Professional News

This Giving Tuesday Help UK Families Facing Financial Hardship Due to COVID-19

Woman handling cash.
Photo credit: Inside Creative House, iStock/Getty Images Plus.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2020) — The holiday season is upon us. As we prepare our meals for Thanksgiving and scratch gifts off our lists for our holiday celebrations, it is important to also remember donations for Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.  

A global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform communities and beyond, Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to help employees of the University of Kentucky who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 through the UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund.

In an increasingly remote and socially distant environment, it can be hard to know what our colleagues are experiencing behind a screen. The pandemic is not only an assault on human health, but also on the economic and financial health of countless individuals and families throughout the country and locally. 

To combat the negative effects of the pandemic on its workforce, the University of Kentucky created the UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund to provide a means for financial assistance to individuals who are experiencing an unforeseen, temporary financial hardship.

“Our community always comes together to support one another,” said Kim Wilson, vice president and chief human resources officer. “These funds are an opportunity for our colleagues to demonstrate their generous spirit.”

Donating to the UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund

This fund is supported by voluntary charitable employee donations and contributions from individual donors and other entities that want to assist UK employees during unexpected financial challenges.

Donors can contribute to the UK Employee COVID-19 Relief Fund by any of the following methods:

  • Online through the University of Kentucky or through the Blue Grass Community Foundation
  • Mailing a check to either of these entities below.
    • Make checks payable to the University of Kentucky, with a direction for the Employee COVID-19 Response Fund. Mail checks to: University of Kentucky Attn: UK Office of Philanthropy, 210 Malabu Drive Suite 200, Lexington, KY 40502. 
    • Make checks payable to Blue Grass Community Foundation and indicate that your gift should be directed to the University of Kentucky Employee COVID-19 Response Fund. Mail checks to: Blue Grass Community Foundation, Attn: UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund499 E. High Street #112, Lexington, KY 40507.
  • Payroll deduction. Employees can enroll in or make changes to their payroll deduction(s) on this site: http://uky.edu/payrollgiving. Employees should follow the prompts for entering their contact information, then select "I want to choose my specific fund(s)," and then search for Fund Name: Employee COVID-19 Response Fund.  

Gifts made through the Blue Grass Community Foundation can be made anonymously. Donors are encouraged to consult a tax advisor regarding the tax benefits associated with their gift.

Hardships due to or connected with COVID-19 include: recovery from COVID-related illness; out-of-pocket, un-reimbursable medical expenses or co-pays; funeral expenses; caregiver responsibilities for a family member; threat of loss of essential utilities; threat of loss of household; or a major unexpected expense that is not covered by an active insurance policy. Expenses must have occurred on or after March 13, 2020.

Awards will depend on the availability of funds and are made by the Advisory Committee whose members review the applications. 

All awards are made from gifted funds; no state funds are used to provide awards. Awards cannot be used to reimburse the cost of nonessential, luxury or decorative items and services. An individual may receive one award per year. Awards will be made through a debit card or the university’s corporate partner Kroger.

Another option for assistance is the C.R.I.S.I.S. Program operated by the UK Staff Senate for several years and recently including COVID-19 related financial need as part of eligibility for the program’s assistance.

There are three ways UK employees can donate to the C.R.I.S.I.S. Program:

  • By personal check to the UK CRISIS Program. Mail checks to: University of Kentucky Attn: Office of Philanthropy, 210 Malabu Drive Suite 200, Lexington KY 40502. 
  • Online through the University of Kentucky.
  • Payroll deduction. Employees can enroll in or make changes to their Payroll Deduction(s) on this site: http://uky.edu/payrollgiving. Employees should follow the prompts for entering their contact information, then select "I want to choose my specific fund(s)," and then search for Fund Name: CRISIS Program.  

Donors are encouraged to consult a tax advisor regarding the tax benefits associated with their gift.

More detailed information is available at www.uky.edu/staffsenate/crisis.

Cross referencing for applications made to both funds will be conducted to avoid making duplicate awards.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.