Frequently Asked Questions
What does The Foundation do?
- The Foundation helps Abbott employees and retirees facing difficult financial situations.
- We provide need-based financial assistance grants and university-level scholarships to children of Abbott employees.
- Financial Assistance Grants: Unexpected events such as an illness, injury, or natural disaster can have an overwhelming financial impact on a family. The Clara Abbott Foundation provides need-based financial grants to help Abbott families struggling to afford their basic living needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
- University-Level Scholarships:The Foundation provides need-based, university-level scholarships to dependents of Abbott employees, ages 17-24, to help with college expenses.
What is the most important thing you want us to know about The Foundation?
- You don’t have to face a difficult financial situation alone. We are here to help. We encourage anyone struggling to afford their basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter, to reach out to us.
- Our services are free and confidential.
- The Foundation is very unique in that it exists solely for Abbott families. While we share a close connection to Abbott, and exist solely for Abbott families, we are not funded or managed by Abbott.
Who was Clara Abbott?
- Clara Abbott was the wife of Abbott’s founder who deeply cared about the employees of her husband’s company.
- Before she died she put a provision in her will to establish a “charity” to help Abbott employees. Today this charity is known as The Clara Abbott Foundation.
- Her gift has helped thousands of Abbott employees since 1940; and continues to help thousands each year.
What is the significance of the bridge?
- Clara’s gift connects us all. That connection has been represented with a bridge for more than two decades.
- The bridge also symbolizes how our services can connect people to a better, more financially stable future.
- And a bridge, in general, symbolizes hope and promise for something different…something better on the other side.
Where does The Foundation get its money?
- The Foundation is funded from the portfolio established with Clara Abbott’s original gift of 12,000 shares of Abbott stock.
How does The Foundation meet needs around the world?
- Abbott has a worldwide focus. The Foundation also shares Abbott’s worldwide focus–The Foundation is available wherever Abbott operates.
- To ensure we are meeting the needs of our colleagues around the world, we work closely with local HR and management to ensure our services are relevant and meaningful.
Who should I contact for Foundation information in other languages?
- Our consultants speak a variety of languages, including Spanish and Russian, and many local consultants are available throughout the world to help with translation.
- Our website is also available in several languages, and/or you can email The Foundation and we will facilitate translation.
Is every employee eligible for financial assistance?
- Not every employee is eligible for our services. To be eligible you need to be a current employee with at least two years of continuous Abbott service – or two years from an acquisition date.
- For complete eligibility information, visit clara.abbott.com.
Will I still be eligible for the Foundation after I leave Abbott?
- Employees or former employees who have at least 10 years of continuous Abbott service, and are at least 50 years old may retain lifetime eligibility for Foundation services.
How bad does my financial situation have to be before I could get assistance?
- We look at every situation on an individual basis.
- We encourage anyone facing financial hardship to contact us so we can review their situation and determine how we may be able to assist.
- As part of the financial assistance review process, we look at your entire financial picture. Factors such as savings accounts and assets will help determine whether or not you receive a grant.
- During the process, our consultants will also help evaluate your situation and recommend changes to help you meet your financial goals.
Financial Assistance Grants
How do you define “need,” or financial hardship?
- The Foundation’s definition of financial hardship is any situation that threatens the family’s ability to provide basic living needs such as food, clothing or shelter.
- Also, our assistance is meant to address a short-term need. Most of the assistance we provide is driven by an extraordinary circumstance that created a difficult financial situation for the family.
- Example: One family was unable to pay their medical bills remaining after insurance. We provided short-term assistance to help bridge them to a better financial state.
- Example: an employee’s husband unexpectedly lost his job and they could no longer meet their monthly financial obligations. We helped pay their rent and utilities for two months until they could reassess their new financial situation and make changes to meet their monthly obligations.
I am a very private person, and prefer to keep my financial troubles separate from work. If I use the Foundation, will my manager find out?
- Information provided to The Foundation is kept confidential. Foundation cases are not shared with your manager and they are not part of Abbott records or personnel files.
Is there a certain income range that precludes me from receiving financial/scholarship assistance?
- Not necessarily. Sometimes special situations such as a death of a family member, natural disaster, personal disaster such as a fire or flood, or a special needs child can severely impact a person’s financial situation.
- Income is an important factor in the evaluation, but doesn’t necessarily preclude you from receiving assistance. We look at the whole picture.
You helped my husband and I through a difficult financial time about 5 years ago. Am I allowed to get help again? How many times can I come to the Foundation for help?
- The Foundation recognizes that life can change in an instant. A natural disaster or an illness may completely devastate your financial situation.
- Therefore, we don’t put a limit on the number of times you can come to The Foundation for assistance.
- However, our assistance is not meant to be long-term, and we will not provide grants to sustain an unaffordable situation.
How long does it take to get an answer after you apply for financial assistance?
- It usually takes two to three weeks to get an answer if an employee submits all requested information to The Foundation. If an employee delays providing the requested information, it may take longer. In an emergency such as a natural disaster, utility disconnection or eviction, help may be provided more urgently.
Can The Foundation help me pay my mortgage?
- Possibly, however Foundation assistance is short-term only. We may help with your mortgage if you’re facing a specific situation where it makes it difficult to afford your mortgage for a few months; however, we will not pay a mortgage every month on a home that you can’t afford over the long term.
Will The Foundation look at my financial situation and help me figure out where I can make changes?
- Our consultants meet with people who aren’t in financial trouble, but recognize that they could use some guidance to ensure they remain on solid financial footing.
- Even if you don’t qualify for a financial grant, our consultants will look at your financial situation and give you recommendations to reduce your spending, or help you develop a strategy for a more solid financial future.
College tuition is unaffordable for most parents. Why does The Foundation focus only on financial need?
- Our mission, and Clara’s desire has always been to help those most in need. Therefore, we do not provide scholarships to highly compensated employees.
- While we recognize affording college is not easy – there are some students who wouldn’t be able to attend college if it wasn’t for our help.
Why do some people receive a higher scholarship award than others?
- Award amounts are entirely based on need.
- We encourage everyone who is in need to apply. Our services are completely confidential.
What is the income limit in order to receive a scholarship?
- Income limit varies from year to year.
- Scholarships are awarded based on the pool of applicants.
Does the scholarship grant amount ever increase? How much money would I expect to receive?
- Scholarship amounts vary from year to year and from country to country.
Does The Foundation provide scholarships/assistance to employees seeking higher education?
- Scholarships are available to dependents of eligible employees and retirees worldwide.
- And students must be between the ages of 17-24. Complete eligibility is on our website.
When are the scholarship deadlines?
- The Scholarship deadline in the United States and Puerto Rico is in April of each year. Scholarship deadlines outside the US vary. Please visit clara.abbott.com to see your country’s deadline.