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Dollar Energy Fund Celebrates 35 Years

Posted on: April 18, 2018

On April 19, 2018, Dollar Energy Fund will mark its 35th anniversary of helping our neighbors in need and kick off a year-long celebration to recognize the milestone. Since 1983, our organization has assisted 530,000 households by distributing more than $146 million in utility assistance. What began as a small coalition of concerned community and business leaders, has grown to become one of the largest hardship funds in the country.

The History of Dollar Energy Fund

While volunteering with a Pittsburgh television station’s community outreach efforts in 1983, Betty Ann Simon found herself inundated with calls from limited-income individuals seeking help with their mounting utility bills. 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. Since its inception, Dollar Energy Fund has been working to fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for households experiencing hardships by providing utility assistance and other services that lead to self-sufficiency.

The grassroots effort, first operating with one employee in the basement of a church, was quickly joined by Duquesne Light Company and Peoples Natural Gas to help the organization’s limited-income customers. Dollar Energy Fund and the “Add-a-Buck for the Out-of-Luck” donation campaign were born. The next year, a second employee was hired and two years later the staff moved from the church to the Wightman School in Squirrel Hill where they remained until 1993. In 1993, the offices were moved to Pittsburgh’s Southside.

Many additional utility companies joined and donations steadily increased. Unfortunately, so did the need. Soon, Dollar Energy Fund was receiving thousands of applications and providing millions of dollars in utility grants each year. The organization responded to the need and stepped up fundraising efforts.

Then and Now

Many aspects of the organization are the same today as they were in 1983. 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. Dollar Energy Fund has also changed with the times. The organization, whose headquarters in Pittsburgh’s Southside features a state-of-the-art call center, has implemented iPartner, a custom web-based grants management system to assist in the administration of the Hardship Program. The number of utility partners has significantly increased and as a result, so has the number of clients Dollar Energy Fund is able to assist on an annual basis. Our capital and technological improvements have reduced grant distribution from two to four weeks to 24-48 hours, enabling those in need to get more immediate relief during a utility crisis.

As a part of a social enterprise venture, Dollar Energy Fund has grown its services. The organization now administers additional limited-income programs for a number of utility companies and has more than 147 full-time, part-time, casual and temporary employees.

Dollar Energy Fund has grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the nation. The organization has provided $146 million in utility assistance grants to more than 530,000 limited-income households – approximately 1.6 million individuals. The organization currently serves limited-income utility customers in twelve states, but additional expansions and utility partnerships continue to establish Dollar Energy Fund’s presence in other regions.

Though much has changed since 1983, the need to help our working poor and elderly neighbors remains, and Dollar Energy Fund is still working to fulfill its mission and meet the need.

Help Us Celebrate

We are excited to celebrate another major milestone in the history of our organization. The City of Pittsburgh will recognize Dollar Energy Fund with a proclamation during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

Stay tuned for more celebrations, fundraisers and community outreach as we observe this milestone throughout the year. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

 

Penguins fans win big with Dollar Energy Fund’s Fan Appreciation Night Raffle

Posted on: April 9, 2018

Through Dollar Energy Fund’s partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, we set out to create the ultimate fan experience through our Fan Appreciation Night Raffle!

Dollar Energy Fund staff and Board Members sold raffle tickets during five Penguins games at PPG Paints Arena in March. Five finalists were selected from a pool of 1,100 entries for this one-of-a-kind opportunity. Each received two tickets to the Jim Beam© Make History™ Party Suite to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators final regular season game on Friday, April 6, 2018. One of our finalists was granted participation in the Shirts Off Our Backs selection process and guaranteed a trip down to the ice to meet a player and receive an autographed jersey.

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 watch the video of the finalists discovering who won the grand prize.

Through Shirts Off Our Backs, Dollar Energy Fund’s grand prize winner received Jake Guentzel’s autographed jersey on the ice. Congrats, Fran!

Thank you to all of the Penguins fans who purchased raffle tickets. Each ticket resulted in a $5 donation for Dollar Energy Fund and all proceeds will be used to help our neighbors in need restore or maintain basic utility service.

 

 

 

Looking Back: 2017-2018 Mid-Year Review

Posted on: April 4, 2018

We are halfway through our 2017-2018 program year! Take a look at what Dollar Energy Fund has accomplished during the past six months, with the help of our staff, utility partners and supporters.

