May 22, 2020

Charity Offers Millions in Grants To Families of Healthcare Workers Who Died of COVID-19

Man in ppe holding up vial of blood with covid 19 label

E4E Relief, a North Carolina-based charity founded in response to the tragic 9/11 attacks, has set up a new program - the Brave of Heart Fund - in conjunction with New York Life Foundation and the Cigna Foundation to help offset the financial burden on families who’ve lost loved ones in the healthcare field from COVID-19 coronavirus. 

Families of those working on the healthcare frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to apply for support from the Brave of Heart Fund and receive grant support for medical care, counseling, food, transportation, education, and other needs as they manage the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and begin to move forward.

Those who are eligible include:

  • Orderlies
  • Custodians 
  • Environmental service workers
  • Cafeteria workers
  • Technicians 
  • First responders 
  • Medical doctors 
  • Nurses 
  • Healthcare volunteers
  • Others 

To get more information on this effort, we caught up with Holly Welch Stubbing, President and CEO of E4E Relief, to ask her about the origins of the endeavor, how families of fallen healthcare workers can receive financial assistance, what the effort means to her personally, and much more.  

What is the Brave Of Heart Fund? 

The Brave of Heart Fund will provide charitable grants to surviving families of healthcare workers who have lost their lives caring for others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families of fallen healthcare workers who need help bearing the burden of the economic impact of losing their loved ones to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for charitable grants at beginning in May 2020.

The fund is launching with $25 million donations from both New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation. New York Life Foundation will also match, dollar-for-dollar, donations up to $25 million. The goal is to raise more than $100 million.  The Fund will be administered by E4E Relief, which manages employee relief funds for companies representing over 4 million people worldwide.

What is E4E Relief, exactly?

E4E Relief is a public charity that helps employees establish charitable relief funds for their most important asset – their employees.  We administer those programs on behalf of the company helping to ensure their employees receive meaningful financial relief when it’s needed most. We also provide community-based disaster relief programs that provide grants to individuals.

Does E4E Relief work in the healthcare realm often or has it been more so during the current pandemic?

E4E Relief works frequently with healthcare and pharmaceutical companies and with other industries including hospitality, retail, and financial services. Regardless of the industry, we intersect with the healthcare industry when some of our employee relief fund programs help provide financial grants for employees or their loved ones who have an illness, injury or death.

When did you know that the Brave of Heart Fund had to be created?

It became clear early on that Covid-19 was going to require a response of unprecedented proportions because it was affecting all kinds of industries, geographies and demographics.  With the incredible donations from New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation, the Brave of Heart Fund was possible.

How can families of fallen healthcare workers be supported by E4E Relief’s efforts, exactly?

The loss of a loved one is devastating on many levels – aside from grief, many are unprepared for the economic impact of losing a contributing member of the household. The charitable grants can help family members of frontline healthcare workers and healthcare volunteers who lose their lives because of COVID 19 provide basic and continuing financial support including,

  • Funeral costs 
  • Childcare
  • Mortgage or rent payments 
  • Other immediate living expenses

How do people apply for the grant? Where does the money come from? 

Beginning in May, eligible family members can apply for charitable grants which will be available via You can also find information on resources Cigna is offering to front-line workers suffering from high levels of stress and anxiety.

New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation seeded the fund with $25 million each – and New York Life is matching donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $25 million. Those donations can come from individuals or corporations.

Are there stipulations on where the money has to go, like recipient’s rent or bills?

There are two forms of grants available: 

  1. An initial grant of $15,000 to alleviate burial costs and other essential household expenses. 
  2. A second grant may also be available for continuing needs and longer-term expenses, for up to six months (subject to eligibility and documentation of financial need). The second grant is intended to help with expenses like housing, utilities, educational expenses of dependents currently in school, childcare, clothing, medical expenses, and others, up to $60,000.

There are lots of private organizations helping in this time of crisis. When you step back and think about that reality, what comes to mind for you?

The nature of our business involves dealing with a lot of private organizations that establish funds for employees in times of crisis as a readiness plan for support – clearly not the size of this crisis, but for employees that may fall on hardship, like unforeseen health issues. That’s the world in which we live, so seeing private organizations step forward is a familiar sight to us. And, in this major crisis, help can come from anywhere.

What does E4E Relief’s effort mean to you, personally?

The Brave of Heart Fund supports those who knowingly put themselves in harm’s way in the fight against coronavirus. Not only did those people help us fight this pandemic, they sacrificed time with family while doing it. Their families will have huge holes to fill – first in their hearts, and then financially. To be able to help set up a fund that provides financial support to those people is what makes working at E4E Relief so rewarding.  

Besides the immediate financial relief, what do you think is the psychological benefit to receiving aid like that which E4E Relief provides people?

We know from our own research that employees state that the availability of the relief grant program makes them feel better about working for their employer—proving that compassion in a crisis can help with long-term employee retention and engagement. So knowing that it’s there if needed, either for yourself or a coworker, goes a long way.

How can the general public help?

Healthcare workers go to work every day knowing they’re putting themselves at risk for infectious diseases and illnesses – but it’s unlikely anyone ever expected to be dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Aside from donating to the fund, the healthcare community is asking for people to follow social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines to slow or stop the spread. That makes everyone, including healthcare workers, safer.

What role do you hope E4E Relief can play as society looks to the future in the aftermath of the pandemic?

This pandemic has shone a light on how fragile most people’s economic situations are – putting a lot of individuals and businesses in reactive mode. We’d love to see even more employers be proactive in establishing relief funds for their employees, even if another crisis of this proportion is far off. It shows you care about your people – and it lets people know that if they fall on hard times, they’re not alone.

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