Skip to main content

This Program Supports Employees When They Need It Most

CERF 062024

Whether facing a personal emergency, natural disaster or unforeseen hardship, the Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF) stands as a testament to the company’s dedication to supporting employees when they need it most. 

One of the many benefits of working at Cox is the Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF), an in-house 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to aiding Cox employees and their families in times of crisis. 

The fund was started in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to help employees recover from different types of natural disasters, including fires, floods and tornadoes. Since then, the fund has expanded to help employees with the financial hardship related to other unexpected events, such as an illness or injury, a death in the family and unemployment. 

“This is an excellent resource — and it reinforces the fact that we are truly here to take care of each other,” said Adrana France, who manages the fund. “Life can happen to any of us at any time, and this is here for you when you need it most — and it’s our pleasure to help you.” 

Here’s a closer look at how this employee relief fund works, the impact it has on people’s lives and how it shows Cox’s values in action. 


Caring for people 

Adrana came to Cox in 2014 as the first person to work full-time for CERF. One of her most significant improvements in administering the fund was making the process approachable and compassionate for applicants. 

“It was very important to me to talk to the actual employees going through it,” Adrana said. “I wanted to establish a human touch. You’re not being treated like another number or another application.” 

Getting to know each case more intimately also allows Adrana and her team to get a better sense of how to best help each person, and in turn, make the greatest impact with the fund. 

“For example, I could break my leg and be out of work for three months, and you could break your leg and be out of work for three months, but it affects our households completely differently,” she said. “That’s kind of the gray area that we work in every day.”   


For us, by us 

As an internal nonprofit, CERF relies on donations from employees to help when employees need it most. These donations go directly to employees impacted by financial hardships. Both active and retired employees of Cox can apply for support. 

“This program is for us, but it’s also funded by us, so it’s a two-fold relationship,” Adrana said. 

Since its inception back in 2005, CERF has distributed more than $16 million dollars to aid more than 6,000 employees.  

Over the last 10 years, Adrana has had a front-row seat to the difference CERF has had on people’s lives.  

Like the employee whose daughter ended up in the hospital while traveling overseas, and CERF provided the money she needed to get to her daughter. Or the employee who suffered a traumatic loss in her home and CERF helped her find a place to stay while she sold her house to start over. 

“In the midst of grieving and processing and trying to figure out what to do, the least we could do is help resolve the finances because then you can actually be present and focus on what you need to do for your family,” Adrana said. 

Recently, another employee reached out for help after his mother passed away and missed the deadline on paying off his property taxes while in the middle of covering funeral expenses. 

“There's no way we’re going to let an 80-year-old employee who’s been working his whole life lose his home due to something that's less than $5,000,” she said. 

CERF is also available to part-time employees, which was lifechanging for an employee who received about $12,000 in assistance to pay off the insurance and other damages in his home after a hurricane. 

“He was overwhelmed with how much support he received because he’s a retiree who just casually got this part-time job for extra pocket money,” Adrana explained. “Now to see that this part-time job helped his family recover from this huge disaster and move forward with repairs just meant so much to him.” 


Cox’s values in action 

CERF is part of our commitment to making Cox not just a place to work, but a community that cares.  

As someone who needs to make a lot of case-by-case decisions with how to manage the fund, Adrana appreciates that she has the freedom to think outside the box to help as many people as possible.

“When you work for an organization that makes caring for one another a part of the culture, and you feel it every day, it makes you feel more secure and empowered to do the right thing,” she said. “I don't have to go through 15 people to get approvals to do the right thing.” 

When Adrana joined in 2014, the program was giving out about $400,000 a year in assistance; that amount has increased to about $1.1 million a year. 

“It’s the best job here at Cox, and I feel like this is a part of my purpose,” she said. “It’s exceeded everything I imagined, and I still have a heart to do more. I’m just getting started.” 


Want to become part of our team? Explore jobs at Cox and sign up for our Talent Community today!

Related Articles

View All Stories
Cox Gigs 01222024
Life at Cox

Success Stories From the Cox Gigs Program