When Levi Strauss & Co. employee Brian McDonough first volunteered to raise funds for the Red Tab Foundation (RTF), a nonprofit that provides emergency aid to employees and retirees, he never thought that he’d ever be on the receiving end of a grant.
Then his New York apartment building caught fire.
In February, the senior account associate and his wife were jolted awake in the middle of the night by police banging on the door. The couple was rushed outside to wait in 20-degree weather as firefighters worked to quell the flames that had sparked two floors above.
Hours later, the fire had stopped but the damage was done: all the sprinkler water from the hallways had rushed into Brian’s ground floor apartment, submerging his bedroom under a foot of water. To make matters worse, the smell of smoke clung to every item he owned. Though nothing had been seriously damaged, the amount of work that needed to be done was “totally defeating.”
“Everything needed to be cleaned, including our bed, couch and every single article of clothing,” Brian said.
That’s when his friends suggested that he reach out to RTF for assistance. Brian was initially hesitant —“You always feel like it could be worse,” he explained — but decided to apply after taking note of everything that needed washing and his lack of renter’s insurance.
Soon after reaching out to RTF, Brian received an emergency grant for his cleaning expenses — a bill that came out to just under $5,000, he said.
“I can’t get over the reaction time,” Brian said. “It took maybe less than a week for everything to work out. We were so beat up and in shock but the quick support we received allowed for a complete shift in our outlook and a process to get our lives back on track.”
Whether it’s a house fire or falling behind on rent, RTF exists to help LS&Co. employees and retirees suffering through financial hardship, living out our company values of empathy and integrity. This is one of the reasons why, when the Aspen Institute released a first-of-its-kind study on the impacts of employee assistance funds, RTF was recognized as best-in-class.