It’s that time of year when we give thanks. A time to be grateful for what we have, and to show our appreciation for what has been given to us. That’s what one University of Notre Dame employee is determined to do.
“Because of the generosity of my friends and colleagues on campus, I could maintain our residence and not derail my son’s excitement about being a second-grader. I could send him to school in new clothes and shoes that were comfortable and fit,” says administrative assistant Amy M., who asked that we not use her full name and department.
Amy received help from the University’s Employee Compassion Fund after what she calls, “crisis after crisis.” In just over a year, her household budget was first cut in half by divorce. Then her ex-husband lost his job and couldn’t make child support payments.
The Employee Compassion Fund is a University emergency assistance program funded entirely by Notre Dame faculty and staff contributions to the annual United Way campaign — five percent of each pledge supports the fund. The program is administered by the Family and Children’s Center, and is designed to assist employees who find themselves in temporary financial hardship. The funds are not taxable as income.
Amy was no stranger to financial struggle growing up, and she wanted to prevent her family from experiencing the same thing. “I grew up in a single-parent, food-insecure household and I really didn’t want that for my son. The Employee Compassion Fund let me spare my son from learning about adult problems too soon, and it allowed me to meet my obligations and relieve a bit of the guilt that I know my ex-husband feels over the long wait for disability benefits. It allowed all three of us to downshift out of constant crisis mode.”
Amy suggests to anyone struggling financially that they reach out to their Human Resources consultant, 631-5900. “There is no shame in needing help,” she says. The Compassion Fund is 100 percent funded by faculty and staff donations to the United Way campaign. And because of that, Amy says she will be eternally grateful for the generosity of her fellow co-workers.
“It is so very comforting to know we’re cared for and loved as a part of the Notre Dame family,” she says.
It’s not too late to make a one-time gift or set up a donation through payroll deduction for 2017. Visit unitedway.nd.edu.