Oxy Employee Relief Fund

The Oxy Employee Relief Fund was established by members of the College community in 2020 to support colleagues at Occidental who are experiencing unanticipated or emergency financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leer en español


Apply for Relief Funds

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Donate to the Relief Fund

Donate online*    Payroll deduction

*Please note that this is the standard Occidental giving form. Select “Other” as the gift designation and be sure and type “Employee Relief Fund” in the corresponding text box.


Read a thank you letter from a staff member and recipient of assistance, published in The Occidental student newspaper.


Who is eligible? The fund was originally created to provide financial assistance to active employees and employees who have been furloughed due to COVID-19 whose annualized pay is less than $100,000. Because current funds are limited, we are now accepting applications only from employees who were 50% furloughed during Spring Semester 2021. Students are not eligible for the Employee Relief Fund.

What kind of financial support is available? The fund is intended to support those who have experienced a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The maximum available to each employee who was 50% furloughed during Spring Semester will be a one-time payment of up to $500. (This can be in addition to any previous ERF payment the employee may have received.) Funding is awarded on a case-by-case basis and is contingent on donations and the availability of funds in the Employee Relief Fund account. This means that requests may be fully funded up to the $500 maximum, partially funded, or not funded at all. Funding is not guaranteed to all who apply.

What expenses are eligible to be covered? Consistent with IRS Code section 139, payments from the fund can cover any reasonable and necessary personal, family or living expense incurred due to COVID-19, a federally qualified disaster. Eligible expenses may include rent, grocery and meal deliveries, internet, technology, child care, tutoring, unreimbursed medical expenses, protective items such as hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves, increased utility costs, or other additional expenses related to COVID-19 incurred between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

How can eligible employees apply? You can apply here using this simple application. No submission of receipts is required. All information will be kept confidential. This means that the people who review applications and make decisions about the allocation of funds will not know the name of the person requesting them.  

How are funds distributed? A five-person review committee will make award decision recommendations and notify the Business Office for processing. Committee members (all volunteers) are:

  • Jeff Cannon (faculty)
  • Sylvia Chico (staff)
  • Gabi Rodriguez (student)
  • Linda Schraeder (staff)
  • Jim Tranquada (staff)

Applicants will be informed by a representative of the Relief Fund of decisions on applications, and disbursements will be made through Accounts Payable in the Business Office within 72 hours of approval. While our goal is an expedited review of applications, the time it will take will depend on the number of applications and the timing and amount of contributions received. If you haven’t been notified about the status of your application, it doesn’t mean it has been rejected or overlooked. It simply means that there isn’t enough money available at the time to fund it. Your application will be acted on, and you will be contacted, as soon as sufficient funds are available.

What is the timing of relief payment?  Relief payments are disbursed on a rolling two-week timeline, depending on availability of funds.

How can I donate? Donations can be made by any member of the community by using this online giving form. Please note this is the standard Occidental giving form, so it is important that you select “Other” as the gift designation, and in the corresponding text box, please type “Employee Relief Fund.” In addition, employees can take advantage of the payroll deduction option to set up a recurring donation.

Whom may I contact with questions about the Employee Relief Fund? Questions may be submitted to ERF@oxy.edu.  

Additional FAQs

Q: Will payments impact unemployment?

A: These payments should not impact unemployment benefits.  The California EDD website indicates that “money paid to a claimant for expenses is not considered remuneration for services and, therefore, is not wages.”

Q: Is a Relief Fund payment considered taxable income for the recipient?

A: No.

Q: Are donations tax deductible?

A: Yes.