Employee Critical Support Fund to provide expanded services and funding; support the fund through AmazonSmile, Kroger Community Awards 

The Employee Critical Support Fund, previously known as the Employee Hardship Fund, will provide expanded services and funding to eligible Vanderbilt University employees. The fund was established in 1994 to financially assist Vanderbilt faculty and staff who experienced a non-recurring sudden or emergency-related financial hardship due to an unforeseen or unavoidable event.

Read on below for information on how to support the fund through Kroger Community Rewards and AmazonSmile.

The university renamed the fund to better convey its purpose—to give employees peace of mind in a time of uncertainty and to demonstrate the power and values of the Vanderbilt community. An award is intended to be a major step for the employee in the return to financial stability. The Employee Critical Support Fund program is not designed to address ongoing financial challenges and is not a loan. 

Historically, the support fund has been housed under and managed by VUMC’s Work/Life Connections as part of their Employee Assistance Program services. In January 2023, the university will move to a new EAP vendor, and the Office of Health and Wellness will manage the Employee Critical Support Fund internally.  

Under the advisement of University Staff Advisory Council and committees convened as part of the university’s Future of Work initiative, the Office of Health and Wellness has expanded the services covered under the Employee Critical Support Fund as well as the funding amount available.  

“Supporting our faculty and staff is a top priority for Vanderbilt,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “I’m proud of the work that’s been accomplished through partnership with USAC and Future of Work committee to expand the hardship fund into the new Employee Critical Support Fund. It is truly an all-encompassing support program to care for our faculty and staff at a time when they may need it most.”  

Employees may receive financial assistance up to a maximum of $2,000. Funds may cover unexpected expenses for faculty and staff experiencing a sudden hardship.  


To be eligible, an employee must hold a regular full-time position at Vanderbilt University (temporary, part-time or term positions are not eligible). The employee must have been employed at Vanderbilt for one full year. Employees on leave for family and/or medical reasons will be assessed on an individual basis. 

How to apply 

Employees may apply for funding through the Employee Critical Support Fund starting Jan. 1, 2023. More details can be found on the Employee Critical Support Fund webpage.

Support the Employee Critical Support Fund 

There are several ways to support the Employee Critical Support Fund. Details on how to sign up for the following programs can be found on the Employee Critical Support Fund webpage. 

Kroger Community Rewards Program

The Kroger Community Rewards program is a simple way to contribute to the Employee Critical Support Fund through grocery purchases. After a Kroger customer signs up for the program and designates Vanderbilt’s Employee Critical Support Fund, Kroger will direct contributions to the fund through its rewards program at no cost to the customer. If you previously supported the fund through Kroger Community Rewards, you will need to reconnect your account to the new Employee Critical Support Fund.  


The AmazonSmile program donates 0.5% of the price of eligible Amazon purchases. Simply sign up and shop on Amazon as you regularly would using the link   

Direct Support

Beginning next year, employees will be able to contribute to the fund directly by check, credit card or payroll deduction.  

Reproductive Health and Parenting Support 

Employees who need assistance related to Reproductive Health and Parenting should contact Hannah Proctor. 

For questions about the Employee Critical Support Fund, please email