New York Life and Cigna expand eligibility for ‘Brave of Heart Fund’ grants to support families of healthcare workers who lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19.

New York Life | June 15, 2021

The Fund will now accept applications through December 31, 2021 and offer grants to non-dependent children, parents, siblings and grandparents.

The Fund has provided nearly 800 financial grants nationwide to nearly 520 families since May 2020 and is continuing to seek an increased number of grantee applications.

New York - The foundations of New York Life and Cigna today announced that the Brave of Heart Fund (the Fund), which provides monetary grants to the families of heroic healthcare workers and volunteers nationwide who lost their lives in the fight against COVID-19, has extended its application deadline through the end of 2021. The Fund is also expanding its Phase 1 eligibility criteria to include parents, grandparents, siblings and non-dependent children in addition to spouses, domestic partners and dependent children.

In May 2020, the Brave of Heart Fund was launched by the foundations of New York Life and Cigna, alongside charitable partner E4E Relief. To date, the Fund has distributed nearly 800 awards to reach nearly 520 families across 41 states, including Washington, D.C. For families impacted, the Fund provides initial grants of $15,000 to pay for immediate expenses and provides up to an additional $60,000 per family for long-term needs including medical care and counseling, housing, food, transportation and education.

“We launched the Fund to honor the brave frontline healthcare workers and volunteers who put their lives on the line to care for those in need—and have selflessly continued to do so throughout this incredibly challenging year,” said Ted Mathas, New York Life Chairman and CEO. “As we take the next steps in fighting this virus, we know that nothing can replace the millions of lives lost to COVID-19 but we hope to relieve some of the burden by offering financial support to more families who have lost loved ones fighting on the front lines of the pandemic.”

“As more Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine and the reopening of a post-pandemic world seems possible again, we are expanding eligibility in order to reach more families who may require financial and emotional support after losing a loved one who has been on the front lines,” said David Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna Corporation. “We remain committed to doing our part to provide peace of mind for more families during these challenging times.”

“The families receiving these grants are reporting back to us in overwhelming numbers that these funds are providing critical breathing room as they figure out next steps allowing them to focus on their emotional recovery,” said E4E Relief CEO Holly Welch Stubbing. “With the continuation of this program and its expanded reach, we are able to amplify the impact.”

A recent Brave of Heart Fund grantee from Massachusetts reflected on the financial support provided, “The Brave of Heart Fund truly saved my life by providing me assistance after losing my husband. The financial grant I received helped me make payments on my car so I could continue getting to work. Through their assistance, I was also able to maintain payments so that I could stay in the home that my husband and I had lived in for years.”

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission recently recognized the Fund as a conduit to commemorate frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, and, since launching, the Fund has received donations from more than 2,000 additional individuals, foundations and corporations.

For those eligible, the Fund currently is taking grant applications at Families of healthcare workers and volunteers nationwide – including doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, cafeteria workers, custodians, and others – who lost their lives working on the frontlines of the healthcare industry during the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for support from the Fund.                                                                       


New York Life Insurance Company (, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States1 and one of the largest life insurers in the world. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies2.

1Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 6/2/2021. For methodology, please see

2Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 10/15/2020: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).

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Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
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