The University announced Friday the establishment of a fund for employees whose families have been affected by the earthquake that struck Haiti almost two weeks ago.
The Employees Emergency Relief Fund, created with gifts from both the University and the Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU), is seeking donations from faculty and staff to be distributed as grants to eligible employees.
A preliminary list of eligibility qualifications was released to the employees on the Harvard employee intranet (HARVie) Monday, when University President Drew G. Faust sent a letter to faculty and staff announcing the availability of the fund.
“At least 75 men and women who work for Harvard have been personally touched by the disaster,” Faust wrote in the letter. “They are coping with the loss of loved ones and struggling to assist friends and relatives left without homes.”
The relief fund accepts tax-deductible donations made either online, in person, or by mail to HUECU and will be open for one year.
The funds will be distributed to employees who apply for grants through the HARVie Web site.
Applications for financial assistance will be accepted starting Monday, Feb. 1. Harvard faculty and staff as well as vendor employees who work on campus qualify for grants from the fund.
The idea arose shortly after the earthquake when a group of administrators and Human Resources officials sought suggestions from faculty and staff members about how to help Haiti, according to University spokesman Kevin Galvin.
After administrators presented the plan to Faust last Wednesday, they determined the final details before the initial announcement was posted on the Harvard Gazette and HUECU Web sites Friday.
“Generally, people really wanted to find a way to help their colleagues who are going through a really tough time right now,” Galvin said.
The HARVie Web site also notes that the Harvard’s Employee Assistance program, which provides 24/7 multilingual counselors to support those impacted by the earthquake, is open to all current employees, their household members, managers, and co-workers.
“Through this fund, I hope that you will consider joining me in offering tangible support to the men and women working among us who have been touched by this tragedy,” Faust wrote in the letter.
The University will not be disclosing the fund’s current balance or their fundraising target, according to Galvin.
In the “unlikely” event that funds still remain after one year, the surplus will be donated to general Haiti relief, according to the HARVie Web site.
—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at email@example.com.