Northwestern Staff Advisory Council


"NU Cares was extremely helpful when I had no alternative. I have been taking care of my sick daughter for years and have been paying the portion of her medical expenses not covered by her health insurance. It so happened that we received a bill for an amount that I could not afford, which escalated my stress level. I mentioned it to one of my colleagues and she highly recommended NU Cares because of her experience with the program.

I went to the website, retrieved the application and submitted it. I must admit, I was not very hopeful, but to my surprise I got an email and a call the next day asking a few questions and requesting some additional paperwork. After the call, I started feeling less stressed because I felt they cared. The entire process was hassle-free and respectful; because of this, I was able to pay this bill and exhale. I am so grateful for NU Cares and to everyone who contributes. This is an amazing program that is helping the NU community, when in need." - March 2016

"When I went in for an oil change recently I discovered to my dismay that I needed new tires for my car because the ones I had were bald. Events such as these never seem to happen at a good time – I had no savings to pay for new tires, and no one from whom I could borrow the amount of money required to purchase them. It had snowed recently and another major snow storm was on the way. I was scared to drive anywhere, let alone drive to work, but after calling friends with the hope of borrowing a car temporarily, I found that I had no choice but to risk going out on the road with my vehicle.

After the storm the roads weren’t completely plowed, and I missed a day of work since I wasn’t willing to risk my safety (and that of others). When I informed my supervisor about my situation, she mentioned the NU Cares program. I remember hearing about it at my new employee orientation a few years ago, but I had forgotten about it. At first I was embarrassed as I didn’t want to be viewed as a “charity case”, but I was more afraid of driving an unsafe vehicle so I applied for assistance. I was skeptical that I would qualify for aid, but I was desperate so I decided that I would at least give it a try.

Imagine my surprise when I received a prompt response from the NU Cares committee informing me that I would receive assistance. Not only was I treated with courtesy and respect, I was also treated with dignity which did much to alleviate my discomfort in having to ask for help, and the sleepless nights from being worried about my car and safety.

I expect my income tax return to arrive in a few weeks. When it does, I am definitely giving back to the NU Cares program, and will continue to do so every year. I am very grateful for this resource, and hope that my story inspires others to donate as one never knows when help may be needed. " - February 2015

"Like most people, I never thought I would be applying to NU Cares. But, after a burglary caught me off guard and without renters insurance, I found myself with a whole lot of new expenses to pay for and not a lot of money to replace the basic items I lost.I remembered hearing about NU Cares in an HR newsletter and initially felt guilty applying for it, thinking so many people have much more serious issues than I do.

Fortunately, I communicated with someone in the NU Cares community who assured me that my crisis was valid and that I shouldn't feel guilt, or shame, in asking for help. Almost a year later I have a renters insurance policy, i've replaced some material items and I owe my sanity to the funds that NU Cares provided to help get things back to normal." - May 2014

"In November 2013, I was diagnosed with BRCA1, a genetic mutation that places me at a very high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. After much thought, I decided to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy. The co-pays for the surgeries, and the in-patient co-pay were more than I could afford. I remembered NU Cares from various HR newsletters, and decided to see if I might qualify. I hesitated applying simply because I could have placed the costs on a credit card, but I decided to apply to avoid stretching my family’s finances. NU Cares relieved financial pressure during a stressful time for me and my family. I am deeply thankful, and so glad NU has this program available to its community." - May 2014

""Due to having a financial fiasco, I received shut-off notices for my utilities (electric and gas). I had no idea where to turn. A colleague told me about NU Cares. At first, I was really hesitant, because I was not sure how the process worked and if I would really get any assistance. NU Cares provided the funds necessary to help me pay my utilities and offered other useful resources. The NU Cares Staff is wonderful. They have provided a listening ear when I was stressed out about this situation. I was able to trust them when it came down to dealing with sensitive issues. I have had a positive experience with NU Cares and am sharing with other staff members what services and resources are available through NU Cares. I sincerely thank NU Cares for helping me keep the lights and heat on!” - February 2014

"NU Cares was a wonderful resource when I needed it most. I am a single mother with three children, and I often struggle just to make ends meet. My job at NU is wonderful, but it is a challenge sometimes just to pay for the basic transportation and child care needs so that I can work. I had heard about NU Cares through my department business office, who knew about messy divorce that I was going through with an abusive husband.

