We all do our best to prepare for the future. But when the unthinkable happens, some of us may find ourselves needing more help than we ever expected. Cox understands this, and through the Cox Employee Relief Fund, we have created a lifeline of support for when our employees need it most. We also offer assistance to meet other life challenges, such as helping fund a child’s college education.
Hope for Employees, From Employees
Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF)
Cox employees often say that they think of their coworkers as family – and their actions never spoke louder than in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Within 72 hours of the storm, we established the Cox Employee Disaster Relief Fund as a 501(c)(3) organization to assist employees impacted by the hurricane. A source of hope for Cox employees facing hardship was born, funded primarily by donations from Cox leaders and fellow employees.
Today, the Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF) provides financial assistance to employees and their families in need. Recipients are not just those recovering from a natural disaster, but also include those impacted by the loss of an immediate family member, or severe injury or illness not covered by insurance. To date, the fund has distributed over $7 million to more than 2,500 employees.
A few of those stories of caring include:
- Bette Harrison is retired from Cox Media Group. After her husband became ill, she could no longer afford their apartment, but could not pay the cost of moving and securing a new residence. CERF assisted her with resources for her security deposit, furniture, moving expenses and food.
- Tamy Cisero’s son was involved in an accident while away at college, and, tragically, he succumbed to his injuries the next day. CERF assisted Tamy, a Cox Enterprises employee, with travel and lodging expenses.
- Echoing the nonprofit’s origins, in 2016 CERF helped some 245 employees in the aftermath of Louisiana’s worst flooding since Hurricane Katrina, with some $1.2 million in assistance distributed. CERF staff, in conjunction with field HR partners on the ground, worked tirelessly to assist area employees and their families.
Ilina Leff, the wife of Bob Leff, a Cox Business field tech at Cox Communications in Southern California, had suffered from psoriatic arthritis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for more than seven years. After years of suffering from the painful and debilitating condition, she sought treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Bob and the family received assistance for the cost of travel and lodging while she was treated.
Cox Automotive employee Jose Nieto and his wife Rae received assistance when CERF funds helped them purchase a modified van to transport their wheelchair-bound daughter, Stephanie.
Act for Tomorrow: Investing in the Next Generation
Jim Kennedy Scholarship Fund
For Jim Kennedy, helping children of Cox employees realize their college dreams is an important priority. In 2008, he personally established the Jim Kennedy Scholarship Fund. Now in its eighth year, the Fund annually awards ten $10,000 scholarships to high school seniors with a parent or guardian who is a nonexecutive employee and has worked full-time at a Cox company for at least three years. An independent committee selects recipients based on financial need and demonstrated commitment to personal development. The scholarship is automatically renewed for up to three additional academic years, reaching a total value of $40,000, provided the student continues to meet established criteria.
Making Holidays Brighter
Season For Sharing
To help make their holiday season brighter, the Season for Sharing program assists Atlanta-based Cox employees and their families who are experiencing financial hardships. Employees are encouraged to apply for themselves, a family member or a colleague, and checks for up to $500 are mailed in mid-December to help cover holiday expenses.
Now in its 17th year, the Season for Sharing program has provided support to more than 2,500 Cox employees and their families. The 2016 program granted over $197,000 in assistance to 540 employees.