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Employee Emergency CARE Fund

Employees Helping Employees

Funded entirely by donations from staff, faculty, and other supporters, the Employee Emergency CARE Fund offers grants of between $200-$2,000 to employees who have experienced a sudden financial hardship.

Video Transcript

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In 2019, I was planning on going out  

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for knee surgery. A week before 
that happened, my husband was hospitalized.  

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So within a week's time he was in the 
hospital, out of the hospital and then I  

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was back in for the knee surgery. My daughter had had an emergency surgery that same day.  

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My name is Tina Henry. I am an Accounts Rep in the Department of Computer Science. I had a  

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tear that really needed to be repaired. It was probably about at least six months in planning,  

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um... to when I decided to make the decision to have the surgery. A week before that happened  

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my husband was hospitalized. They had 
actually a blood clot in the left  

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part of his heart. They determined that he needed to have a defibrillator. The day I went in for my  

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surgery, my daughter had had an emergency surgery. At this point we're okay. We're doing good. But...

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obviously we didn't plan on two out of the three happening. It was a really hard decision. We had not  

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really gotten assistance for anything in 
the past. If I was to apply and got funds, 

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am I taking them away from somebody 
who needs them more than I need them.

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When I got the notification that we were going to receive some funds, it really helped us  

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manage a situation we couldn't control. And I didn't know that this is a fund that's uh, you know...

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from the employees to the employees. It is so easy to give to the fund. It was a payroll deduction  

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process, you could do that. You could do one lump sum, and every little bit helps. What I would like  

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to do is just let people know more about the fund. How they can be involved; they could be a volunteer,

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they could just donate money. I want to help others who may be in the same situation as what I was.

How to Give

It's so easy to donate a few dollars from each paycheck to help colleagues. Convenient giving options include payroll deduction and PayPal.

Make a Gift

How to Apply

Apply for an Employee Emergency CARE Fund grant. Learn about eligibility guidelines and the application process.

Apply Now

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. The fund typically has enough donations to award 20-25 grants per year.

The program is overseen by the Division of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, with applications reviewed by a confidential committee of Cornell community members.

How The CARE Fund Helps

Natural Disasters

transcript "Natural Disasters"

Domestic Violence Support

transcript "Domestic Violence"

Medical Crises

transcript "Medical Crises"

CARE Fund Stories

"Helped reduce the stress"

“The funds I received were essential in helping me after my house fire. I lost a wall and a half and the entire roof on the east side of my home plus had smoke and water damage throughout. With an exterior wall missing in bitter cold February and no heat source, the house was not habitable. This CARE gift really helped reduce the stress I was under during this time.”

"Allowed me to focus on treatment and recovery"

"At a time when I was hit with the diagnosis of a cancerous tumor, the help the CARE Fund provided allowed me to focus on treatment and recovery with much less stress.  This is a wonderful program and I want to thank everyone who contributes to this."

"A blessing"

“The Emergency CARE Fund was a blessing.  It made a major difference when I was struggling to get by!  I felt guilty about asking for help from strangers, but now I look at the help I received as a blessing.  Now that we are getting back on our feet, I plan on giving to the fund so that someone else can feel what I felt when the help came through when it was needed most.”


Fundraising for the Employee Emergency CARE Fund is done by a committee of Cornell employee volunteers. Our subcommittees include marketing & communications, employee ambassadors, and events. Contact us to learn how you can help!

If you are interested in joining the Employee Emergency CARE Fund Development Committee, sign up via our Gig in Workday!

2022-2023 Committee Members

Michelle Artibee
Sue Brightly
Marcy Benda
Kristen Ciferri
Gerald Deis
Brian Goodell
Denise Hubbard
Lynette Jordan
Suzanne Aceti Koehl
Kristie Mahoney
Jamie Parris

Spread the word

Spice up your meeting and learn about the CARE Fund! A presentation on the CARE Fund, its purpose, and its impact is available by request:

CARE Fund Presentation Banner


Why does the Fund require employees to benefits eligible?

A review of the fund was sponsored by the OVPHR in summer of 2022. The team considered all aspects of eligibility. In particular reference to “Staff/faculty in benefits-eligible full or part-time position (including benefits eligible post-doc associates)” the team determined that the highest volume of non-benefits eligible employees are casual/temp/student workers. The program is intended to prioritize support for regular, consistent full and part time employees of the Cornell community and at present is not funded to meet the demand of including this group of employees.

Can all Cornell employees access the grant?

Employees paid by Cornell University and in university benefits-eligible positions may apply. Weill Cornell employees do not qualify.

Can retirees apply for the grant?

No. However, Cornell retirees and their dependents may still access the Cornell Faculty and Staff Assistance Program for therapeutic support during times of need. 

Can students apply for this grant?

No. Students with urgent needs can access the CU Emergency Fund, Students Helping Students, and the DACA Renewal Fee Emergency Fund at

Is the Fund the same as the catastrophic leave donation program?

No these are two separate and equally impactful programs: 
Eligibility for a CARE Fund award is not impacted by participation in the catastrophic leave program.

Who makes decisions about the grants?

A confidential committee reviews grant applications. It consists of Cornell community members as well as representatives from Human Resources, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, and Workforce Policy & Labor Relations.

How many grants are awarded each year?

The fund typically has enough donations to award 20-25 grants per year.

How much can be received from the grant?

Eligible recipients may receive between $200 and $2,000 depending on their circumstances.