Year in Review: 2016-2017
Posted on: October 2, 2017
Dollar Energy Fund kicks off a new program year this week, but we can’t stop celebrating the accomplishments we shared together this past year. Our success would not be possible without the constant support from all of our partners, agencies, donors, staff, board members, community leaders, businesses and more. By sharing Dollar Energy Fund’s dedication and passion for helping your neighbors in need, you have allowed us to continue our work for more than 35 years. Let’s take a look back at some highlights of the 2016-2017 program year (October 2016 – September 2017):
- In November, our Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart Campaign kicked off its 8th annual event with a reception at Hearth and Home Furnishings in Zelienople. Efforts to date have brought our eight-year total to more than $130,000, including a generous match from. These funds have assisted gas customers throughout Butler County.
- Dollar Energy Fund began partnerships with the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, and The Clairton Municipal Authority to establish assistance programs for limited-income water/sewage customers.
- Dollar Energy Fund benefited from Duquesne Light Company’s Power It Forward campaign through a 24-hour social media fundraiser that raised $10,000 for families in need. Duquesne Light’s staff also supported us during Kennywood Holiday Lights by collecting donations for more than 400 ornaments, raising nearly $5,000.
- In January, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania hosted a fundraiser for Dollar Energy Fund in partnership with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which donated 50 cents of every Pittsburgh ticket sold to Dollar Energy Fund and WQED, totaling $33,765.
- Our 3rd Annual Cool Down for Warmth in Market Square was held in conjunction with the 2017 NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Warmathon to benefit Dollar Energy Fund. Both events took place on January 31 and February 1. Over these two days, the combined efforts raised $366,000, which helped approximately 1,015 Pittsburgh families maintain or restore their utility service. Our annual Cool Down for Warmth event grew significantly this year with the addition of our Bowls for Warmth Soup Tasting Challenge, a much larger ice house (equipped with a garage, kitchen and bathroom), as well as our new partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The City of Pittsburgh officially declared January 31, 2017, as H20 – Help to Others Program Day. Our partnership with Pennsylvania American Water has assisted customers with their water bills for over 25 years.
- In April, Dollar Energy Fund reached a major milestone by distributing its 500,000th utility assistance grant since our inception in 1983. That’s half a million households across the county that didn’t have to go without heat, electric or water.
- With the help of Peoples Natural Gas, we expanded our partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins by participating in many fundraisers and promotions this season, expanding our reach and awareness in the community. Our Jerseys for Warmth Auction, Fan Appreciation Night Raffle and 50/50 raffle proceeds from the Penguins Foundation raised approximately $80,000 combined this season for local families, including a match from our utility partners. Dollar Energy Fund also participated in the Penguins Golden Ticket promotion in honor of the organization’s 50th anniversary.
- In May, Dollar Energy Fund participated in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #SafetyNetPGH, a one-day Critical Needs Alert fundraiser to seek public support for nonprofit agencies providing essential human services. This year’s #SafetyNetPGH event replaced the foundation’s Day of Giving to focus on assisting people in the region who live in or are at-risk of falling into poverty. Thanks to The Pittsburgh Foundation, our utility partners and individual donors, the event generated $5,800 towards our Hardship Program.
- In June, we welcomed more than 30 foursomes and 117 total guests to the 9th Annual Dollar Energy Fund Golf Classic at Quicksilver Golf Club. This event is a fan favorite, featuring 18-holes of golf, our famous Bloody Mary bar, spiked Rita’s Italian Ice, a delicious lunch and more! This year’s Golf Classic raised over $13,000.
- The day after our Golf Classic, Dollar Energy Fund attended the Pittsburgh EggFest, hosted by Hearth & Home Furnishings in Zelienople. We received $1,075 in proceeds from a Big Green Egg raffle, which was matched by Peoples for a total of $2,150. This amount will go towards our 9th Annual Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart Campaign, which kicks off on November 8, 2017.
- Several members of Dollar Energy Fund’s management team attended the 2017 NEUAC Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during the last week of June. For 29 years, the conference has been the nation’s leading annual meeting of energy assistance leaders. Dollar Energy Fund’s CEO Chad Quinn is currently serving as the Chair of the Governance Board for NEUAC. Dollar Energy Fund took advantage of training and educational opportunities as well as shared experiences, common challenges and successes of effectively operating the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania.
- In June, Dollar Energy Fund rolled-out a new feature in our call center that enables clients to communicate via text messaging as they begin their Customer Assistance Program applications for certain utilities. This streamlines the process for those whose work and family obligations restrict their ability to contact our call center via phone or those who have limited cell phone minutes available.
- In August, Dollar Energy Fund received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charitable organizations. This is the highest possible rating and indicates that the organization adheres to best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way.
- Dollar Energy Fund was selected as a benefiting charity for the ITPS customer appreciation Summer Jam Party at Jergel’s on August 31, 2017. ITPS generously donated a portion of the proceeds.
- A construction project for the expansion of the Customer Contact Center was completed in August. The project included the addition of 38 new workstations in the call center, bringing our total number of available seating to 175.
- Dollar Energy Fund added Instagram to our social media collection. Follow us @DollarEnergyFund!
- Once again this season, Dollar Energy Fund continues its partnership with Pitt Football by sponsoring The Pat Narduzzi Show. We are giving away a weekly VIP package to the show to those who like or follow us on social media. The contest will run until November 21, 2017.
- Last month, Dollar Energy Fund hosted our 34th Annual Luncheon at The Rivers Casino. We recognized the success of our utility partners, agencies, board members, employees, community leaders and supporters. Marty Griffin joined us as our keynote speaker.
- This year, Dollar Energy Fund celebrated milestone years of partnership with the following utility companies:
- Valley Energy – 10 years of partnership
- Columbia Gas of Virginia – 5 years of partnership
- Old Dominion Power Company – 5 years of partnership
- Dollar Energy Fund has adopted “text giving” through our partnership with mGive. This new feature allows donors to give through their phone bill by simply texting a keyword. Want to try it now? Text WARM to 50555 and donate $5 to Dollar Energy Fund.
- Once again this year, Dollar Energy Fund had the opportunity to attend and present at the 2017 Pittsburgh Be Utility Wise Conference in September, organized by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
- Dollar Energy Fund distributed $7.3 million in assistance grants to 30,544 households during the 2016-2017 program year.
- Since 1983, Dollar Energy Fund has distributed more than $142 million in grants to 514,000 households nationwide.
With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2017-2018 program year. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, can make an extraordinary impact by ensuring local, limited-income families maintain or restore safe utility service and get on a path to self-sufficiency. If you would like to get involved during this program year, subscribe to our email newsletters and get the latest updates.
On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we’ve helped, we thank you for your continued support!