Frequently Asked Questions
What is the HELP Fund?
The Hardship Emergency Lifeline Program Fund provides grants to qualified staff members who have personally compelling financial needs due to damage or destruction of their housing, a death in their immediate family (parent, spouse, or child) or basic needs caused by urgent and unexpected circumstances. Grants are designed to provide emergency relief on a one-time basis for situations not likely to reoccur.
How does the HELP Fund receive funds?
The HELP Fund is primarily funded through voluntary, tax deductible contributions from our staff members and managers. Additionally, the general public may make donations through the HELP Fund website at www.helpfundgrants.org.
What types of grants are available?
There are three grant types that a staff member may be eligible for depending on the circumstances: Basic Needs, Death of an Immediate Family Member, or Housing Disaster. In the event that a staff member passes away, the restaurant can apply for a grant on the staff member’s behalf to assist the staff member’s family with funeral costs.
Financial hardship grant to provide for basic needs such as shelter, food, utilities and/or childcare when a staff member is unable to work or meet these basic needs due to an unexpected emergency situation. Ongoing medical expenses will generally not be considered for grants.
Up to $1,000.00
Urgent or extraordinary expenses as a result of a catastrophe, natural disaster or accident to a primary residence to include “Qualified Disasters” as defined in sections 139(c)(1), (2) and (3) of the IRS Code.
Up to $2,500.00
Death of a Staff Member’s Immediate Family Member
Expenses related to a death in a staff member’s immediate family member (current spouse, child or staff member’s own parent). Grants are intended for travel and funeral-related expenses.
Up to $1,000.00
Death of a Staff Member
In the case of a staff member’s own death, grants are issued directly to a service provider for funeral-related expenses to assist their family.
Up to $1,000.00
How do I apply for a HELP Fund grant?
You can complete an online HELP Fund application by clicking here. You can also print and fill out the application by clicking here. When submitting your application, you must provide supporting documentation. Once your application is submitted, the HELP Fund Committee will review the request in accordance with our guidelines.
What documentation do I need to apply?
The staff member must provide:
- A description of the cause of the unexpected financial hardship/emergency
- Depending on the financial need, documentation that demonstrates the financial need such as:
- Mortgage/rent statement
- Utility/childcare/grocery bills
- Police report, photos of damaged residence, newspaper or online articles about the event
- Receipts from hotels
- Newspaper or online death notices/obituaries
- Death certificates
- Mortuary bill/funeral home contract showing burial costs/funeral expenses
- Airline receipts
- Attestation of the event and the financial need, as validated by the staff member’s general manager
Does the HELP Fund grant need to be paid back?
Grants are meant to financially assist a staff member after they have had an unforeseen emergency. There is no obligation to pay any money back.
Will a grant be taxed?
The HELP Fund is a 501(c)(3) therefore, grants are tax-exempt.
Do I have to contribute to the HELP Fund to apply for a grant?
All current staff members are eligible to apply for a grant even if you do not currently contribute to the HELP Fund. Staff member contributions are completely voluntary.
How many times can I apply for a grant?
A staff member can apply for each grant type once per year.
I just applied for the HELP Fund. What happens next?
The HELP Fund Administrator will process each staff member’s application and provide the necessary documentation to the HELP Fund committee for review. If approved, our grants organization, United Charitable, will process the funds and the requesting staff member’s General Manager will be notified of the approval. If the committee feels the circumstances do not meet HELP Fund guidelines, your General Manager will be informed as well.
How is a decision made?
The HELP Fund Administrator will review all incoming applications and screen requests for eligibility in accordance with our guidelines.
If I qualify for the grant, how long will it take to receive the money?
It can take anywhere from 7-10 business days to receive the grant.
Can I apply for more than one category?
Yes, a staff member can apply for each grant type once per year, however, the same unforeseen emergency cannot qualify for two different grants. For example, if the staff member’s spouse passes away, this circumstance will be considered a Death of an Immediate Family Member category. A staff member would not be able to also apply for Basic Needs for the same situation.
How much is a grant?
Staff members applying for a Basic Needs or Death of an Immediate Family member grant are eligible for up to $1,000. Staff members applying for a Housing Disaster grant are eligible for up to $2,500.
How can I contribute to the HELP Fund?
Staff members may contribute on a reoccurring basis through regular payroll deductions. Those wishing to contribute can change the amount of their payroll contributions to the HELP Fund in PeopleCenter. Click here for instructions.
Any contribution to the HELP Fund is purely voluntary and participants may start or stop reoccurring contributions at any time. Anyone wishing to contribute to the HELP Fund on a one-time basis can do so by going to our donation page. Click here.
I applied for the HELP Fund, but I don’t need assistance anymore, what do I do?
You can email email@example.com, inform your General Manager, or call 818-880-5791.
Who do I contact if I have other questions?
For other questions, please contact the HELP Fund Administrator by emailing helpfund@TheCheesecakeFactory.com or calling 818-880-5791.