Through the combined effort of 3WS Pittsburgh and our supporters, the Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon raised $109,869 to benefit Dollar Energy Fund and our neighbors in need. The amount raised will provide utility assistance to more than 915 Pittsburgh neighbors during this cold winter.
Our third Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon took place on November 6 and 7, 2019. 94.5 3WS and Dollar Energy Fund teamed up to bring the community a fun way to help families in our region stay warm. Over the course of the two-day event, 3WS listeners took over the station with their song requests. In exchange for a donation, listeners could request any song and many were invited to talk live with the on-air talent Jonny Hartwell, Bonny Diver, Sheri Van Dyke, and Mike Frazer. A variety of donation incentives were also available during the event, such as autographed sports items, gift certificates and event tickets.
Dollar Energy Fund also wants to extend a big THANK YOU to the staff at 3WS and iHeart Pittsburgh. Their hard work brought this event to life as they rallied their listeners to help and we are so grateful for their generosity.
Our third Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon will take place on November 6 and 7, 2019. We’re gathering incentives to encourage people to request a song and donate to local, limited-income families who need help restoring or maintaining safe utility service this winter. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook before the Request-A-Thon begins so that you can stay up to date with rapid-fire incentives, guests and promotions throughout the two days.
Ways to Donate
Call 1-800-823-WARM at any time during the hours of the event (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on November 6 & 7) and a volunteer will assist you with your donation and submitting a song request.
A donation of $180, made in installments of $15/month or with a one-time donation, will make you a Neighborhood Hero! A $180 donation becomes $360 in assistance once matched by our utility partners. This amount is equal to Dollar Energy Fund’s average winter heating season grant amount and is enough to keep the utility service on for a household in need during the winter. Your support at this level makes you eligible for donation incentives and your song request will jump to the top of our list.
Become a Neighborhood Hero and you’ll have the chance to win one of the following packages:
Pittsburgh Penguins Package including a Mario Lemieux autographed puck, Sidney Crosby autographed framed print, a $100 gift card to the Pittsburgh Penguins store, and tickets to an upcoming Penguins game. (Courtesy of Total Sports Enterprises)
Pittsburgh Steelers Package including a Troy Polamalu autographed custom jersey, Juju Smith-Schuster autographed replica helmet, a $100 gift card to the Pittsburgh Steelers store, and tickets to an upcoming Steelers game. (Courtesy of Total Sports Enterprises)
Cooking for the Holidays Package including a GE® 30″ Free-Standing Electric Convection Range and a $200 Giant Eagle gift card. (Courtesy of Dormont Appliance)
Seven Springs Package including an overnight stay at Seven Springs and lift tickets for two people.
All Neighborhood Heroes will receive a custom 3WS Christmas Ornament from Wendell August Forge, a delicious farm-raised turkey from Jones Turkey Farm, and a car pass to visit Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland (while supplies last).
The concept is simple: make a donation during the event, make a song request and listen to 94.5 3WS. Every effort will be made to play your song, but higher donation amounts will increase your chance of hearing your song in its entirety and enter you to win the incentives above. All donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our utility partners, which makes your gift go twice as far in helping those in our region who are in need of utility assistance this winter. Listen to 94.5 3WS during the event for details.
The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is now accepting applications for utility assistance grants for the 2019-2020 winter heating season. Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, and Dollar Energy Fund, eligible AEP Ohio customers who need help during the winter months may apply for assistance to maintain or restore their electric service.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program – one of the largest in the country – helps eligible families facing an immediate utility crisis. The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program supports families in need with a grant applied directly to their AEP Ohio account to prevent disconnection of, or to restore their electric service. Heating assistance is available once per program year on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible account holders may apply through April 30, 2020, while funds are available.
This year marks 10 years since AEP Ohio and Dollar Energy Fund launched the Neighbor to Neighbor Program in May 2009. The AEP Ohio program has provided more than $13.9 million in assistance to more than 58,500 customers during this time.
