Frequently Asked Questions

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What does The Foundation do?

  • The Foundation helps Abbott employees and retirees around the world facing difficult financial situations.

  • We provide need-based financial assistance grants and university-level scholarships to Abbott families.

  • Need-based financial assistance grants may be  provided to Abbott families struggling to meet their monthly financial obligations and/or pay their bills.

  • Need-based scholarships may be  provided to to dependents of Abbott employees, ages 17-24, to help ease the burden of college expenses.  Scholarship Program FAQs

  • Stories of lives we’ve impacted and ways we’ve helped Abbott families around the world

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 financially to reach out to us.

  • To be considered for a grant, employees must participate in a financial assessment process and substantiate their financial situation.

  • 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. The Foundation is not a benefit, nor an entitlement.

Is every employee eligible for The Foundation?

  • Not every employee is eligible for our services. To be eligible you need to be a current, regular/permanent employee (full-or part-time) with at least two years of continuous Abbott service – or two years from an acquisition date. Contractors, temporary workers, etc. are not eligible for our services.

  • Retirees/former employees who had at least 10 years of continuous Abbott service, and were at least 50 years old on their last day of employment may retain lifetime eligibility for Foundation services.

  • For complete eligibility information, visit the Financial Assistance or Scholarship Eligibility sections on our website.

How bad does my financial situation have to be before I could get financial 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 review process, we look at your entire financial picture. Factors such as income, savings 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.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

  • You an apply online by clicking here.

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.

What documents will I need to prove my financial situation?

  • The Foundation must substantiate your financial situation to determine if you qualify for a grant. During the assessment process, your financial consultant will request documentation that substantiates:

    • your request (rent, medical bills, etc)

    • financial hardship (family income, savings, other assets, etc)

  • The process relies on an honest and transparent exchange of information so we have an accurate and realistic picture of your situation. If at anytime you can’t provide a required document, or can’t substantiate your information, please inform your consultant.

Is there a certain income range that precludes me from receiving financial 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 financial picture.

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, those who reapply soon after participating in a full financial evaluation will typically not be considered for a grant unless their financial situation has significantly changed or the event is catastrophic.

  • 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 four to six 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?

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

We’re ready to help

For Abbott employees, retirees, and their families, The Clara Abbott Foundation is here to provide compassionate, confidential support in times of need.

In order to provide financial assistance or scholarships, we need to fully understand your situation. Therefore, personal information and various documentation will be requested and required throughout the process. In some cases, we will verify information with HR or Abbott.

Financial Assistance College Scholarships

Have you been impacted by a disaster?

Please contact us at +1-847-937-1090 or 1-800-972-3859 or email us at

Before applying, we ask that you consider three things:
  1. Review the eligibility requirements:
  2. Be prepared to be open, honest, and forthcoming about your specific needs and situation throughout the process.
  3. Any misrepresentation of a situation, including fraud, deceit, or concealment with regard to information on an application or obtained during the consultation process will have consequences as defined by the Abbott Business Code of Conduct.