The Jerseys for Warmth Charitable Action raised more than $64,000 to support Dollar Energy Fund and benefit local families in need of utility assistance. Our utility partners provided a dollar-for-dollar match on all donations and 100% of proceeds will be used to help an estimated 178 local families maintain or restore basic utility service.
Over two dozen Pittsburgh Penguins game-worn jerseys from the team’s 8-4 victory on March 6, 2021, versus the Buffalo Sabres, were auctioned off online. Each jersey was autographed and featured a commemorative patch authentication.
Thanks to everyone who supported the Jerseys for Warmth auction! Click here to view our upcoming fundraising efforts and find out how you can help a neighbor in need this year.
Students at Fairview Elementary School participated in an annual Read-A-Thon to help their neighbors in need. 102 students in Kindergarten through fifth grade read for a total of 31,469 minutes over two weeks and raised $9,018!
The students donated $7,414 to Dollar Energy Fund to provide assistance to families struggling to afford their utility bills due to being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dollar Energy Fund’s utility partners matched all donations dollar-for-dollar. Their efforts will provide approximately $15,000 in utility assistance to local families in need.
Thank you to everyone at Fairview Elementary School who participated in the Read-A-Thon. We’d also like to thank Chick-fil-A for donating free sandwich coupons to each of the participating readers.
On April 19, 2021, Dollar Energy Fund will mark its 38th anniversary of helping our neighbors in need with utility assistance. What began as a small community effort, has grown to become one of the largest hardship funds for limited-income families across the country.
Dollar Energy Fund was founded on April 19, 1983, in Western Pennsylvania by a coalition of concerned community and business leaders.
In 1983, Betty Ann Simon was working as a volunteer for KDKA’s “Call for Action,” a program that helped people find agencies to assist them in solving problems. She found herself inundated with calls from low-income individuals seeking help with their mounting utility bills. Betty Ann was compelled to help, so she reached out to her contacts from various regional religious and social agencies. This led local religious and community leaders to recognize that far too many of their less fortunate neighbors were unable to afford the cost of heat, electricity and water. In response to the growing crisis, a coalition of 24 community leaders formed Dollar Energy Fund.
Dollar Energy Fund was headquartered at Synod Hall in the Saint Paul Cathedral in Oakland. The grassroots effort started contacting utility companies and executives agreed to contribute on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For every dollar raised, the utility company would also give one dollar to help a family in need. During its first year, Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program distributed $397,200 to 1,218 households in Pennsylvania.
Betty Ann worked tirelessly for two decades directly addressing the daily struggles faced by thousands of limited-income households in Pennsylvania. From her position as a founder in 1983, to her active service on the Board until her passing in 2002, she focused on developing ways to immediately provide assistance to families facing difficulties in affording safe and adequate utility service.
Our organization has since grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the country. For 38 years, we’ve served the limited-income community by providing $170 million in utility assistance grants to more than 605,000 limited-income families and individuals.
Dollar Energy Fund began with three utility partners – Duquesne Light Company, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, and Peoples Natural Gas – and 24 community-based agencies in Western Pennsylvania. We expanded beyond Pennsylvania in 2008 with the addition of a Hardship Program in West Virginia. Since then, we’ve extended our reach into Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee and Maryland in 2009; Texas and Louisiana in 2011; Arkansas in 2013; California and Kentucky in 2014; Connecticut in 2016; Indiana in 2019; and most recently, Nebraska in 2020.
Today, our organization administers Hardship Programs for more than 45 utility companies across 14 states. Dollar Energy Fund partners with over 450 community-based organizations throughout our service territory. These organizations handle application intake for our programs while also connecting those in need with other forms of assistance. This approach puts at-risk households in touch with additional services—such as food, childcare and career assistance.
Our Unique Funding Model
As Betty Ann Simon intended, our unique funding model provides a dollar-for-dollar match from our partnering utility companies for almost every donation we receive. The utility companies also make a separate donation to cover our administrative fees, so 100 percent of all individual donations are used to provide utility assistance grants to limited-income households.
Though much has changed since 1983, many aspects of Dollar Energy Fund remain the same. The majority of funding is obtained through private donations and matching utility shareholder credits; each Hardship Program application is reviewed individually; and the focus is still on our clients and the mission of helping neighbors in need.
As Dollar Energy Fund continues to expand, so does the need for utility assistance. Dollar Energy Fund is still working to fulfill its mission of helping families on their path to self-sufficiency. If you would like to help a neighbor in need, please visit www.dollarenergy.org/donate.
Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District have seen a 38% increase in the number of customers requesting assistance with their bills since the pandemic began. The need, while up this past year, is constant in our communities. That’s why the utilities work so hard to generate funds for their assistance programs.
M.U.D. and OPPD are teaming up for the 14th annual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth. It takes place this Saturday, March 6. This year, it’s being held virtually via www.HeatTheStreetsOmaha.com. The event is hosted during the cold winter months to bring attention to those who struggle to keep the lights on and heat their homes.
Virtual one-mile walk price: $25 (Children 12 and under free with paid adult.)
Funds raised through registrations and donations are administered by Dollar Energy Fund and split between M.U.D.’s Home Fund and OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program.
OPPD and M.U.D. encourage participants to complete the 5K run or one-mile walk on March 6 on their own – in neighborhoods, local trails, or even on a treadmill. Participants in the 5K may submit their results online. Awards will be mailed to the first-, second- and third-place male and female runners in each of the following age divisions:
12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+
Help a neighbor in need
As we head into the home stretch, the event has raised nearly $88,000 of its $100,000 goal.
“Donations in support of these programs have a significant impact in the community and further our ability to provide services to those who have nowhere else to turn,” said Chad Quinn, chief executive officer of Dollar Energy Fund.
“The pandemic has had a huge impact on demand for the services we provide,” said Maj. Greg Thompson, divisional commander of the Omaha-based Salvation Army Western Division, one of 41 agencies that partners with the utilities and Dollar Energy Fund. “We’ve seen that practically across the board.”
Inner Rail Food Hall, a collective of individual family-run restaurants at Aksarben Village, 1911 So. 67th St., is also supporting the cause. Now through March 15th, you can purchase a $12 meal to donate to local healthcare heroes working on the frontline of the pandemic. And $4 from each meal purchased will go toward local utility assistance programs.
Matt Taylor, Inner Rail regional director, said since the pandemic started last year, he’s been inspired by watching his vendors, even as they struggled to support their own families and businesses, support their neighbors in need.
“Inner Rail is a supportive place for our internal community, and a welcoming gathering place for our community at large,” he said. “We are so proud to be able to continue this service virtually and contact-free by partnering with Heat the Streets this year.”
Tanya Cook, director, M.U.D. Board of Directors, and Janece Mollhoff, director, OPPD Board of Directors, alongside her husband, Wayne Mollhoff, are co-chairing this year’s event.
“Keeping homes warm and safe has taken on an even higher priority within the last year,” said Director Cook.
Director Molhoff said it’s been wonderful to see so many come together to help lessen the burden for others. “We need to support our communities now and through the recovery.”
Distribution of funding
Funds raised are administered by Dollar Energy Fund, Inc., a registered 501(c)3, and then split between M.U.D.’s Home Fund and OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program to provide local assistance to those in need.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program, a utility assistance program providing grants for limited-income households, opened its 2019-2020 program year on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, and is accepting applications from customers in need of help with their gas, water, electric and sewer bills.
Dollar Energy Fund provides one-time grants to households facing an immediate utility crisis. With help from the program, families in need can receive up to $500 in grant funding that’s applied directly to their utility account to prevent a termination or to restore their service. Households may be eligible to receive one grant for each of their utilities per program year. This program is a fund of last resort, as it goes above and beyond what is available through federal, state and other programs.
“A grant from our Hardship Program allows many of our neighbors in need to maintain or restore basic and safe utility service,” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s Chief Executive Officer. “As we enter into the start of our program year, our goal is to be a resource for the individuals, senior citizens and families who are struggling to afford the costs of their utility bills. The availability of assistance is especially important as we get closer to the winter heating season because it provides a way for families, many of whom have children, to stay warm in their homes during the coldest months.”
Grant funding applications are currently being accepted for customers of the following utilities:
California Water Service Company
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
Indianapolis Power & Light Company
Kentucky American Water
Columbia Gas of Maryland
Maryland American Water
Citizens’ Electric Company
Clairton Municipal Authority
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania
Duquesne Light Company
Met-Ed, a FirstEnergy Company
Penelec, a FirstEnergy Company
Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company
Pennsylvania American Water
Peoples Natural Gas
Peoples Gas Company, LLC (formerly Peoples TWP)
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority
West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company
West View Water Authority
Columbia Gas of Virginia
Old Dominion Power Company
Virginia American Water Company, Inc.
Dominion Energy West Virginia
Mon Power, a FirstEnergy Company
Potomac Edison, a FirstEnergy Company
West Virginia American Water
On November 1, 2019, assistance programs will open for customers of Indiana Michigan Power in Indiana. On December 2, 2019, assistance programs will open for customers of AEP Ohio, Appalachian Power Company in West Virginia and Virginia, and Kingsport Power Company in Tennessee.
Applications for most programs will continue to be accepted on a first come, first served basis through September 30, 2020, or until funds are depleted. Those seeking help should first contact their utility company for eligibility screening and to be referred to a community based agency for assistance with Dollar Energy Fund’s application process. This approach connects households with additional services that may also be available to limited-income households, such as food, childcare and career assistance.
Dollar Energy Fund is a national leader in utility assistance. Since 1983, Dollar Energy Fund’s hardship grants have helped more than 562,000 families maintain or restore safe utility services.
Dollar Energy Fund is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar for dollar by partnering utility companies. Utility customers are also able to contribute a dollar or more to Dollar Energy Fund through their monthly utility bill. Direct donations can be made online at www.dollarenergy.org/donate or by sending a check to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Every donation to Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program is tax deductible and additional support from the utility companies allows for 100 percent of all donations and matching funds to be used as assistance grants to help households in need.
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for a grant from the Hardship Program, or to make a donation to the organization, visit www.dollarenergy.org.
About Dollar Energy Fund, Inc.
Dollar Energy fund was founded in 1983 and has grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States. Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization in the state of Pennsylvania. Since 1983, the organization has provided $155 million in utility assistance grants to more than 562,000 limited-income families and individuals. The organization also assists limited-income households in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, California, Connecticut and Indiana. Individuals interested in contributing to Dollar Energy Fund can do so through their utility bills, by sending donations directly to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 or through the organization’s website. Additional information can be found on Dollar Energy Fund’s website, www.dollarenergy.org.
As we wave farewell to baseball season, we’re grateful for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their partnership with Peoples Natural Gas for the 2019 Bringing the Heat campaign. On Tuesday, September 25, 2019, at one of the final games of the season, Peoples presented Jody Robertson, Dollar Energy Fund’s Director of Communications, with a check for $34,600 – a result of a full season of strikeouts. Peoples generously donated $25 for each strikeout and the Pirates pitchers delivered! The funds will go directly to assist Peoples customers who are struggling to maintain or restore basic utility services.
The strikeouts helped to raise enough money to warm the homes of more than 100 local families this winter.
Thank you to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Peoples for helping Dollar Energy Fund assist more families through the Bringing the Heat campaign. If you’re sad to see the season end, get ready for more great fundraisers coming this winter from Dollar Energy Fund and our partners! Visit our upcoming events page for more details and mark your calendars.
The Pittsburgh region has experienced a dangerously hot summer this year. July clocked in as the hottest month ever recorded. While winter might feel far off for some, it’s all many of our struggling Pittsburgh neighbors can think about. The stress of approaching the cold months is a reality for thousands of households in our area. Instead of worrying about snowy roads and shoveling their walkways, limited-income families are wondering if they will make it through the winter. They will stretch their thin incomes and still not come up with the necessary funds to keep their homes warm and their pipes from freezing. With your help, we can assist these families on a path to self-sufficiency.
Who does Dollar Energy Fund help?
Dollar Energy Fund’s Pennsylvania Hardship Program assists eligible customers with their gas, electric and water service by providing a one-time grant that is applied directly to their utility bill. This program is a fund of last resort because it goes above and beyond what is available through federal, state and other programs. Many who receive a grant from the program are experiencing a temporary financial hardship, such as a job loss, medical emergency, or other circumstance beyond their control. An assistance grant can help keep them from enduring further financial hardship or having to choose between paying their monthly utility bills and purchasing food, medicine or other necessities.
$3.6 million was granted to 10,466 families in Pennsylvania during the 2017-2018 program year.
Dollar Energy Fund has assisted 7,042 families in the Greater Pittsburgh Region* with $2.49 million in utility assistance grants during the 2017-2018 program year.
1,775 households were without utility service before receiving a grant.
More than half of the households supported have children under the age of 18.
20% of households that receive a grant have seniors (62 years old or older).
Over 85% of grant recipients are either currently employed or receiving retirement or disability benefits.
*Counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland.
The demand for assistance from our program has grown significantly due to increased costs of everyday living expenses and severe weather conditions. To meet the need, we rely on the generosity of individual donors. Our unique funding model provides a dollar-for-dollar match from our partnering utility companies for every donation we receive. The utility companies also make a separate donation to cover our administrative fees, so 100 percent of all individual donations are used to provide utility assistance grants to limited-income households.
UPDATE: Thank you for a successful Critical Needs Alert giving event! With a match from The Pittsburgh Foundation and our generous utility partners, the #ONEDAY campaign raised nearly $4,000 for local families in need of utility assistance. We rely on neighbors helping neighbors and every dollar raised makes a huge impact on our community.
Dollar Energy Fund will be participating in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert online giving event on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. #ONEDAY benefits nonprofits that provide essential human services across Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. Your contribution will ensure that residents who live at or near the federal poverty line – at least one-third of the region’s population – have access to basic needs, such as utility assistance.
This year’s event will include its largest-ever incentive pool of $788,000. Every donation ($25 minimum) will trigger additional funding from the incentive pool. All donations to Dollar Energy Fund will also receive a dollar-for-dollar match from our utility partners, making your donation go further to help even more families. As usual, 100% of all donations and matching funds to Dollar Energy Fund will go directly to assist our most vulnerable neighbors in need with utility assistance. Through our unique arrangement with our utility partners, we are able to direct all charitable contributions towards providing assistance grants through our Hardship Program. No organizational operating expenses are paid through donated funds.
The #ONEDAY event officially begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Donations may be prescheduled by visiting www.pittsburghgives.org beginning Thursday, May 2, 2019.
We hope we can count on your support during #ONEDAY. Please mark your calendars and visit our profile page on www.pittsburghgives.org to make a contribution.
Our five finalists included Joe Delozier, Justin Matuszak, Dave Diamond, Patty Bennett and Randi Dickson. Before the puck dropped, each of them had the opportunity to reach into a gift bag and select a hockey puck. The bag contained four autographed pucks and one non-autographed puck. The person who received the non-autographed puck was our grand prize winner and was able to join the Shirts Off Our Backs selection process. Click here to see the finalists pick their pucks!
Dollar Energy Fund’s grand prize winner was Joe Delozier and, through Shirts Off Our Backs, he received Patric Hornqvist’s autographed, game-worn jersey on the ice. Congrats, Joe!
Thank you to all of the Penguins fans who purchased raffle tickets. Each ticket resulted in a $5 donation for Dollar Energy Fund. The Fan Appreciation Night Raffle raised nearly $8,000 and all proceeds will be used to help our neighbors in need restore or maintain basic utility service.
Dollar Energy Fund will be participating in #GiveBigPittsburgh, which will be held on Giving Tuesday, November 27, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. #GiveBigPittsburgh is an online giving day hosted by the Pittsburgh Magazine created to support the nonprofits doing great work in our community. Please visit our profile page to make your contribution.
Every donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our partnering utility companies. By giving to Dollar Energy Fund during #GiveBigPittsburgh, you are maximizing your donation dollars and helping more local families.
100% of all donations and matching funds will be used to support your neighbors in need. Through our unique arrangement with our utility partners, we are able to direct all charitable contributions towards providing assistance grants through our Hardship Program. No organizational operating expenses are paid through donated funds, EVER.
All donations will be used to help families in your community. We believe in neighbors helping neighbors. Your donation will be designated for distribution in your area, allowing you to be a neighborhood hero for those struggling to afford basic utility services.
Pittsburgh Magazine is offering extra prizes for participating organizations throughout the day. Dollar Energy Fund is hoping to secure some of these funds, but we need your help! Be sure to follow along on our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on our goals! Any donation made, no matter how large or small, can result in additional funding for Dollar Energy Fund and the limited-income families in need this winter.
We hope we can count on your support to make #GiveBigPittsburgh 2018 a success for Dollar Energy Fund and our neighbors!