RK Cares Associate Hardship Program

The RK Associate Hardship Program is administered by Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

The purpose of this charitable program is to help Rural King associates and team members who are experiencing economic hardship and are unable to afford housing, utilities, and other basic living needs because of a qualified natural disaster, life-threatening or serious illness or injury, death, or other catastrophic or extreme circumstances beyond the associate's control.


All RK Administrative Services, LLC associates and team members who are currently employed part-time or full-time for at least 60 days prior to submitting an application AND have experienced a qualifying incident (see below for definitions) within 60 days of the date of application. An associate can only be approved for assistance once within a twelve-month period.


The maximum grant amount available for assistance is $5,000 for a death incident and $2,500 for all other qualifying incidents; however, grant amounts vary based upon the nature of the qualifying incident and related expenses. Awards from the fund are intended to assist the recipient associate through the crisis; they are not intended to make the associate whole. All payments are made directly to your vendors as bill payments for mortgage, utilities, and other basic life expenses; assistance funds are not sent directly to associates. Grants cannot be made to pay for non-essential expenses, legal fees, accumulated financial issues, or credit card debt.

Should I apply for the RK Cares Associate Hardship Program?

Answer a couple quick questions to see.
Pre-qualification Questions

  1. 1. Have you been employed part-time or full-time for 60 days or more? (Yes/No)
  2. 2. Have you experienced a qualifying incident (see definitions) in the past 60 days that has affected your ability to afford housing, utilities, and other basic living needs? (Yes/No)

If you answered yes to both questions, please complete an Application for Assistance. If you have questions on the definitions of the qualifying incidents or any other eligibility requirements, please contact our dedicated RK Cares Hardship Program Relationship Manager by text/phone at 217-253-8939 or hardship@enrichingourcommunity.org.

How do I apply for the RK Cares Associate Hardship Program?

Follow the steps outlined below to get started.
Pre-qualification Questions

1. Applications for Assistance can be downloaded and printed from the bottom of this page. If you need assistance in accessing or printing the application, please contact your Administrative Coordinator, Manager, or the RK Cares Hardship Program Relationship Manager.

2. In addition to the application, you will need to submit a copy of your household paystub(s) and required documentation related to the qualifying incident.

3. Complete applications and required attachments/documentation should be submitted to the RK Cares Hardship Program Relationship Manager one of the following ways:

a. Scan/Email to hardship@enrichingourcommunity.org
b. Fax: 217-342-4995
c. Mail: RK Cares Associate Hardship Program, PO Box 1211, Effingham, IL 62401

4. The RK Cares Hardship Program Relationship Manager will notify you that your application has been received.

5. The RK Cares Hardship Program Relationship Manager will review your application and determine if you are approved, denied or if more information is needed to make a decision.

6. If approved for assistance, a Vendor Payment Request Form will be sent to you via email and text. The Vendor Payment Request Form will include instructions on submitting copies of bills for payments.

7. Vendor payment(s) will be processed within five (5) business days of receipt of your request.

8. You will receive notification of all vendor payments and amounts that have been granted.

9. We also hope that you will consider sharing a testimony of how the RK Cares Associate Hardship Program has helped you in your time of need. Testimonies will provide education to other associates and encourage them to apply in their own time of need and/or to support this charitable program.

Who do I contact for help or to answer questions?

Pre-qualification Questions

If you need help deciding if you should apply, accessing the application or completing your application, please reach out to your dedicated RK Cares Hardship Program Relationship Manager at hardship@enrichingourcommunity.org or call/text at 217-253-8939.

Definition of Qualifying Incidents:

Please see the definitions below for qualifying incidents

This includes but is not limited to: a wildfire, flood, tornado, hurricane, severe storms, or earthquake, that have damaged or destroyed the associate's primary residence or have required the associate to evacuate their primary residence. The fund cannot pay to repair other property and cannot pay to replace non-essential items, such as electronics or furnishings. Photographs or insurance reports may be required.

Life-Threatening or Serious Illness or Injury

For the associate, spouse or domestic partner, and eligible dependent(s) who have medical incidents that require hospitalization or extensive time off work. The fund is not a substitute for medical insurance and is not intended to cover insurance deductibles. Associates do not automatically qualify for a grant when they, or their dependents, are diagnosed with or suffer a life-threatening or serious illness or injury. There must be resulting financial need including an inability to pay basic living expenses. IRS tax documentation may be required to verify dependent status. Doctor confirmation or medical documentation will be required.


This includes the death of the associate, spouse, domestic partner, or eligible dependent(s). The loss of income, cost of burial or funeral expenses, or resulting medical bills prevents an associate or the associate's family from affording basic living expenses. Copy of the death certificate or obituary will be required.

Catastrophic or Extreme Circumstances

This includes but is not limited to: fire, major home damage that could not be prevented, serious crime against the associate (robbery, arson, assault, domestic abuse, extreme vandalism), or another reportable incident beyond the associate's control that impacts the ability to afford basic needs. Catastrophic or extreme circumstances do not include: credit card debt, home foreclosure, wage garnishment, bankruptcy, child support payment, car repair, taxes, or accumulated financial distress. Police, Fire or other official incident report may be required.

How to apply

You may apply one of 2 ways
Paper Application

Click here to open and print a paper application

Online Form

You may choose to use an online form to complete your application.