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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.

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 wen 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!

2023-2024 Committee Members

Michelle Artibee
Sue Brightly
Kristen Ciferri
Suzanne Aceti Koehl
Kristie Mahoney
Jamie Parris
Brian Goodell
Denise Hubbard
Gerald "Jerry" Deis
Michael Bradley
Marcy Benda
J'Frances White
Grace Catherine Dembia
Sara Capalongo
Hannah Bailey
Elizabeth Ann Peet
Liz Davis-Frost
Chelsea Jade Speer
Erin Sill
David A. Levitsky
Andrew Walter Beckmann
Ben Adams

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

 On-Demand Virtual Presentation

You can have a member of the CARE Fund Committee present in-person or virtually by contacting, or you can view an on-demand version of the virtual presentation below:

Video Transcript

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:05,800
[Kristie] Hello, I'm Kristie Mahoney. I'm Senior Director 
of Strategic Initiatives for the College of Human  

00:00:05,800 --> 00:00:11,800
Ecology, and I've been a member of the CARE Fund 
Development Committee since 2020. I'm currently  

00:00:11,800 --> 00:00:13,793
serving as Chair of the committee.

00:00:13,793 --> 00:00:15,400
[Denise] My name is Denise Hubbard,  

00:00:15,400 --> 00:00:20,920
and I'm the Inventory Coordinator for Student 
and Campus Life, Facilities. I've been working  

00:00:20,920 --> 00:00:27,313
for Cornell for five years, and I am going on my third year as a CARE Fund member.

00:00:27,313 --> 00:00:31,040
Throughout this presentation, there will be a number of links to refer

00:00:31,040 --> 00:00:38,040
to, to help answer questions. Or if you should have 
additional questions, please feel free to email at  

00:00:38,040 --> 00:00:40,712

00:00:40,712 --> 00:00:48,168
[Kristie] The CARE Fund offers grants to staff and faculty who need help during a qualified, nonrecurring emergency.

00:00:48,168 --> 00:00:53,320
This includes situations such as a natural 
disaster, a catastrophic illness,  

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or domestic violence situation. The CARE
Fund is administratively overseen by Human  

00:00:58,960 --> 00:01:04,298
Resources and run by a team of faculty/staff 
volunteers across the university.

00:01:04,298 --> 00:01:08,113
The maximum grant amount is $2,000.

00:01:08,113 --> 00:01:12,099
[Denise] The CARE Fund was founded by the Cornell Employee Assembly.

00:01:12,099 --> 00:01:21,032
The CARE Fund is for employees by employees. It is funded by your generous donations.

00:01:21,032 --> 00:01:23,563
[Kristie] There is a great need for the CARE Fund.

00:01:23,563 --> 00:01:34,119
From 2010 to January of 2024, 385 employees have received over $484,000 in assistance from the fund.

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If you are already a donor to the fund, thank you 
so much for the help you have provided your colleagues in moments of need.

00:01:40,893 --> 00:01:43,873
See our website for more CARE Fund stories.

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[Denise] The Fund is open to Cornell employees who hold benefits eligible full or part-time positions. 

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Many of your colleagues have benefited from the 
Fund. More info about applying can be found on the Fund's website.

00:01:59,001 --> 00:02:03,551
[Kristie] We'd like to show you a video featuring a previous committee member, Tina Henry.

00:02:03,551 --> 00:02:09,623
Tina is a Finance Manager in Chemistry and Chemical Biology. And a past recipient of the CARE Fund grant.

00:02:09,623 --> 00:02:12,564
We're grateful to her for telling her story.

00:02:12,564 --> 00:02:15,665
[Tina] In 2019, I was planning on going out

00:02:15,665 --> 00:02:20,120
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 was back in for the knee surgery. 

00:02:26,760 --> 00:02:31,572
My daughter had had an emergency surgery that same day.

00:02:31,572 --> 00:02:41,097
[music plays]

00:02:41,097 --> 00:02:46,480
My name is Tina Henry. I am an Accounts Rep in the Department of Computer Science. 

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I had a 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

00:02:58,844 --> 00:03:03,537
my husband was hospitalized. He had actually a blood clot in the left 

00:03:03,537 --> 00:03:09,600
part of his heart. They determined that he needed to have a defibrillator. The day I went in for my surgery,

00:03:09,600 --> 00:03:16,240
my daughter had had an emergency surgery. At this point we're okay. We're doing good.

00:03:16,240 --> 00:03:21,680
But obviously we didn't plan on two out of the three happening. It was a really hard decision.

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We had not 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

00:03:52,900 --> 00:03:57,440
process, you could do that. You could do one lump sum, and every little bit helps. 

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

00:04:03,816 --> 00:04:10,362
they could just donate money. I want to help others who may be in the same situation as what I was.

00:04:17,120 --> 00:04:25,685
[Denise] For 2023 and 2024, we have set two aggressive fundraising engagement goals.

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Our goals are to engage 30% of all employees and 100% of faculty

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at any level of contribution. 

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Even $1 per paycheck, at these levels of engagement would allow the Fund to ensure a level of stability

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and sustainability, which would lead to higher level of awards and/or multi-tiers of award,

00:04:51,160 --> 00:04:58,126
expanded criteria eligibility, and ultimately
greater reach for the fund.

00:04:58,126 --> 00:05:00,846
[Kristie] So how can you become involved with the CARE Fund?

00:05:00,846 --> 00:05:04,126
You can spread the word about the CARE Fund to managers and colleagues.

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We're happy to visit any size department or work team
in person or virtually to share this short presentation. 

00:05:10,646 --> 00:05:14,566
And we welcome you as a member of the CARE Fund Ambassador Committee.

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If you are not already a donor to the CARE Fund,

00:05:17,094 --> 00:05:19,806
we are here today to ask for your help.

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You can contribute in a variety of ways. Via
automatic payroll deduction, Venmo, PayPal or check.

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And if you have received Cornell Appreciation Portal points and would like to pay them forward,

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you may give your points to the Fund. One point equals $1.

00:05:35,806 --> 00:05:39,734
Automatic payroll deduction is quick and easy to set up, and is a great way to know that you are  

00:05:39,734 --> 00:05:41,166
helping others each month.

00:05:41,166 --> 00:05:42,854
You can also donate to the fund by

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participating in our bottle and can drive,

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at Ithacan and Bottle Return and the Lansing  

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Bottle and Can Redemption Center.

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There are also receptacles in these on-campus locations.

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East Hill Office Building, 395 Pine Tree Road.  

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Seneca Place, 130 East Seneca Street. And Thurston 
Court Office Building at 223 Thurston Ave.

00:06:04,520 --> 00:06:09,400
[Denise] Thank you to all who already donate and thank you in advance

00:06:09,440 --> 00:06:15,000
for those of you who are considering a donation, and thank you for your time.
[Kristie] Thank you.


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.