COVID-19 Employee Emergency Relief Fund

The Harvard COVID-19 Employee Emergency Relief Fund was established to support members of the Harvard University community who are experiencing unanticipated or emergency situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apply For Relief Funds button

Prior to applying, please be sure to familiarize yourself with the eligibility and application information below.

What kind of financial support is available?

The Fund will provide one-time emergency relief grants, generally up to a maximum of $1000. The level of support available may be modest in relation to the need for any given employee or situation.

The Harvard University Employees Credit Union is also offering loan payment relief and hardship loan options.

What kinds of expenses are eligible for support?

Examples of support this Fund may provide include, but are not limited to, support for temporary housing and/or other essential needs, such as food; support for travel associated with a personal or family emergency, crisis or death; and support to defray unforeseen or unusually high medical expenses and related costs.

In most cases, Harvard expects that payments to relieve unanticipated or emergency personal or family expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., temporary housing, travel, and medical expenses, among others) will qualify as non-taxable. However, requests to cover other hardships/expenses may not qualify as non-taxable and will be subject to tax withholding.

Who is eligible?

The Fund is open to benefits-eligible Harvard employees whose annual household income is less than $150,000.

Eligible employees include:

  • administrative and professional staff;
  • support staff;
  • service and trade staff;
  • faculty and other academic appointees; and
  • postdoctoral fellows.

How can eligible employees apply?

Applications for support can be submitted electronically. HarvardKey is required to access the online application.

The brief online application requires:

  • Contact information and Eligibility (name, mailing address, email address, role, Harvard School/Unit, HUID)
  • Short essay (up to 1,000 characters) describing the COVID-19 related financial impact
  • Requested grant amount (up to $1000)
  • Online signature certifying the accuracy of all submitted information

Employees who need reading or writing assistance to complete the application may contact the Harvard Bridge Program at ohr_bridge@harvard.edu or 617-496-2216.

All information contained in the applications will be held in strict confidence, and all identifying information will be removed prior to review.

How will employees be told about whether their applications have been approved?

An Award Committee comprised of members of the Harvard community will make award decision recommendations. Applicants will be informed promptly by the Fund Coordinators and disbursements will be made by the Harvard University Employees Credit Union as soon as possible after that. Our goal is an expedited review of applications, however, the time it will take will depend on the number of applications we receive.

Whom may I contact with questions about Fund eligibility, awards, or donations?

Please direct questions to vphr@harvard.edu. Inquiries will be directed accordingly.

What other assistance is available to employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Harvard's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers free, confidential help for all Harvard employees and their adult household members. You can reach the EAP any time for personal or work-related concerns at 877-EAP-HARV (877-327-4278).