From hurricane relief to a helping hand for someone across campus, the HCA Hope Fund connects employees in need with those who can provide assistance. In so doing, it creates strong, deep ties across the company.

What began as an informal way of connecting victims of natural disasters with co-workers who wanted to help spawned a bona fide non-profit agency. The Hope Fund is employee-run and supported. As a public charity, its goal is to help HCA employees who have been affected by financial hardship, which can include disaster, extended illness or injury, domestic violence, the death of a loved one and other situations. Employees, vendors, affiliated physicians, doctors, patients and the public can make donations.

The Hope Fund can only be as active as its income allows, and for 2011 that means it was able to do a great deal, said Leigh Clark, Grants Manager.

“We had a 36 percent increase in grants provided in 2011, and distributed more than $1.1 million,” Clark said. “The need is greater than ever, but thankfully our employees and others met that growing need with contributions. They were amazing in 2011, and we hope that will continue in 2012.”

To help expand the Hope Fund’s reach, it has launched an online application process that can be found at www.hcahopefund.org.

“We wanted to be more accessible to individuals who are out of work for illness or injuries,” Clark said. “Before, they had to go to their facility to fill out a paper application. They can still do that, but they can also submit it online. It’s a huge transition for us all, and the paper application still will be available, but we think this has great potential for us.”

For more information on the Hope Fund’s operations and history, visit www.hcahopefund.org.