When my car needed major repairs, I reached out to NU Cares to help cover some of the cost. I was hesitant to go to NU Cares for several reasons: I didn't want to take resources from someone who might need it more than me, I was concerned about privacy, and I always have to fight my own pride when I've needed to ask for help from outside resources. However, the HR staff who handle NU Cares are so discreet and kind to take care of the request in a way that put me to ease and quickly handled the request. Because of the generosity of the NU community through NU Cares, I was able to pay for the repairs and continue to work with minimal interruption. THANK YOU to the creators of the program and to all who contribute." - February 2014

"On Sunday, October 13, 2013, my husband and I were devastated to learn that a fire had broken out in the apartment below ours in a two-family home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. We rushed home to assess the damage. Once inside our apartment, nothing looked too out of place, but the smell of fire and smoke was overwhelming. As my husband and I worked to put a suitcase together of clothes and valuables, we were ordered to leave the house. Something had reignited the fire and it wasn’t safe inside. Fifteen minutes later, we were upstairs again, but this time, our apartment was in complete disarray. The water and smoke damage was unbelievable. The worst part was the ceiling in our bedroom had fallen in on top of the open suitcase on our bed.

Luckily, no one had been hurt.  A volunteer from the American Red Cross gave us a $50 prepaid credit card for food for the next two days and arranged for us to stay in a nearby hotel for two nights. Without them, we would have been forced to find somewhere else to stay until we figured out what our next moves would be.

In the following weeks, we learned that the apartment was uninhabitable, and we couldn’t salvage anything save for some of my jewelry and my husband’s laptop, which stopped working a month later. I met with an adjuster who did an evaluation of our apartment and asked me to make a list of all of our belongings for insurance purposes. As we were leaving the house, he looked into the downstairs apartment where there was once a wall that had burned away. He noticed the burn marks on the floor and the refrigerator and said to me that if we had been home and the fire department had been unable to get us out through an upstairs window, we would never had made it out alive.

I went back to work after taking only two days off. I couldn't sit in the hotel with everything going on. I needed to focus my thoughts elsewhere. A colleague mentioned that NU had a program which assisted employees in need. I had only been working for NU for a little over six months, but my colleague encouraged me to apply anyway.

I was awarded the maximum amount of assistance and received it with my paycheck the following week. Without the NU Cares program, my husband and I would have had to go to great lengths to support ourselves until the insurance money came through.

I made sure once I was able to give back a considerable amount of money to NU Cares so that they can continue to assist NU employees in need. I hope that everyone considers making a donation. No amount is too small."- January 2014

"I was dealing with several family crises, which led to a financial hardship that resulted in my daughter and I being placed in a detrimental situation.  I had thought about applying for the NU Cares benefit, but wasn’t sure if I should or even qualified for the assistance.  It so happens that a supervisor asked me about my situation and upon learning of the devastation of my circumstances, she compassionately suggested that I apply for the assistance and thought the process would be kept confidential.I felt great sense of relief upon receipt of the assistance and was amazed that the process was expedited in such a timely and efficient manner.

My experience motivated me to encourage other NU members to apply for the assistance upon learning of their hardships.  I will be forever grateful for the existence of the program and plan to become a contributor in the quest to help others in need." - November 2013

"NU Cares is an amazing program that offers help to employees facing emergency situations. I learned about NU Cares during my new hire orientation, and at that time was in dire need of help.  I was laid off three years prior to gaining permanent employment with NU. Due to lack of income my credit score was very low and I was swimming debt.  Recently, my father passed away unexpectedly and being his only daughter, I was responsible for his funeral expenses.

With my new salary I did not qualify for daycare assistance, rental assistance and my father did not have life insurance.  Although my new salary was great, it was not enough to cover all my expenses and I had to make a decision to pay for my father’s funeral expenses or continue to be homeless and pay for daycare.  I made a decision to step out on faith and sought help from NU Cares. The grant I received helped to alleviate some of my expenses.  I was amazed to have received a financial blessing.  The fact I did not have to choose between being homeless or saying a final good bye to my father was a great relief.

The NU Cares program is amazing, everyone I spoke with offered tons of help and referred me to available community resources. I am very proud to say NU Cares really works, the program made my new hire experience at NU priceless. I’m pleased to say that NU Cares allowed me to continue to support my family during the hardest time.  I’m very thankful for NU Cares and I love being an employee w/ NU." - September 2013

"NU Cares provided crucial help to me and my family during a difficult time, making a difference in the quality of our lives. Our newborn daughter required intensive care, and the resulting costly medical bills were much less burdensome after NU Cares provided its support. Everyone in our family is now healthy and happy. We will always appreciate the kindness and generosity of the Northwestern community, it made our life better and a little less stressful." - February 2012