This year’s UAB Benevolent Fund campaign is under way, once again giving employees the chance to be a “HERO.”

Through the Benevolent Fund approach of “Health and Education Reaching Out,” UAB faculty and staff have a history of helping fellow co-workers in many ways. In 2006, through the Employee Emergency Assistance Program, the fund awarded $165,710 to 150 UAB employees in various crisis situations.

And, because of the donations employees make to the UAB Benevolent Fund, not only are their fellow co-workers helped in a variety of ways, more than 140 community organizations also receive support from UAB faculty and staff. Among those are the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Salvation Army and the YWCA.

A variety of stories illustrate how UAB employees are helped by the fund.

When one was facing foreclosure on her home due to her husband’s job loss, the Benevolent Fund was able to help bring the family’s mortgage current – and made a referral to Consumer Credit Counseling’s Foreclosure Avoidance program so the employee could receive further assistance.

Another employee sustained injuries in a house fire. Because of faculty and staff donations, the Benevolent Fund was able to provide help with utility deposits and rent, which helped the employee to secure a new place to live and buy basic household items such as linens and dishes.

A new UAB employee who was not yet qualified to take leave time required surgery to remove a tumor, which meant she had to be out of work for six weeks without pay. She received assistance from the Benevolent Fund that helped her pay her rent and utilities, and buy food.

And, after another employee’s spouse died after a protracted illness, the Benevolent Fund was able to help the employee with rent, utilities and food. This gave the employee time to grieve, and to make necessary adjustments to the family budget.

The 2007 Benevolent Fund campaign, under way now through April 30, gives each UAB employee a chance to be a HERO. This year’s campaign goal is to increase overall pledges by 7 percent, which would mean a total raised of close to $1.3 million. Fund representatives in each area will contact employees to provide additional information and collect pledge forms. Continuous givers do not have to fill out a pledge form unless they would like to increase the amount of their gift.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to consider contributing at a level appropriate for them. Some common contributions include:
• one hour’s pay per month (just 12 out of 2,080 hours for a full-time employee)
• 1 percent of annual pay per month
• a continuous fixed amount each month
• a one-time payroll deduction or gift by check

“As UAB employees and citizens of Birmingham, ultimately this comes down to helping people around us who really need it,” says, David Precise, UAB Benevolent Fund Manager.?“With my job in particular, I get the chance to look into the eyes of people who receive our assistance, and I am confident in saying that our employee donations make huge impact on people’s lives every single day.

“At UAB, being a HERO really makes a difference.”

The Benevolent Fund is UAB’s own system of supporting charitable, service and health agencies by providing a mechanism for UAB employees to help those in need in the Birmingham area. Decisions regarding the solicitation and distribution of funds are made by a council of UAB employees who are elected by fellow employees to serve two-year renewable terms or appointed by UAB administration to serve indefinitely.

For more information, visit online or call 934-1581.