  • Mid-YearIn November, our Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart Campaign kicked off its 9th annual event with a reception at Hearth and Home Furnishings in Zelienople. Efforts to date have brought our nine-year total to more than $138,000, including a generous match from Peoples, to assist gas customers throughout Butler County.
  • Dollar Energy Fund was proud to be the presenting sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland this season.
  • Dollar Energy Fund began a partnership with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to establish a bill discount, lead line replacement, and hardship program for limited-income customers.
  • Duquesne Light Company supported Dollar Energy Fund during its Power It Forward campaign through a 24-hour social media fundraiser and text-to-give campaign that raised $10,000 for Pittsburghers in need.
  • Vineyard Vines in Ross Park Mall hosted an in-store 10/10 event. For a 3-hour period, every customer received 10% off their purchase while Vineyard Vines donated 10% back to Dollar Energy Fund.
  • Dollar Energy Fund hosted a new event with iHeartMedia and 3WS Pittsburgh called the Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon where supporters could donate to request a song. The event raised more than $77,300 to provide utility assistance to approximately 215 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to stay warm.
  • Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania hosted a fundraiser in partnership with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which donated a portion of every Pittsburgh ticket sold to Dollar Energy Fund, totaling more than $12,200.
  • Mid-YearIn January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $222,000 during its 4th Annual Cool Down for Warmth event in Market Square, all with the help of local business leaders, sponsors, utility partners and many generous community individuals. The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 635 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
  • During Cool Down for Warmth, we hosted a Bowls for Warmth Lunch in the Square Soup Tasting, where local restaurants participated in a soup challenge and served cups of soup to the lunchtime crowd. Fifteen local restaurants showed up to support Dollar Energy Fund and the lunch event raised over $20,000 in two days, including a match from our utility partners.
  • In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 10th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised $150,000, which helped 430 Pittsburgh-area households.
  • Mid-YearThrough our partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, we hosted a variety of fundraisers this season to expand our reach and awareness in the community. Our Jerseys for Warmth Auction and Fan Appreciation Night Raffle raised over $80,000 combined, including a match from our utility partners.
  • During the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show in March, Dollar Energy Fund teamed up with Dormont Appliance for a raffle to benefit limited-income Duquesne Light customers.
  • Dollar Energy Fund partnered with the Columbus Blue Jackets to raise funds and increase our reach in Ohio through a variety of different raffles, including the CannonBall, Jerseys Off Our Backs, and CBJ Special Jersey Auction.
  • Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund has distributed over 15,303 grants, totaling more than $4,140,247 across the country since October 2, 2017. Since 1983, we have assisted 530,000 households by distributing $146 million in utility assistance.

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. We have many more fundraising opportunities

On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we’ve helped, we thank you for your continued support!

Columbus Blue Jackets Special Jersey Auction

Posted on: March 20, 2018

Thank you for supporting our CBJ Special Jersey Auction! The auction is now closed.

 

Dollar Energy Fund is partnering with the Columbus Blue Jackets once again to bring you the CBJ Special Jersey Auction. Three autographed, specially designed warm-up jerseys will be auctioned off for the next three weeks and all proceeds will be used to help Ohio families maintain or restore basic utility service.

Bidding is now open for the following items:

Hockey Fights Cancer Warm-Up Worn and Autographed Gabriel Carlsson (#53) Jersey and Autographed Hat. The jersey was worn during pre-game warm-ups on October 27, 2017 against the Winnipeg Jets.

Special Jersey AuctionSpecial Jersey Auction

Military Appreciation Warm-Up Worn and Autographed Marcus Hannikainen (#37) Jersey and Autographed Puck. The jersey was worn during pre-game warm-ups on January 18, 2018 against the Dallas Stars.

Special Jersey AuctionSpecial Jersey Auction

St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Worn and Autographed Brandon Dubinsky (#17) Jersey and Autographed Puck. The jersey was worn during pre-game warm-ups on March 17, 2018 against the Ottawa Senators.

Special Jersey AuctionSpecial Jersey Auction

 

The auction will close on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 10 p.m. ET. Click below to visit the NHL’s secure Fanatics website to place your bid. All proceeds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our utility partners.

 

 

 

Win the Ultimate Penguins Fan Experience

Posted on: March 6, 2018

Shirts Off Our Backs 2017

Dollar Energy Fund and the Pittsburgh Penguins are joining forces once again to create the ultimate fan experience through our Fan Appreciation Night Raffle! We are giving away suite tickets to Fan Appreciation Night on April 6, 2018. Even better, one winner will be granted participation in the Shirts Off Our Backs selection process and guaranteed a trip down to the ice after the game to meet a player and receive an autographed, game-worn jersey.