“Ohio winters can be brutally cold, very unpredictable, and extremely challenging for many people, especially the elderly and those with health problems,” said Katie Grayem, director of Customer Experience for AEP Ohio. “For many Ohio families, heating their homes during this time can also pose a difficult financial burden. Being a good community partner and neighbor is who we are and what we do, and we are committed to giving our neighbors, who may struggle to make ends meet, a helping hand to ensure their electric service stays connected.”
To apply, customers may contact one of the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio community-based organizations. To qualify, an applicant’s total gross household income must be at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
For example, a family of four earning up to $64,375 per year is income-eligible for the program. Households must have made payments to AEP Ohio totaling at least $75 in the three months prior to applying for a grant and owe a minimum of $50 on their AEP Ohio bill. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at www.dollarenergy.org/need-help/ohio/neighbor-neighbor-program.
“For 10 years, Dollar Energy Fund has been proud to support AEP Ohio’s efforts to serve families who find themselves in a temporary financial situation and need help making ends meet,” said Chad Quinn, chief executive officer of Dollar Energy Fund. “The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program has become a very useful resource for thousands of households across Ohio, enabling them to maintain utility service when blindsided by an unexpected expense.”
The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar-for-dollar by AEP Ohio. Utility customers may make a contribution through their monthly AEP Ohio bill. Donations also can be made online at AEPOhio.com/helpaneighbor or by sending a check directly to The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program, Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. Every donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program is used to assist eligible families residing in Ohio. Every dollar donated to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program will be matched by AEP Ohio. These matching funds and 100% of your donation will assist limited-income families residing in Ohio to afford utility service. With AEP Ohio’s generous match, your tax-deductible donation will have twice the impact!
For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and how to apply for the Hardship Program or donate to the organization, visit www.dollarenergy.org.
About AEP Ohio
AEP Ohio is based in Gahanna, Ohio, and is a unit of American Electric Power. AEP Ohio provides electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers. News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at AEPOhio.com. American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s more than 18,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including about 5,200 megawatts of renewable generation. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners, and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.
About Dollar Energy Fund
Dollar Energy Fund was founded in 1983 and has grown to become one of the largest hardship funds in the United States. Dollar Energy Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization operating in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Maryland, Louisiana, Arkansas , West Virginia, Kentucky, California, Connecticut and Indiana. Throughout its history, the organization has provided over $155 million in utility assistance grants to over 562,000 limited-income families and individuals.
All donations to the Neighbor to Neighbor Program, administered by Dollar Energy Fund, will assist limited-income families residing in Ohio. Additional information can be found on Dollar Energy Fund’s website, www.dollarenergy.org.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program available to help eligible customers in Pennsylvania with their heating bills. The program will be open from November 1, 2019 to April 10, 2020. LIHEAP can offer much needed relief for thousands of people across the state who rely on the service.
On November 1, 2019, the Office of Community Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released approximately $3.32 billion in LIHEAP funds for FY20. The total amount allocated to Pennsylvania is more than $180 million.
Customers can apply for components of LIHEAP online through the DHS COMPASS website, at county assistance offices, via mail with a paper application, and through their utility company. In the winter, funds can be used to pay for any home heating source including natural gas, electric, home heating oil, propane, kerosene, wood and coal. In rare instances, funds can also be used to pay water bills where customers have specific types of boilers, certain types of steam heat, or other uncommon water heating systems.
As part of our guidelines, Dollar Energy Fund requires customers seeking grants to apply for LIHEAP funds first if they are eligible, while the program is open. LIHEAP program funding and eligibility varies by state.
On Halloween, it’s likely you have vampires lurking around your home. Not only the kind that ask for treats, but “energy vampires” that suck the money from your wallet. Our home’s appliances and electronics — from coffee makers to TV’s and gaming consoles — often suck up power even when they are not being used. Some products can even consume as much as 25% of their full power when turned off. This wasted energy can contribute to high electric bills.
Be aware of the most common energy vampires:
Most kids keep their video game consoles, like PlayStation and Xbox, always plugged in, making them easily accessible for quick gaming. The scary part is that these consoles are still draining power, even while sleeping.
Toaster & Coffee Maker
Most of us only use our toaster or coffee maker for a few minutes each morning, but we keep it plugged in at all times. Toasters, microwaves, and other small kitchen appliances can quickly add unused energy to your bill and become costly. When you add up all the time your microwave spends in “standby” mode, it actually consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food.
The cable box and DVR are some of the most well-known energy vampires. These boxes are always on to record shows and still operate at nearly full capacity, without providing any benefit. It’s like leaving the lights on in a totally empty house.
Remember, anything with a LED display is a vampire! Alarm clocks, cell phone chargers, as well as space heaters and air conditioning units are still costing you money when unused.
Unused energy can account for 10 percent or more of your electricity bill. Stop energy vampires from taking a bite out of your wallet by taking these steps:
1. Unplug devices you don’t use daily. For instance, check electronics in the guest bedroom or a second fridge in the garage that is rarely used.
2. Unplug devices that are fully charged, such as electric razors and power tools.
3. Unplugging everything is unrealistic. Instead, use smart power strips with on/off switches to easily turn groups of electronics off when not in use, effectively reducing unnecessary electricity consumption and saving money. This is an inexpensive and easy solution. When you’re ready, turn the power strip on and all your appliances are ready to go!
4. Upgrade to ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics, which are vampire-proof. ENERGY STAR has made it their mission to cut standby power consumption in its products and use less energy all around.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Topgolf Fundraiser raised $14,770, including a dollar-for-dollar match from Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, to benefit customers in need. The amount raised will provide gas assistance to approximately 50 households who are struggling to stay warm this winter.
We welcomed 80 golfers to Topgolf Pittsburgh in Bridgeville, PA on Thursday, October 24, 2019. The day started at 1 p.m. with registration. Golfers quickly set out to their bays to begin play. The staff at Topgolf worked diligently to provide golfers with drinks and instructions on how to play a variety of Topgolf games. Guests also enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet, networked with friends and bid in the online silent auction. All golfers went home with their own bottle of wine from VentiSei Winery.
At Dollar Energy Fund, we always encourage our supporters to have fun while raising money for families and individuals who are on their path to self-sufficiency. Stay tuned for future events by following us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our monthly newsletter. You can always support your neighbors in need by making a donation at dollarenergy.org.
Dollar Energy Fund kicks off a new program year this week. Before we move on to the excitement of a new year, let’s take a moment to remember 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 36 years. Here are some highlights from the 2018-2019 program year (October 2018 – September 2019):
In November, the 10th annual Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart Campaign kicked off with a reception at Hearth and Home Furnishings in Zelienople. Efforts to date have brought our ten-year total to more than $160,000, including a generous match from Peoples, to assist gas customers throughout Butler County.
Dollar Energy Fund was the presenting sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland for the second year in a row. Shadrack’s made a generous donation of $20,000 to Dollar Energy Fund. Through a partnership with Chick-fil-A, coupons were distributed to customers to receive $2 off admission. Dollar Energy Fund received $1 donation for every coupon redeemed. These efforts resulted in utility assistance for 115 local families.
Dollar Energy Fund hosted its 2nd annual Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon at iHeartMedia studios and broadcasted on 3WS Pittsburgh. The event raised $93,872 to provide utility assistance to approximately 260 Pittsburgh families who were struggling to stay warm.
Duquesne Light Company supported Dollar Energy Fund during its Power It Forward campaign through a ’12 days of giving’ fundraiser and text-to-give campaign for Pittsburghers in need.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in #GiveBigPittsburgh, an online giving day hosted by the Pittsburgh Magazine on Giving Tuesday.
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Dollar Energy Fund teamed up to host our first ever Topgolf Fundraiser in November. The event raised $12,210, including a dollar-for-dollar match by Columbia, to benefit customers in need. This amount provided much-needed heating assistance to approximately 35 households this winter.
