Emergency Fund: A Little Bit of Help that Goes a Long Way

A little bit of help

It doesn't take much to make a difference in another person's life and help him get out of a hard place - a bus pass for mobility and to find work; dental care to eat better and stay healthy; a summer camp to socialize and gain self-confidence. "One's needs may fail to meet the criteria of various funds, despite the best intentions and good will of the workers. The Vitæ Foundation's emergency fund was created for such cases," explained Brigitte Lambert, the director of the Vitæ Foundation.

Brigitte Lambert, director of the Vitæ Foundation

Concrete needs

This fund of last resort is accessible to frontline workers, primarily to social workers at the CLSCs, who use it in their interventions. The emergency fund is used to respond to numerous immediate needs which have a direct impact on the lives of the beneficiaries - purchasing a mattress to help a woman get settled in a dwelling as soon as possible in order to escape domestic abuse; providing a pair of glasses to a child so that he or she can see the chalkboard and succeed at school, and so on.

"A $10,000 envelope is available each year " said Brigitte Lambert. "It isn't so much the monetary value that matters as much as the impact the money may have on the life of the individual".

A well-established process

The worker files the request for aid (not the beneficiary) and submit it to an employee volunteer committee with the health care and social services network. "It is important that the frontline workers who are familiar with the users' cases file the requests with us and review them. "We make sure that the emergency fund is used for the right reasons and with the right persons" said Ms. Lambert. "Our aid makes a difference. Both workers and users appreciate having this additional tool available to them."

A French version of this document was published in La Tribune during the annual fundraising campaign.

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