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HSHS Colleague Emergency Assistance Fund

The Colleague Emergency Assistance Fund provides confidential emergency financial assistance for colleagues who face unusual and severe financial hardships due to a sudden crisis outside of their control.

Man working on monthly bills with family in background Man working on monthly bills with family in background

Approval for funds is not based on, influenced by or related to the colleague’s position, services or duties. An applicant’s identity is maintained in strict confidence by the committee making grant decisions.

Due to a substantial volume of requests, if you are impacted by the closings in Western Wisconsin, the application process closed as of midnight, Tuesday, February 6th.

Nurse with hands held in heart shape

How it works

The Colleague Emergency Assistance Fund provides confidential emergency financial assistance for colleagues who face unusual and severe financial hardships due to a sudden crisis outside of their control. Examples of crisis include:

  • Disaster: Fire, Tornado, Flood or other natural act of disaster
  • Victim of crime
  • Serious illness or injury
  • Death of immediate family member
  • Spouse employment layoff or termination due to factors outside the employee’s control
  • Emergency auto or housing repair (not regular maintenance or upkeep)

To be eligible for this assistance:

  • You must be a current colleague in good standing. This means you are not in corrective action and have not received a written or verbal warning in the last 6 months or a final warning in the last 1 year.
  • You have been a colleague (full or part-time) of an HSHS affiliate for at least six (6) consecutive months. You may not have resigned, given notice of retirement, or been notified of an end date for your employment.
  • You meet qualifying criteria:
  • You are experiencing unusual and severe financial strain.
  • Your financial strain is the consequence of a specific and isolated event (Fire, Crime, Medical Event, Death, Spouse layoff, etc.)

Colleagues may receive one emergency grant in the maximum amount of $500 within a 6-month period. A colleague may receive three (3) emergency grants during their employment.

The Colleague Emergency Assistance Fund offers support on unpaid bills. Financial assistance is not paid directly to colleagues. Colleagues submit the unpaid expenses for which they need assistance, and payment goes directly to a landlord, bank, utility company, or other vendor. 

Car wrecked by falling tree

Examples of crisis events

  • Fire 
  • Tornado 
  • Flood or other natural act of disaster 
  • Victim of crime 
  • Serious illness or injury 
  • Death 
  • Spouse employment layoff or termination due to factors outside the employee’s control 
  • Emergency auto or housing repair (not regular maintenance or upkeep)

Examples of approved requests include:

  • Emergency travel 
  • Childcare 
  • Mortgage or rent 
  • Utilities (gas, water, electricity) 
  • Funeral or burial expenses 

Examples of requests NOT approved include:

  • Reimbursement for bills/expenses already paid
  • Insurance premiums
  • Elective expenses
  • Cable or satellite television
  • Credit card debt
  • Legal or professional fees
  • Reduced hours due to flexing
  • Cell phone bill
  • Property taxes
  • Medical bills 
    • If illness or injury creates unusual and severe hardship for you, please request assistance with rent, mortgage, utilities, or other examples of approved requests. While medical expenses may create financial hardship, this program cannot pay medical bills.

To apply

  1. You must complete the confidential online Application for Assistance. The application must be submitted by the colleague experiencing financial hardship, not by a third party. 
  2. You must attach copies of bills or invoices that need to be paid. These are required for check requests and demonstrate the purpose for which the funds will be used. For consideration of rent payment, attach a signed statement from the landlord or a copy of the lease agreement stating the monthly rent amount and the landlord’s phone number. Payments will be expedited if you provide an IRS Form W-9 from the vendor(s). Get form here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
  3. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Review of your application:

  • You can expect a response within one week of your request. More urgent requests will be identified and handled on an expedited basis.
  • The applicants’ identities are maintained in strict confidence. In cases where HSHS has additional resources to assist you in the circumstances you describe, a member of HR will confidentially reach out with the relevant informtion. 


This program is about colleagues helping colleagues:

Colleagues receiving assistance are welcomed to re-pay their grant in part or in full to the Colleague Emergency Assistance Fund to provide for another colleague in their time of need. Colleagues who make voluntary donations to the Colleague Emergency Assistance Fund are not allowed to earmark their donations for a particular recipient, and colleagues making donations to the fund are not guaranteed a grant if they apply for assistance.