FWC Employee Disaster Relief Fund Criteria

This document revises and updates the December 29, 2005 document, "FWC Employee Disaster Relief Fund Criteria." This update expands the scope of the Employee Disaster Relief Fund (EDRF) to include house fires. In addition, the update specifies that donations to the EDRF are tax-deductible. Revisions to this document were based on majority vote of the EDRF Board of Directors.

Guiding Principles

  • The primary mission of the FWC Employee Disaster Relief fund is to provide immediate cash assistance to FWC employees in the wake of a natural disaster or a house fire. 
  • The fund may also assist affected employees with utilities, rent or house payments in certain situations.
  • The goal is to help FWC families in need without creating a mini-bureaucracy.
  • Nothing contained in these criteria shall be construed to delay the expeditious payment of funds to FWC families in need. Urgency is of the essence.
  • The funds collected shall be spent in accordance with these criteria. 

1)  Name of the Fund

This is to be called the "FWC Employee Disaster Relief Fund," hereinafter referred to as "the Relief Fund" or "the Fund."

2)  Purpose of the fund 

  1. The purpose is to provide emergency funds to FWC employees and their families in the wake of a house fire or a natural disaster such as hurricane, tornado, flood, or wildfire.
  2. Funds are intended for employees in immediate need of basic life essentials such as food, clothing and shelter.
  3. This is not intended to replace other forms of disaster assistance. Rather, this is to provide immediate aid to FWC families in need before other forms of aid become available.

3)  Eligibility

In order to receive financial assistance from the Relief Fund, all of the following eligibility criteria must be met:

  1. The affected person(s) must be an FWC employee (FTE or OPS), or surviving family members who lived with the employee in case of fatality.
  2. The affected person(s) must either have suffered a loss of habitation by total destruction or by damage which renders a structure uninhabitable, or be without life sustaining necessities, such as food, water, medicines or medical services.

4)  Administration

  1. The EDRF Board shall have final authority over decisions regarding use of relief funds. The EDRF Board requested the FWC Senior Leadership Team (SLT) oversee the distribution of the funds. 
  2. The SLT has chartered a team consisting of regional directors. 
  3. It is anticipated that FWC employees and closely related stakeholders (Commissioners and Board Members) will be the primary donors to the fund. 
  4. While the focus is on FWC employees helping each other, the fund will accept donations from sources outside of FWC as well.
  5. The Wildlife Foundation of Florida (WFF) shall serve as the repository of all relief funds. 
  6. The EDRF shall designate the five FWC regional directors to serve as agents of the Foundation for purposes of the relief fund.   

5)  Use of Fund

  1. Primary Assistance
    1. Relief funds shall be disbursed in the form of cash grants to eligible employees/survivors. 
    2. The initial cash grant amount shall be $300. Funds are intended to meet immediate needs for food, clothing, shelter, medicine or medical services.
    3. The intent is to provide immediate cash assistance before other sources of aid (such as the American Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency) become available. 
  2. Supplemental  Assistance
    1. If sufficient funds exist, additional disbursements may be given for "Supplementary Assistance."
    2. The purpose of supplementary assistance is to make temporary payment of employee's utility bills, rent or house payments.
    3. Supplementary assistance will be granted in cases where the employee can not pay his/her bill(s) due to loss of work time (especially OPS) or have exhausted all of their monetary assets to pay for other emergencies (home repair, food, shelter, or medical services), and when failure to pay these bills would result in loss of essential shelter or transportation. 
    4. In cases of regional disaster, such as a hurricane, supplementary assistance shall be granted only after all needs for primary assistance have been met. 
    5. The Relief Fund's ability to provide supplementary assistance may be limited by a lack of available funds.

6)  Funding Mechanism (for Primary and Supplemental Response)

  1. Requests for funding assistance must be directed to the appropriate regional director or agent. 
  2. Requests will be accepted via any means practical. 
    1. This may include a request made directly or indirectly by any employee, either on their own behalf or the behalf of others. 
    2. The request may be verbal (face-to-face), via phone call, email, or any other available means, such as a Special Operations Group (Law Enforcement) team dispatched by FWC to their location.
  3. A regional director or agent, upon becoming aware of an employee and/or their family in need, may grant funds to the affected employee without receiving a direct request.
  4. Verification of Eligibility
    1. The regional director or agent shall determine whether the request is eligible under these criteria. 
    2. Input from other regional directors or agents may be solicited in cases where the eligibility of a particular request is uncertain.  This should be accomplished by the most expeditious means possible (teleconference, email).
  5. The agent shall deliver funds to the affected employee(s) as soon as is practical.
  6. For cases where a reasonably prudent person would assume that a natural disaster is imminent (i.e., a strong hurricane is forecast to strike a region within 24-36 hours), the regional director shall perform the following in advance:
    1. Visit any banking ATM to obtain immediate cash funds from the Fund's bank account via the Visa debit card. The regional director is authorized to withdraw up to $3,000, (maximum of $300 per family) enough to provide primary assistance to 10 families.
    2. Any portion of such advance funds that is not expended by the regional director or agent shall be returned to the Foundation's CFO in the form of a money order or check.

7)  History Notes

  1. December 29, 2005 - This document revises and updates the September 1, 2004 document entitled FWC Employee Hurricane Charley/Frances Relief Fund Criteria. This update expands the scope of the Relief Fund to include natural disasters such as tornados, floods, and forest fires. In addition, it expands the use of Relief Funds to cover payment to FWC employees (or their families) for utility bills, housing rent, or house payments under certain circumstances. Revisions to this document were based on majority vote preferences of FWC employees who contributed to the Relief Fund and participated in a May 2005 survey regarding how remaining funds should be used in the future.
  2. June 14, 2006 - This document was revised to allow FWC employees to received relief funds if they are without life necessities such as food, water, medicine or medical services as a result of a natural disaster.  In addition, the document was revised by the Board to increase the amount that may be withdrawn from the fund by regional directors in anticipation of a storm or disaster event from $1,500 to $3,000.
  3. June 30, 2008 - This document was revised to update the June 14, 2006 document entitled FWC Employee Disaster Relief Fund Criteria. This update expands the scope of the Relief Fund to include house fires. In addition, the update specifies that donations to the EDRF are tax deductible and that the Foundation maintains the bank account for the Fund's donations. Revisions to this document were based on a majority vote of the EDRF Board of Directors.

8)  Adoption

The amended Criteria were adopted by the EDRF Board of Directors this 30th day of June, 2008.

Approved by: (Nick Wiley, President)
Approved by: (Will Bradford, Vice President)
Attested by: (Kathleen Hampton, Secretary/Treasurer)

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