This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Penguins fans! You can enter to win by purchasing a $5 raffle ticket from one of our kiosk locations inside PPG Paints Arena during select home games in March.

Five winners will each receive two tickets to a party suite for the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators game on Friday, April 6, 2018. During the game, we will select a grand prize winner for the Shirts Off Our Backs experience and the remaining four winners will each receive a Pittsburgh Penguins Prize Pack.

Raffle ticket entries will be available for purchase at kiosk locations inside PPG Paints Arena before and during Pittsburgh Penguins games on:

Sunday, March 11

Wednesday, March 21

Friday, March 23

Sunday, March 25

Saturday, March 31

Participants must fill out the entry form and complete payment for their raffle ticket entry for a chance to win. There is no limit to the number of ticket entries an individual may purchase. Click here for official rules. All proceeds support Dollar Energy Fund and benefit families in need with utility assistance.

The drawing will be held on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Shirts Off Our Backs

Columbus Blue Jackets ‘Jerseys Off Our Backs’

Posted on: February 27, 2018

Jerseys Off Our BacksDollar Energy Fund is proud to present the Jerseys Off Our Backs Charitable Sweepstakes, in conjunction with the Columbus Blue Jackets. We are teaming up to give our neighbors in Ohio the ultimate hockey experience.

Two lucky fans will each receive two tickets to watch the Columbus Blue Jackets take on the St. Louis Blues at Nationwide Arena on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Of those two winners, one grand prize winner will be granted participation in the Jerseys Off Our Backs selection process, which includes going down to the ice after the game to receive a game-worn jersey from a Blue Jackets player.

Raffle ticket entries are available for purchase online at www.dollarenergy.org/BlueJackets and at the R Bar Arena (413 N. Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215). Raffle entries are $5 each. Participants must fill out the entry form and complete payment for their raffle ticket entry for a chance to win. There is no limit to the number of raffle ticket entries an individual may purchase.

All proceeds support Dollar Energy Fund and benefit Ohio families in need of utility assistance.

Jerseys Off Our Backs raffle entries will be available to purchase through March 17, 2018. The drawing will be held on Monday, March 19, 2018. Winners need not be present for the drawing, but must be present for the March 24 Jerseys Off Our Backs game.

For official contest rules, click here.

Support Dollar Energy Fund at the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show

Posted on: February 27, 2018

Dollar Energy Fund has teamed up with Dormont Appliance for a raffle to benefit limited-income Duquesne Light customers. Visit our table in the Duquesne Light booth (2nd floor, row 19) at the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show to purchase a $5 ticket to enter Dollar Energy Fund’s Dormont Appliance Gift Card Raffle. One lucky winner will receive a $1,500 credit to Dormont Appliance!

The raffle will run March 2 through March 11, 2018. The drawing will be held on Monday, March 12.

All proceeds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Duquesne Light and 100 percent of the funds will be used to provide utility assistance to your neighbors in need.

Visit Duquesne Light’s “Electric Lane” at the show for more attractions, including two interactive photo walls. Visitors can either join the DLC crew, complete with props and scenic background, or write their answer to the question “My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is…” on a giant chalkboard wall. For every photo snapped and shared on social media using the hashtag #DLCHome2018, DLC also will donate $5 to Dollar Energy Fund.

Click here to receive a discount coupon and save $3 on your weekday admission to the Home & Garden Show.

Raffle tickets are available for cash purchase only. The $1,500 credit can be applied to the purchase and delivery of a new appliance of the winners choosing. Installation fees cannot be paid with the credit. Delivery is only available within thirty miles of either Dormont Appliance location (2875 West Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15216 or 3447 Babcock Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15237). Employees of Duquesne Light and Dollar Energy Fund, and family members residing in the same household, are not eligible to win. Click here for official rules.

Home & Garden Show

Annual Warmathon gives heat to 430 households

Posted on: February 20, 2018

Warmathon

Dollar Energy Fund’s 10th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised more than $150,000 during the two-day event, which will help 430 Pittsburgh-area families maintain basic utility service. The Warmathon, a live, radio-based fundraising effort broadcasted from KDKA’s Greentree studios, took place on February 15 & 16, 2018.

With this year’s contributions, 9,125 local, limited-income families have benefited from the total of over $3 million that has been raised since the first Warmathon in 2009.

Dollar Energy Fund’s partnering utility companies, which include Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Peoples Natural Gas, Duquesne Light and West Penn Power, a FirstEnergy Company, provided a generous dollar-for-dollar match on all individual and corporate donations received through the Warmathon.

