The Faculty and Staff Hardship Fund was established in 1994 to financially assist Vanderbilt faculty and staff who are experiencing a temporary hardship due to a significant life event. An award is intended to be a major step for the employee in the return to financial stability.
Everyone who applies for the fund is clearly in financial distress and in need. The greatest difficulty in determining eligibility for an award is the determination of whether the employee is experiencing a temporary financial hardship or has chronic financial difficulty.
An employee whose expenses regularly exceed net income has chronic financial difficulty. As a result, the employee may not be eligible for this one-time Hardship Fund gift. Read an article about how the Hardship Fund works.
Eligibility Criteria for the Hardship Fund:
The following criteria apply for each employee to be eligible to receive an award:
- This must be a temporary hardship;
- The employee must be a full-time employee;
- The employee must have been employed at Vanderbilt for at least one year; and
- The employee cannot be in a disciplinary status, such as on a progressive discipline or performance improvement plan.
The Faculty and Staff Hardship Fund Committee, composed of your peers, determines if your request matches the established criteria of the Fund. The application process is administered through Work/Life Connections-EAP.
Applying for The Hardship Fund:
To apply, the Vanderbilt faculty/staff member needs to schedule an appointment with a Work/Life Connections-EAP clinical counselor by calling for a confidential appointment at 615-936-1327. The clinical counselors serve as the liaison between the applicants and the Hardship Fund Committee.
During the initial appointment, the Work/Life Connections-EAP clinical counselors will discuss the eligibility requirements for the Fund, help the individual determine if they meet all the requirements, and possibly suggest other potentially helpful community resources. The counselor will work with the employee to help determine if their current financial situation is more likely to be considered temporary or chronic. They will also help the employee complete the application form, if needed.
The Hardship Fund application can be returned to WLC-EAP either in person or by fax (615-936-3678). It is then sent to a committee of volunteer Vanderbilt employees who review the applications and determine 1) if the applicant fits the criteria, and 2) whether or not an award should be granted. Once a decision has been made by the committee, the counselor will notify the applicant about the application's outcome.
Financial difficulties are stressful. The Work/Life Connections-EAP clinical counselor may be able to help the employee handle the stress that comes from this continuing debt, develop a financial recovery plan, and offer suggestions for utilizing other community resources.
Call 615-936-1327 to begin the application process.
How to Donate to the VU and VUMC Faculty and Staff Hardship Funds:
You can donate to the VU and VUMC Faculty/Staff Hardship Funds in several ways:
- Cash or check
- Kroger Community Rewards Program
- Payroll deduction (VUMC employees only)
For cash or check donations:
- Mail or bring cash or check donations to:
Vanderbilt Work/Life Connections-EAP
Medical Arts Building, Suite 010 (basement)
1211 21st Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37212
- With your cash or check donation, specify the Fund you wish to benefit: VU Faculty/Staff Hardship Fund OR VUMC Faculty/Staff Hardship Fund.
The Kroger Community Rewards Program is another way to contribute to the Fund. Under the system, shoppers register their Kroger discount cards online and choose a favorite charity from a list of local nonprofits that Kroger has agreed to help fund. Kroger then tracks all the card holder's purchases (excluding alcohol, tobacco and gasoline), with every dollar counting as a vote for the shopper's preferred organization.
Shoppers don't sacrifice any in-store discounts or gas points they earn on their Kroger card; the charitable component is a separate, extra feature.
Participating in this program is an easy way for Vanderbilt employees to help co-workers in crisis. After registering your Kroger card online and selecting "Vanderbilt" as your designated charity, all you have to do is swipe the card when you check out at the store. Last year this program donated over $10,000 to the Vanderbilt Faculty and Staff Hardship Fund. Going forward, this will benefit both the VU and VUMC Hardship Funds.
Contribute using the Kroger Community Rewards Program.
VUMC Payroll Deduction: VUMC employees may also donate through payroll deduction by completing the VUMC Hardship Fund Payroll Deduction Form. Contact Work/Life Connections-EAP at 615-936-1327 for more information.
NOTE: Donations to the general use Hardship Fund are not considered to be tax deductible charitable contributions according to IRS guidelines, but you may consult with your tax adviser.