In December, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania hosted a fundraiser in partnership with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A portion of every Pittsburgh ticket sold was donated to Dollar Energy Fund, totaling more than $11,200.
In January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $156,000 during its 5th annual Cool Down for Warmth event in Market Square. The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 450 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
During Cool Down for Warmth, we hosted our 3rd annual Bowls for Warmth Soup Tasting, presented by BNY Mellon. Twenty-one local restaurants showed up to support Dollar Energy Fund and serve cups of soup to the lunchtime crowd. Bowls for Warmth raised over $10,000 in two days, including a match from our utility partners.
In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 11th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised $155,000, which provided utility assistance grants to 430 Pittsburgh-area households.
Through 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 raised more than $53,000 to benefit Peoples Natural Gas customers in need. In March, our Fan Appreciation Night Raffle raised nearly $8,000, including a match from our utility partners.
Dollar Energy Fund was an exhibitor in this year’s CS Week Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. We shared our solutions and experience on managing low-income utility assistance programs with other industry professionals across the country.
In partnership with Appalachian Power Company in Virginia, Dollar Energy Fund hosted its second annual fishing tournament, Fishing for a Cause. We welcomed 40 boats to Smith Mountain Lake and the event raised nearly $20,000 to assist limited-income customers maintain or restore basic electric service through our Virginia Neighbor to Neighbor Program.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert online giving event on May 7, 2019.
Several members of Dollar Energy Fund’s staff and management team attended the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) 2019 Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
In June, we welcomed 26 foursomes and more than 100 guests at Quicksilver Golf Club for our 11th annual Golf Classic. This event is a fan favorite, featuring 18-holes of golf, our famous Bloody Mary Bar, a delicious lunch and more.
During the Golf Classic, Dollar Energy Fund hosted its first online silent auction. This auction raised over $2,500 for our local neighbors in need.
Dollar Energy Fund earned its third consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charitable organizations. This is the highest possible rating and shows our commitment to financial accountability and transparency.
Dollar Energy Fund has been working hard to provide utility customers with a quick and easy way to recertify for PCAP. In July, Dollar Energy Fund sent a text message to 2,200 FirstEnergy customers regarding their PCAP status. This method of communication served as a quick and easy way for customers to complete some or all of the recertification process for their account through text messaging.
Dollar Energy Fund celebrated National Popsicle Day on August 26, 2019, by passing out popsicles in downtown Pittsburgh to raise awareness on the need for utility assistance in our region.
Once again this season, Dollar Energy Fund continues its partnership with Pitt Athletics 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 27, 2019.
In September, we joined our partners in celebration at Rivers Casino for our 36th Annual Luncheon. We gathered with approximately 180 guests to honor the utility partners, employees, community organizations and leaders who worked diligently this year to bring Dollar Energy Fund’s mission to life.
Dollar Energy Fund celebrated milestone years of partnership with the following utility companies:
Citizens’ Electric Company – 20 years of partnership
Wellsboro Electric – 20 years of partnership
AEP Ohio – 10 years of partnership
Kingsport Power Company – 10 years of partnership
Appalachian Power Virginia – 10 years of partnership
California Water Service Company – 5 years of partnership
Kentucky American Water – 5 years of partnership
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Peoples Natural Gas teamed up for another season of helping others. The 2019 Bringing the Heat campaign raised $34,600 for local families in need of utility assistance this winter.
This year, Dollar Energy Fund started contracts with many new utility partners. We now administer programs for Pacific Gas & Electric, West View Water Authority, Maryland American Water, Indiana Michigan Power, and Indianapolis Power & Light Company. These new partnerships expanded our service territory to 13 states.
Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund has distributed over 22,195 grants, totaling more than $6.3 million across the country since October 1, 2018.
Since 1983, we have assisted 562,000 households by distributing $155 million in utility assistance nationwide.
With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2019-2020 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. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation before the end of the calendar year. If you would like to get involved during this program year, subscribe to our email newsletters to stay up-to-date on our latest fundraising campaigns.
On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we help, thank you for your continued support!
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.
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.