattle, Washington

When Chase, a creative, free-spirited young man unexpectedly passed away, Evergreen crafted a memorial to highlight parts of Chase’s life that truly made him unique. Evergreen set enlarged photos of Chase on easels as works of art around the service with Chase’s favorite foods and desserts being served. The programs for the memorial were customized trifolds, something Evergreen has never done before. Inside the program was a “set list” for the order of service and a poem that Chase wrote. The memorial included a microphone for opening sharing as well as a live band. As keepsakes for family and friends, they created a custom concert badge on a lanyard with a collage of Chase’s interests and a poem. A DVD of Chase’s life played during the memorial, while family and friends could write their signatures on a large board.


First Place
Clock Funeral Home: Infant Loss Program • Muskegon, Michigan

The North Ottawa Community Hospital partnered with the Clock Funeral Home to make an infant loss program that had a formal protocol to help couples/families with sudden loss of their infants. Clock Funeral Home created a program that included having a female arranger/director with the family, making arrangements at the family’s home instead of the funeral home as well as providing a script for the hospital’s staff training on how to counsel the family.


First Place
Sunset Memorial Park/French Funerals-Cremations: Green Army Man-themed Memorial Day Celebration • Albuquerque, New Mexico

To educate and inform their population on the meaning and importance of Memorial Day, Sunset Memorial Park set out the entire month of May 2016 to engage and interact with the public throughout the city. Interactions included a gigantic 3D billboard, groups of professional actors and finally, a full-size field kitchen - all green army men-themed. Actors stood on what looked like plastic stands and were completely still. On Memorial Day itself, the green army men acted out on the field kitchen, peeling potatoes and washing dishes. The actors wore microphones and told stories about New Mexico veterans who are buried at Sunset Memorial Park.

Honorable Mention
White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery: Patriots Race • Troy, Michigan

As being known for their on-site events to honor U.S. Veterans, White Chapel hosted their inaugural patriot-themed 5K race, a 1 mile run/walk and the unveiling of the War on Terror Memorial – the 15th anniversary of 9/11. White Chapel conducted research and established communication strategies and tactics to be able to pull off this event successfully. Over 350 people participated in this event. The runners and walkers could also receive a massage from a local massage company after the race. White Chapel set up food tents and eating areas, receiving assistance from local restaurants. A children’s activities area was set up where they could write thank you notes to those serving overseas, play games and receive face painting.


First Place
PlotBox: PlotBox multi-sided platform • Portglenone, Antrim

PlotBox is a multi-sided platform which allows all records for a deceased person to be in one place, linking to the accurate location of their memorial. Cemeteries and crematories are able to use this platform to manage daily operations online and in real-time. The other side of the platform can be used for families and members of the public in search of records and maps, showing their loved one’s memorial and virtually visiting the grave.

Honorable Mention Timeline of a Lifetime • Virginville, Pennsylvania’s Timeline of a Lifetime is a collaborative digital platform that allows friends and family to submit memories, photos, videos and other content through one simple form that automatically builds this content into a timeline of their loved one’s life. The platform combines the ease of social media interaction with the need to tell the larger story of who they were, are and what defined them. The Timeline page will also provide a satellite image and GPS navigation to the location of that loved one. While cemeteries and funeral homes pay for this service, it is provided as a free service to the families.


First Place
Memorial Pet Services, Inc.: K-9 Officer Hardy's Memorial • Middleton, Wisconsin

When Hardy, the first K-9 officer of the Janesville Police Department suddenly passed away, Memorial Pet Services, Inc. created an unforgettable service for Hardy. A motorcade from the Janesville Police Department was joined by fellow officers, firefighters, emergency crews and the fellow community members as they made their way to to the Memorial Pet Services, Inc. There, a private viewing room was available to remember Hardy. The American flag that draped over Hardy’s casket was given to the Hardy’s partner Officer Mahaffey. A quilt was presented by Memorial Pet Services, Inc. to Officer Mahaffey of his K-9 partner’s picture and name. In addition, clay paw prints were made and given to the department. Each of the Mahaffey children received a clay paw print as well to have as keepsakes.

Honorable Mention
Paws To Angels Pet Loss Center & Services: Remembering Gracie • Omaha, Nebraska

Paws To Angels held a memorial for the family of Gracie, a small Papillon who was attacked by coyotes. The pet loss center was able to put Gracie in a casket for viewing before being cremated. The staff helped the family pick out an urn and an inscription to put on the urn that best represented Gracie’s life and personality. Paws To Angels staff member Cherie created a shadow box as a gift for the family. The box held Gracie’s collar, paw and nose print, and a lock of fur from her tail. The family, along with their other dog, Chi Chi, were able to say their goodbyes to Gracie.

Past winners: