Posted on: September 11, 2019
Dollar Energy Fund presented one Betty Ann Simon Memorial Award and three Golden Eagle Awards at our Annual Luncheon held on Friday, September 6, 2019. Roxanne Squillante and Joe Ott, members of Dollar Energy Fund’s Board of Directors, both had the pleasure of announcing the 36th Annual Luncheon award recipients at this year’s event. These awards are granted each year to individuals and organizations that have worked to bring Dollar Energy Fund’s mission to life. These people and groups care deeply about the limited-income community we serve and spent countless hours promoting their welfare and striving for their benefit.
2019 Betty Ann Simon Memorial Award Recipient: Morgan O’Brien, Peoples Natural Gas
The Betty Ann Simon Memorial Award, named for Dollar Energy Fund’s founder, is given each year to an individual or organization for making significant contributions to the limited-income community through advocacy, limited-income program advancements, program creation, and program funding attainment.
For his contributions to our organization and the community at-large, we were proud to present Morgan O’Brien with this honor. As Chief Executive Officer of Peoples Natural Gas, Morgan O’Brien has channeled his leadership and compassion to impact the culture of his organization, particularly regarding how employees view the importance of limited-income programs and how the company supports the communities it serves. Morgan looks at those in the community who face challenges and approaches their needs with compassion because he knows any one of us could be in their shoes. Whether he’s supporting a cause personally or Peoples is participating in an initiative to help the region in the long-term, his compassion sends a message to his employees, inspiring them to do more to make a difference for those in need, find new ways to reduce barriers and expand programs, and increase outreach in the community.
Peoples has partnered with Dollar Energy Fund for more than 35 years and the company has significantly increased its engagement, promotion and collaboration with Dollar Energy Fund in the years that Morgan has led the organization. He also understands that those struggling to pay for utilities are often struggling to afford other basic needs, such as rent or food. His desire to support these needs led to a key partnership between Peoples and United Way’s 2-1-1. This important collaboration allows for a holistic approach to helping stabilize households and improve our community as a whole.
Each year, Morgan leads the fundraising efforts for Dollar Energy Fund’s Cool Down for Warmth event. Not only does he set the bar high for funds raised, he visits the ice house, often early in the morning before he starts his work day, to raise awareness for the cause because he truly believes in the importance of making Hardship grants available for those struggling to afford their utility service. Over the last five years, his personal fundraising efforts through the Cool Down for Warmth campaign have resulted in $153,000 in utility assistance for 440 households in this region. Through his many initiatives, both personally and through Peoples, it’s clear that Morgan is invested in supporting limited-income communities and his efforts have resulted in a significant impact on our region and beyond.
The first Hardship Program assistance grant of the 2019-2020 program year will be made in the name of Morgan O’Brien to commemorate his selection as the 2019 Betty Ann Simon Memorial Award winner. Congrats, Morgan!
2019 Golden Eagle Award Recipients
The Golden Eagle Awards provide an opportunity for Dollar Energy Fund to recognize our partners and friends who soar above and beyond for Dollar Energy Fund and our limited-income clients. This year, our winners have made a significant impact for our organization and in their communities, and we were grateful to have the opportunity to recognize them.
Devin Cunningham, Center for Community Resources | “In his role at Center for Community Resources, Devin strives to provide solutions for those who are in need of utility assistance and breaks down the barriers that prevent them from getting the assistance they need, including working after hours and on weekends to process applications for Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program, and going into the community to help those in need complete applications, especially for those who live in rural areas or lack transportation. He has organized outreach events focused on utility assistance programs and treats those he encounters with dignity and respect while providing a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment.”
Ed Peterson, Holy Family Institute | “Ed has spent more than 20 years assisting clients through connecting them with Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program. Each year, as the October 1st start of Dollar Energy Fund’s program year approaches, Ed prepares by identifying existing clients who are considered vulnerable or who may lack transportation, then he reviews their eligibility status for Dollar Energy Fund assistance and proactively reaches out to them to help them complete an application. He’s always willing to travel to clients to ensure everyone has the opportunity to apply for assistance. And, he conducts thorough follow-up to ensure all documentation is provided in a timely manner. He also delivers hygiene kits and grocery store gift cards to these individuals and families as a way to provide tangible and immediate support. Ed had a hand in assisting Holy Family Institute process the most Dollar Energy Fund applications of all agency sites in Pennsylvania this past year.”
Family Crisis Support Services | “This community-based agency partner works tirelessly to combat the transportation issues in its five-county service territory. Centered in Norton, Virginia, Family Crisis Support Services reaches the rural communities by traveling to clients’ homes, many over an hour from their offices, to ensure they have access to utility assistance programs and other services. They also provide food boxes, thrift store vouchers and hygiene kits to households because they realize how few public transportation options are available to help those in need obtain necessities.”
Congratulations to all of our 36th Annual Luncheon award recipients! Click here to read more about the event.