At Stericycle, we are passionate about protecting what matters. That also includes protecting and serving our own team members. Nowhere is this more apparent than the SteriCares Hardship Fund that is available to provide employees financial relief during a time of hardship. When team members face unexpected challenges like natural disasters or other unforeseen personal events, the SteriCares Hardship Fund stands ready to help, providing monetary aid to assist afflicted team members in returning to financial and emotional stability.
How the program works
Although Stericycle donated the initial start-up money for the fund in 2015, it continues today due to generous contributions from team members through voluntary payroll deductions or one-time donations via credit card. Stericycle then partners with the Emergency Assistance Foundation (EAF) to administer the fund. This independent foundation reviews applications, approves and processes grant amounts, and coordinates emergency funding during natural disasters. This partnership with the EAF allows us to continuously help team members in need while maintaining a fair and objective decision-making process.
There are six types of events that qualify for grants:
- Natural disaster, including flood, fire, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, blizzard, drought, cyclone, hurricane, typhoon or severe storms
- A catastrophic impact to a primary residence, such as through fire, flood or unusual life-altering situation that is not paid by insurance
- Serious illness or injury
- Violent crime
- Domestic abuse
- Death of an employee or his or her immediate family member
Should a team member experience one of these unfortunate events, he or she can apply for assistance to help cover expenses related to the event.
The impact of the program is significant
In the last two years, the fund has provided $300,000 in grants to more than 150 Stericycle team members. Serious illness or injury is the event that triggers the most funding requests, with 50% of distributed grants in 2019 going to team members facing a medical challenge.
While the numbers paint a picture of the program, they only begin to describe the impact it has on grant recipients. Consider the story of a team member named Ted who was diagnosed with kidney cancer after visiting the hospital for stomach problems. Married with three children at home, he had substantial responsibilities and was unprepared emotionally and financially to deal with the burden of a cancer diagnosis. After his manager encouraged him to apply for a grant, Ted received money to defray mounting costs, lifting some of the stress of the disease so he could focus on getting healthy.
Another employee, Christin got much-needed support when she lost her apartment, two dogs and all her belongings to a fire. The SteriCares Hardship Fund helped her to afford a new place to live and some new furniture. Because of the grant, she was able to start rebuilding her life.
Giving a little goes a long way
Currently, the SteriCares Hardship Fund is established in the US and Canada. However, in 2020, we hope to expand the program globally, accepting donations and providing financial assistance to team members around the world.
Learn more about the SteriCares Hardship Fund and Ted and Christin's stories.