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NU Cares

Our Mission

A Fund for Faculty and Staff in Crisis

For faculty and staff, Northwestern is not just a workplace, it is a community. In times of crisis, a community offers support.  NU Cares is a fund that allows faculty and staff an opportunity to help a colleague experiencing financial hardship due to a medical or catastrophic event. Faculty and staff may contribute to the NU Cares fund by payroll deduction or check, and all contributions are used to assist fellow employees. The Northwestern University Staff Advisory Council, Faculty Senate, and Human Resources established NU Cares in 2010. Colleagues in need may apply for up to $1,000 in NU Cares support.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can furloughed employees apply for assistance?

Yes, a furloughed benefits-eligible employee can apply for assistance. However, applicants are asked to first explore and apply for all funding sources available to them such as unemployment benefits, etc. and to include information regarding all funding sources that have been considered and applied for, and the outcomes on their application.

NU Cares assistance is intended for those experiencing immediate need. Please note: the review committee will take the applicant’s access to other sources of funding, such as unemployment benefits, into account when considering their approval. Contact Evelyn Cordero with questions. 

Who is eligible to apply for NU Cares assistance?

Benefits-eligible employees in good standing are eligible to apply.

Who can contribute to NU Cares?

NU Cares welcomes contributions from any Northwestern University employee. Contributions may be made by payroll deduction, cash, or personal check. If you elect payroll deduction, the amount must be at least $1.

Must I contribute in order to be eligible to apply for assistance?

No. As long as you are a benefits-eligible employee in good standing, you are eligible to apply.

May I deduct my contribution to NU Cares on my income tax form?

No. Contributions to NU Cares are not tax deductible.

Is the money I receive from NU Cares taxable? If so, who pays?

Yes. The recipient of an NU Cares award is solely responsible for paying all applicable taxes.

If I apply for NU Cares assistance, who will know?

Your identity will be known only to the Well-being Office and the Human Resources employee(s) responsible for verifying your employment status and financial information. Otherwise, your identity and the information contained in your NU Cares application are kept confidential. All information will be de-identified before being shared with the review committee.

Who serves on the NU Cares application review committee?

The 15-member volunteer committee consists of members of NUSAC, selected HR/Well-being staff members, faculty members, and non-HR staff members. Their status as committee members is not made public.

Must recipients repay the NU Cares award?


May I reapply for NU Cares assistance if my earlier application was turned down?


May past recipients reapply?

No. At this time, NU Cares provides one-time assistance; previous recipients are ineligible to reapply.

Is any portion of the fund used to pay for administrative costs?

Yes. There is a small administrative fee ($4.75) assessed to each award.

Recipient Testimonials

I am a recipient of the NU Cares award. It was such a blessing to receive this award because it was needed. My grandmother passed and it was extremely important to me for my children and I to attend her services out of state. I applied for NU Cares, the intake process was simple and the intake coordinator was very caring. I would not have been able to go without the NU Cares award. We got the opportunity to see family that we hadn’t saw in years and it was wonderful to celebrate my grandmother’s life without the strain of worrying about finances. The NU Cares award was right on time and I’m forever grateful.

– October 2019