Donating to the BEN Fund Could Be the Most Important Gift You Make in 2014

By Tim Klepper, Director of Compensation and Benefits
Methodist Health System

At Methodist Health System, we care. We care for our patients and their families. And we care for each other. In fact, many feel that our deep, unwavering compassion is one of the defining characteristics of our culture that sets us apart from other health care organizations. At the heart of this philosophy is the Basic Employee Needs (BEN) Fund.

Administered by Methodist’s human resources employee benefits team and coordinated by the Methodist Health System Foundation and a committee that comprises employees from all divisions throughout Methodist, the BEN Fund is an emergency lifeline for employees who are facing a financial hardship due to an unexpected crisis. What is a hardship? It is an unexpected large expense and/or loss of usual household income caused by an emergency or crisis. Grant requests from employees are considered only after all other resources — insurance, leave benefits, other forms of compensation, and personal savings — have been exhausted or are not available.

How important is the BEN Fund? Consider this: Since January 2013, the fund has received more than $226,000 in donations and has provided financial support to 92 grant recipients. Staff members who have worked for Methodist for at least six months and medical residents and graduate students on Methodist’s payroll are eligible to apply for a BEN Fund grant.

The 92 grant recipients have faced a variety of personal crises resulting in financial hardship. From uninsured loss of homes due to fire, flood, or tornados to expenses from extended illnesses that have drained the employees’ PTO and leave benefits to funeral expenses for an employee’s family member, BEN Fund grants have meant the difference between despair and hope. I’ve seen it first hand. Knowing that a fellow employee can benefit from the generosity of his or her co-workers is heartwarming and embodies the Methodist spirit.

Applying for a BEN Fund grant is easy. The application form is on the Methodist intranet site or can be obtained from human resources. After the employee has completed the grant application, human resources documents the request, submits it to the committee for review, receives the committee’s decision, and processes all approved grant funds. The committee can decide, based on the grant requestor’s personal circumstances, to award the maximum grant of $2,500 or any amount up to the maximum. The committee’s
decision is final.

Some of the most memorable grants have been to employees who have been on the brink of losing their homes due to eviction or foreclosure. The ability to help someone keep a roof over his or her head is priceless, and that’s why it’s so wonderful to see the BEN Fund grants in action.

How can you help assure that the BEN Fund will be around to help many more Methodist employees? The generosity of our employees is in the fabric of our culture. In fact, the fund depends on donations from individuals including employees, staff members, and friends of Methodist. All gifts are tax-deductible and any amount is welcome.

As we enter this season of giving, let us give thanks for the generous, caring colleagues we work with day in and day out. These are the individuals who sustain the BEN Fund and help it grow so it can meet the needs of others in the future.

If you’re ready to join an organization that cares for its employees as much as it cares for its patients and their families, then choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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