Tulane and New Orleans are all too familiar with the challenges that communities face in the aftermath of disasters — and Hurricane Ida was no different. Working an average of 12-hour days, many staff members and essential employees in departments such as Tulane University Police Department, Student Affairs, Facilities Services, and Campus Services all jumped into action to care for students and protect our campus in response to the storm. Thanks to these collaborative efforts, the unified Team Tulane spirit proved especially effective in keeping emergency efforts running safely and smoothly.
Beyond the immediate aftermath of the storm, Tulane continued to look for additional ways it could help others recover and rebuild. It quickly became clear that part of this next phase of recovery would mean once again pulling together to assist its own faculty and staff who had experienced damages and displacement due to the storm.
“The first to reach out after the storm was Ginny Wise,” said Jonathan Small, associate vice president for the Office of Human Resources and Institutional Equity. “As the senior vice president for Advancement, Ginny has an outstanding history of philanthropic success, and she didn’t waste any time asking how she and her team could help support. Then the next to call was Dr. Anneliese Singh, associate provost for faculty development and diversity and our chief diversity officer. And the list goes on from there — people all across the university looking for opportunities to help those of our faculty and staff impacted by the storm.”
Thus, with the help of top leadership and fast-acting staff, the Hurricane Ida Relief Assistance Fund was pulled together as a joint effort between Advancement, IT, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Human Resources & Institutional Equity, and the entire senior administration. From there, the biggest challenge was making sure the process ran smoothly.
“Our goal was to make the application process superbly simple for all those eligible to apply. And beyond that, we knew speed of response would be a key metric — making sure we got money into the hands of those who need it as quickly as humanly possible.”
With some simple but thoughtful tweaks to the process — such as auto-population of applicant contact information and TUID in the online application — Tulane was depositing $500 grant payments and/or $1,000 loans into employee accounts within a matter of days.
“There’s no substitute for effective collaboration,” said Small. “It was truly outstanding to witness all of these different departments within the university come together to provide something meaningful to those in need—something that hopefully gave people a bit of relief.”
So far, more than $1 million has been distributed to employees via the Hurricane Ida Relief Assistance Program. Tulane will continue to accept applications from employees impacted by Hurricane Ida through Nov. 1, 2021. For more information, visit: https://hr.tulane.edu/hurricane-ida