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Apply for an Employee Emergency CARE Fund Grant

red heart with text: "Cornell Employee Emergency CARE Fund"

Help us to help Cornell employees in need.

What To Know

About the CARE Fund

The Employee Emergency CARE Fund offers financial assistance to faculty and staff who have experienced a non-recurring sudden or emergency-related financial hardship due to an unforeseen or unavoidable event. It is funded almost entirely thanks to the generous donations of faculty and staff.

Apply for a CARE Fund Grant

CARE Fund Grant Application

What To Expect

  1. A committee will review the application within two days of receipt and decide if it meets the criteria.
  2. The decision will be communicated to the applicant by the committee chair.
  3. If approved, payments to applicants will be arranged through your local payroll office. They are treated as taxable income.


Eligibility Guidelines

  • Cornell employees who hold a benefits-eligible full or part-time position (including benefits-eligible post-doctoral associates and employees on short-term disability); and
  • Experienced a qualified emergency. An emergency is an event of such magnitude as to dislocate people, cause significant damage or destroy homes, or otherwise cause an extraordinary, non-recurring personal catastrophe or crisis, and result in a major financial burden. See examples of qualifying and non-qualifying emergencies under "Definitions" below.
  • The Employee Emergency CARE Fund is completely supported by donations from employees and is limited. Please know the application committee tries to fund as many applications as possible, but there may be applications that are not funded.


  • Emergency:  The Employee Emergency CARE Fund uses the following definition of "emergency" in determining its funding program: An unforeseen combination of circumstances causing a major financial burden, resulting in an urgent need for assistance or relief. 
  • Major Financial Burden:  A sudden, unanticipated financial burden that cannot be paid for without a detrimental impact on the person’s current or available resources. 

Examples of qualifying events:

  • Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, winter storms, tornadoes, and earthquakes. 
  • Residential fires, building collapses, or floods.
  • Dislocation due to an unhealthy or unsafe living environment.  
  • One-time medical emergency or personal injury expenses that are not covered by insurance for the employee or an immediate family member. An immediate family member is a dependent, spouse/domestic partner, or other family members (regardless of biological connection) for whom the employee provides at least half of the financial support.  
  • Domestic abuse or family crisis.
  • Homelessness/inability to meet basic needs for food/shelter due to exceptional unforeseen circumstances.  
  • Loss of income when a financially contributing household member (not employed by Cornell) has died or due to a new disability.   

Non-qualified events

  • Loss of employment (unless as a result of sudden disability or death in the family).
  • Ongoing or increased costs of household bills (such as utilities, credit cards, mortgage, taxes, vehicle bills, and veterinary bills).
  • A situation that does not threaten the faculty or staff member’s ability to meet basic living expenses.
  • An event that is the result of an action taken by the staff or faculty member.
  • Bills related to an ongoing medical condition.
  • Past due bills not related to the emergency such as rent, heat, and vehicle payments.

Additional Notes

  • The committee chair has access to the complete application, however, the applicant’s identifying information is removed before it is sent to the full committee. All applications are kept confidential.
  • An FSAP counselor will be consulted to provide additional information or resources if appropriate. The applicant will be given information about contacting FSAP as well.
  • Applicants may re-apply at any time; however, preference will be given to first-time applicants with regard to the availability of funding.
  • Financial assistance provided through the Employee Emergency CARE Fund is treated as taxable income subject to FICA and Federal Withholding.
  • The Application Review Committee is a standing committee appointed by Human Resources.  It consists of Cornell community members as well as representatives from HR, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, and Workforce Policy & Labor Relations.

Additional Resources

Domestic Violence Resources: Information on workplace accommodations and other campus and community resources.

Elder and Adult Care: Resources or caregivers, including workshops, support groups, networking, and more.

Faculty Staff Assistance Program: Free, confidential guidance and support to benefits-eligible employees and their partners to address issues that may be affecting their personal lives and/or job satisfaction or performance.

Care@Work:  Cornell provides free membership to benefits-eligible faculty, staff, retirees, postdoc associates, and graduate students to find and arrange caregiving services such as babysitting, elder companionship, transportation, pet sitting, errands, house sitting, yard care, etc.

Financial Assistance: Grant programs and other financial resources available to Cornell employees.

Financial ToolsHelp with money management, debt management, and financial planning.

Navigating Health ChallengesResources and guidance for dealing with crises such as cancer, mental health, substance abuse, and caregiving.

Parenting: Support and resources for pregnancy, adoption, childcare, parental leave, networking, financial assistance, and more.

Self Care: Support for your personal wellbeing