Compassion Fund


The Employee Compassion Fund is a University Emergency Assistance program funded completely by Notre Dame faculty and staff as part of the annual United Way of St. Joseph County campaign and is administered by the Family and Children’s Center.

The Compassion Fund is designed to assist individuals who find themselves in a temporary financial hardship. The granting of funds will either permanently resolve the financial hardship or bridge the individual to a permanent solution to the hardship presented.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

  • The Applicant must be an active University employee including:
    • Regular faculty (as defined in article 3 section 1 of academic articles); or
    • Regular full or part-time exempt and non-exempt staff
  • Applicant must have worked at the University for a period of 1 year before applying for assistance; and
  • Applicant must have contacted United Way’s 211 to seek community assistance and found assistance to be either insufficient or unavailable. Individuals should share with 211 their name and that they are a Notre Dame employee, so confirmation of the contact can occur.

Financial Emergency

For the purposes of the Employee Compassion Fund, a bonafide emergency financial situation shall be considered any event or combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action, or any pressing need following a sudden and unexpected occurrence of which was wholly unforeseen by the employee and beyond the employee’s control including but not limited to:

  • Fire
  • Natural disaster (flood, tornado, etc.)
  • Property theft
  • Loss of property
  • Unavoidable financial emergency
  • Disease
  • Extended illness / disability


Need is directly attributed to or caused by a financial emergency situation as defined in section III.  Need may also be determined by undue, temporary hardship which shall be defined as circumstances peculiar to the employee’s situation, not deliberately caused by the employee, which are of such magnitude or severity that it is unlikely that the employee has sufficient resources to reasonably expect a favorable outcome, such as delay in receiving disability insurance, a spouse’s unexpected departure, the cessation of child support, or a prolonged family illness.

An applicant with longer-standing financial problems, though clearly in need of assistance, would not meet the temporary hardship requirement, and therefore, would not be eligible.

Review Process

All applicants should contact United Way’s 211 for community assistance (Phone: 211). Individuals should share with 211 their name and that they are a Notre Dame employee, so confirmation of the contact can occur.

The Compassion Fund is 100% funded by faculty and staff donations to the United Way campaign. While a need may meet the application requirements, funds are not always available.  Should this occur, the individual will be notified and re-contacted when funding becomes available. 

To request financial assistance via the Compassion Fund, after contacting 211, please contact the Office of Human Resources AskHR team via email or phone:


If the application is approved, checks are made payable directly to the creditor on behalf of the employee. While the Compassion Fund will continue to assist with medical expenses, the University will not provide payment directly to a healthcare provider due to HIPAA implications. In the event that a check must be sent directly to the employee, it will be mailed to the address provided by the employee.

A final decision on the request and the preparation of a check may take up to 5 days.


Financial assistance may be awarded in any amount up to a maximum of $1,000 per application.

A maximum of one grant will be allowed to any one person, or family unit, during a two-year period with a maximum of two grants per employee’s lifetime while working at Notre Dame.

There is no recourse of appeal to committee’s decisions and there is no guarantee of approval.

Tax Implications

Financial assistance to employees from the Compassion Fund is considered a charitable donation. Employees will not need to report the gift as income.