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The Brave of Heart Fund

They protect
our families.

So let's protect theirs.

Donate today

The New York Life Foundation is matching all individual contributions up to $25M.

Verify eligibility

Start the grant process by verifying your eligibility to apply for a Brave of Heart Fund grant.

About the Fund

Together, New York Life and Cigna, through our foundations, created the Brave of Heart Fund, dedicated to providing healthcare workers and their families with peace of mind. The Fund is designed to provide financial support in the form of charitable relief grants to support the families of healthcare workers who lose their lives to COVID-19.

In addition, Cigna behavioral health will provide emotional support and services.

If you have a lost a family member who is a healthcare worker to COVID-19, please verify your eligibility to apply now.

Verify eligibility

Start the grant process by verifying your eligibility
to apply for a Brave of Heart Fund grant.

Coping with COVID-19

Cigna has made available a range of resources to support behavioral and emotional health and well-being. Available to anyone facing challenges related to COVID-19, these resources include advice for coping with stress, fear and anxiety, living with grief and loss, building resiliency, self-care and relaxation techniques, as well as finding childcare and financial best practices in uncertain times. Special topics and on-demand webinars are created especially for healthcare workers.

Find more at Cigna COVID-19 Resource Center

Mindfulness program

Front-line workers can suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. That’s why Cigna launched its Mindfulness for Healthcare Workers program.

It provides training in mindful stress management, acceptance and compassion for all healthcare workers and families.

Live guided-relaxation by telephone will be available.

Tuesdays, 4:00 PM Central Time.
Call-in number: (866) 205-5379

An automated voice will ask you for a passcode: enter 113 29 178 then press #.

Pre-recorded podcasts are available here.


$100 M+

With support from individuals and organizations, our goal is to provide more than $100M in financial assistance.

$50 M

Brave of Heart Fund, powered by E4E Relief, seeded by $25M contributions by the founding donors, the New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation.


The New York Life Foundation will match the first $25M in individual contributions to the Fund.

Our Supporters

In addition to the New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation, contributions to the Brave of Heart Fund come from many other individuals, foundations, and corporate supporters. With their help, we'll ensure that the families of front-line workers are cared for in their time of need.


Heroes ($2.5M+)

Bank of America

Responders ($500k - $2.499M)

Grief Resources

For 175 years New York Life has helped families in times of grief, and now is no exception. That’s why we're providing a variety of resources to assist grieving families.

Research shows that families who lose a loved one wish they had more support available to them. As a corporate leader in providing childhood bereavement support, New York Life stands ready to help both financially and emotionally, having donated nearly $16 million to educational and bereavement programs in 2019.

Access New York Life’s bereavement resources

Share, Love and Support

Please spread the word - especially with those you know on the front lines - and help us take care of those who take such good care of us.


Making News

The Brave of Heart Fund is making an impact - and local and national media has noticed. Browse the media coverage of our Fund.

Media coverage


With this new initiative comes many questions. We are here for you.
Please review the frequently asked questions below.

What is the Brave of Heart Fund?

The Brave of Heart Fund was established to provide monetary grants to eligible family members of frontline healthcare workers and healthcare volunteers who lose their lives because of COVID 19. The cash grant awards will provide basic and continuing financial support for common needs, such as funeral costs, medical care, counseling, food, educational expenses of children and other dependents currently in school, mortgage or rent payments, and immediate living expenses, as these family members manage the impact of the COVID 19 crisis and begin to move forward.

Why did the New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation create this Fund?

The New York Life Foundation and Cigna Foundation have created the Fund with the hope of raising more than $100 million to support the families of frontline healthcare workers and healthcare volunteers who lose their lives fighting COVID 19. The Fund honors the families of healthcare workers and volunteers who go to hospitals and medical facilities every day, knowingly putting themselves in harm’s way while working with COVID 19–positive patients. The Fund is our way to support these courageous workers’ and volunteers’ families during their time of need and demonstrate our appreciation for their sacrifices during the pandemic.

Who can apply for a grant through the Fund?

The intention of the Fund is to help meet the financial needs of the surviving family of an eligible healthcare worker who has lost their life from a cause related to COVID 19. Eligible family members include a spouse or domestic partner, a dependent child, or dependent parent. The intention is to prioritize the needs of the surviving spouse or domestic partner. You can verify your eligibility to apply for a grant by submitting the required documentation on the Fund’s website here https://braveofheartfund.smapply.io/. Grant awards are discretionary and will be based on a determination of need by E4E Relief, which is the public charity who owns and administers the Fund.

An “eligible healthcare worker” is a healthcare worker or healthcare volunteer who lived in the U.S. at the time of death and worked or volunteered in or for a licensed hospital, medical center or clinic, nursing home, medical transport vehicle, triage center, or other licensed medical facility, provider or setting, or who worked or volunteered as an emergency medical technician, ambulance technician or paramedic, in the U.S., and died from COVID-19–related causes at any time through May 15, 2021, including doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, cafeteria workers, custodians, emergency medical technicians, and others. The individual must have had exposure to patients with COVID 19 while working or volunteering. The individual did not need to be a licensed medical professional if the other criteria are met. More detail is provided in later FAQs.

How much grant funding will I receive as a grant recipient?

There are two forms of grants that may be available. You may be eligible for an initial grant of $15,000 to alleviate the cost of immediate needs related to funeral costs and other essential household expenses. Only one initial grant is available for each eligible healthcare worker or healthcare volunteer. A second grant may also be available for continuing needs and longer-term expenses for up to six months, subject to income eligibility and documentation of financial need. This second grant is intended to help defray expenses such as, housing, utilities, educational expenses of dependents currently in school, childcare, clothing, food, transportation, counseling, and medical expenses. These grants may range up to $60,000. The exact amount of any grant will depend on a variety of factors including, without limitation, the applicant’s demonstration of financial need and availability of funds. The final determination of grant eligibility and amounts will be made by E4E Relief. Grants and grant amounts are not guaranteed and are subject to availability of funds remaining within the Fund.

Will my donation to the Fund be tax deductible?

Yes, your donation will be tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. You will receive an immediate acknowledgement for donations made online by credit card. For other donations, greater than $250, you will receive a donor acknowledgement letter by mail. The acknowledgement will come from E4E Relief, the owner and administrator of the Fund. E4E Relief is a disaster relief–-focused subsidiary of Foundation For The Carolinas, a Section 501(c)(3) public charity. Please check with your tax advisor for questions about your tax situation.