On the Ground in Puerto Rico: CFNJ Staff Helps BD Employees Apply for Assistance

March 2, 2018

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria – the worst natural disaster to hit Puerto Rico – New Jersey-based medical technology company BD created an employee assistance fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey to provide quick, short-term support to its affected employees in Puerto Rico. The BD Employee Disaster Relief Fund is up and running (click here to learn more), but the sheer volume of need has presented other challenges.

To ensure the fund’s dollars are being put to their best use – in the hands of employees in need – Madeline Rivera and Dayana Toledo-Mendoza of the Community Foundation visited four separate BD locations in Puerto Rico in January to talk with employees and walk through the fund’s application process.

“The devastation on the island is something you feel as soon as you land,” explained Rivera. “To get out into these communities and speak one-on-one with BD employees who are trying to rebuild their homes and their lives was educational for everyone involved. We’re working to facilitate BD’s support of these employees as efficiently as we can, so explaining the process helps make everything run a lot smoother.”

The BD Employee Disaster Relief Fund provides financial assistance for basic necessities to employees of BD who are experiencing a financial hardship as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster such as Hurricane Maria. The Fund can help eligible workers affected by a Qualified Disaster pay for basic living expenses not covered by insurance or help from other organizations including housing, home repair (for primary residence only), food, clothing and other basic living essentials.  The Fund also allows for a donation vehicle for BD associates from around the world to donate funds that they know will go directly to other BD associates in need. The Fund cannot pay to repair other property and cannot pay to replace non-essential items such as electronics.  The intention of the Fund is to help those who have limited financial resources available to them and are experiencing significant pressure on the family’s financial resources resulting from the Qualified Disaster.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey administers the BD Employee Disaster Relief Fund and in its sole discretion determines incident eligibility and award amount.  The Community Foundation staff is available to assist all applicants in the process.