Dozens of volunteers from Dollar Energy Fund, Citizens Bank, Duquesne Light, Peoples Natural Gas, and Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania were on hand to answer phones and accept donations. In addition, several corporate sponsors and individual supporters contributed to the event’s success, including Citizens Bank, Air Pro Heating and Cooling, Hostetter Auctioneers, Morrison Kitchen and Bath, Stahl Plumbing, Southwest PA Air Quality Partnership, Housing Authority of Pittsburgh, First National Bank, Totin’s Diner, Crazy Mocha, Oakmont Bakery, 5 Generation Bakers, Chick-fil-A, Giant Eagle, Bishop David Zubik, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Penguins, Richard Bazzy, Feld Entertainment, Monte Cello’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitsburgh Smokers, Entercom Radio, Betsy Ann Chocolates, Sarris Candies, Johno’s Art Studio, Cucina Bella, Tambellini’s, The Carlton, Weiss Provisions and Smallman Street Deli.

The Citizens Bank Foundation, a longtime supporter of the Warmathon, donated $25,000 in funding to match individual donations received during the two-day event, in addition to $25,000 donated to Dollar Energy Fund’s Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon held in January. Over the past 10 years, the foundation’s combined Dollar Energy Fund support of $450,000, has helped more than 2,500 families in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to NewsRadio 1020 KDKA, 100.7 STAR and KDKA-TV for their continued support and promotion of the Warmathon. If you missed the event and would like to donate to help your neighbors in need, visit www.dollarenergy.org/donate.

Follow us on social media for more updates on upcoming events!

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Warmathon

Warmathon

Jerseys for Warmth benefits 177 local families

Posted on: February 13, 2018

The Jerseys for Warmth Charitable Action raised approximately $62,000 to support Dollar Energy Fund and benefit Peoples Natural Gas customers. Peoples provided a dollar-for-dollar match on all donations and all proceeds will be used to help an estimated 177 local families maintain or restore basic utility service.

Two dozen Pittsburgh Penguins game-worn jerseys from the team’s 4-1 victory on January 13, 2017, versus the Detroit Red Wings, were auctioned off online. Each jersey featured a commemorative patch authentication with the option to have the jersey autographed.

One lucky fan bid on a Sidney Crosby autographed mini-helmet and was invited to attend a team practice and a meet and greet on Monday, February 12, where they received autographed merchandise and took photos with players.

Thanks to everyone who supported Jerseys for Warmth! Check back for more exciting fundraising efforts through our partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jerseys for WarmthJerseys for Warmth

 

 

10th Annual Warmathon on February 15 & 16

Posted on: February 12, 2018

Warmathon

Dollar Energy Fund is warming up for the 10th annual Warmathon on February 15 & 16, 2018. The Warmathon is a two-day radio/telethon from which all proceeds benefit local families in need of utility assistance. Over the past nine years, the campaign has raised more than $2.9 million to ensure that 8,695 local families did not have to face a winter without safe utility service.

Tune in to NewsRadio 1020 KDKA between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both days to learn more about Dollar Energy Fund and how you can assist Pittsburgh families in need. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, can make an extraordinary impact by helping local, limited-income families maintain or restore safe utility service.

Ways to Donate

  • Visit www.dollarenergy.org/donate to make a secure web donation.
  • Call 1-888-745-1020 during the event to talk to one of our phone bank volunteers.
  • Text WARM to 50555 to donate $10 through your mobile phone bill.*
  • Mail a donation to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203.

Your donation will give you the opportunity to win great incentives, including Pittsburgh Penguins suite tickets, dinner with Bishop David Zubik, Disney on Ice Tickets, free Chick-Fil-A for a year, and more! Become a Neighborhood Hero by pledging $15/month and be entered for a chance to win free utility service for a year.

Incentives will change throughout the event, so tune in to NewsRadio 1020 KDKA and 100.7 STAR for special promotions and giveaways!

As usual, local utilities are giving a dollar-for-dollar match on all donations to Dollar Energy Fund and 100% of proceeds will be used to provide households in our region with utility assistance grants.

Mark your calendars and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates.

 

*When promoted, reply to complete your donation to Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 50555 to STOP. Text HELP to 50555 for HELP. Full Terms: www.mGive.org/T. 

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Award Nominations

Award nominations are now being accepted for our 35th Annual Luncheon on September 14, 2018. Nominate someone today!

Nomination Forms

Average Monthly Income of a Grant Recipient = $985.70