Helping Staff with The Employee Crisis Assistance Program


For Sanford employees facing extraordinary and unexpected financial hardships, the Employee Crisis Assistance Program is a lifeline to hope and healing.

Thanks to the generosity of donors who are passionate about supporting our health care heroes and staff, we’ve provided more than $2 million in assistance to more than 2,100 employees since 2020.

For Leigh Merritt, a customer service representative for Sanford Health Plan in Sioux Falls, the Employee Crisis Program provided critical help during one of life’s darkest moments.

“About a year ago, I was suffering from some serious health issues,” Merritt said. “It was such a difficult time. I reached out to Employee Crisis and received assistance for rent, groceries and gas. That was just a lifesaver for me.”

Now fully recovered, Merritt remains grateful for the support — so much so that she recently made the decision to pay the kindness forward.

On Giving Tuesday, she connected with the Sanford Health Foundation to become an employee donor. Today she supports the work of Sanford Health through our payroll deduction program.

“I’m really humbled and grateful to have received support when I needed it, and I just want to pay that forward now that I’m back on my feet,” she said. “I say on a daily basis that I’m grateful for my job and being able to work with a group of coworkers who all want the best for each other. Everyone is here for each other. Our leaders have been a huge support to me and my family. I’m very lucky and very fortunate to work here.”


  • Assistance Provided in 2023: $274,000
  • Employees Helped in 2023: 207
  • Since 2020: More than $2 million provided to more than 2,150 employees

If you’re inspired by this story and want to support the employee crisis fund, 100% of your gift will provide financial assistance to colleagues who, at no fault of their own, are struggling to meet basic needs, like food and shelter.

As a Sanford Family, we lift each other up in times of need. Help us help our own in times of trial by giving today, or learn more about this fund here.