The AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program is now accepting applications for utility assistance grants for the 2022 summer cooling season.
Through a partnership between AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company, and Dollar Energy Fund, the 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.
Cooling assistance is available once per program year on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible account holders may apply through September 30, 2022, while funds are available. This Summer Cooling Assistance is distinct from the Special Storm Assistance Program. For a limited time, customers are eligible for two grants per year.
“With the recent record high-temps we’ve experienced, some families may realize cooling expenses they didn’t anticipate this early in the summer. Coupled with higher gas and food prices, making ends meet will be especially difficult for some,” said Brian Billing, consumer programs manager for AEP Ohio. “We remain to be committed to supporting our customers – especially the elderly and those with health problems – maintain their electric service during the hot summer months.”
Since AEP Ohio and Dollar Energy Fund launched the Neighbor to Neighbor Program in May 2009, more than $16.3 million in assistance has been granted to more than 67,000 Ohio households.
To apply, customers may contact one of the AEP Ohio Neighbor to Neighbor Program’s network of more than 120 Ohio community-based organizations, or apply online using the link available at Neighbor to Neighbor (aepohio.com). To qualify, an applicant’s total gross household income must be at or below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
For example, a family of four earning up to $83,250 per year is income-eligible for the program. Households must have an outstanding balance on their bill of at least $50 and behind on bill payment 30 days or more. Full eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found at AEPOhio.com/helpaneighbor.
“Dollar Energy Fund is proud to maintain its support for AEP Ohio and its efforts to serve families who find themselves in a temporary financial crisis,” 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 unexpected circumstances.”
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 www.AEPOhio.com/N2N 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.
Before the puck dropped, each of the finalists had the opportunity to reach into their gift bag and pull out a hockey puck. The two finalists who received black pucks, Judith and Anthony, were granted participation in the Shirts Off Our Backs selection process and received autographed, game-worn jerseys from Mike Matheson and Evgeni Malkin. The Pittsburgh Penguins went on to secure a 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Congratulations to our grand prize winners! The remaining finalists received yellow autographed pucks and prize packs.
Thank you to all of the Penguins fans who purchased raffle tickets. Each ticket resulted in a $10 donation to Dollar Energy Fund, with a dollar-for-dollar match from our utility partners. All proceeds will be used to help our neighbors in need restore or maintain basic utility service.
(Left to right) Chris, Judith, Harley, Terry, and Anthony; Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets; Fan Appreciation Night – April 29, 2022
Jerseys for Warmth Charitable Auction
Nearly two dozen Pittsburgh Penguins game-worn jerseys from the April 9, 2022, match-up versus the Washington Capitals were auctioned off online. Each jersey was autographed and featured a commemorative patch authentication.
Thanks to everyone who supported the Jerseys for Warmth Auction! The auction raised more than $74,000 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 local families maintain or restore basic utility service.
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 39 years, we’ve served the limited-income community by providing more than $232 million in utility assistance grants to more than 769,000 limited-income families and individuals.
Dollar Energy Fund began with three utility partners – Duquesne Light Company, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, and Peoples – 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 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.
Dollar Energy Fund is halfway through a successful 2021-2022 program year. Let’s look back at what we have accomplished during the past six months, with the help of our staff, utility partners and supporters.
Dollar Energy Fund earned its fifth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for our commitment to financial accountability and transparency.
Dollar Energy Fund celebrated our 30 year partnership anniversary with Pennsylvania American Water and the H2O Help to Others Program.
Dollar Energy Fund hosted its annual Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon in partnership with iHeartMedia and 3WS Pittsburgh. The event raised $150,492 to provide utility assistance to approximately 425 Pittsburgh households who were struggling to stay warm.
Dollar Energy Fund was a sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland in Butler, PA and Johnson City, TN. Coupons were distributed to customers to receive $2 off admission and Dollar Energy Fund received a $1 donation for every coupon redeemed. In total, the Shadrack’s campaign raised $28,000 to help families across Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in #GiveBigPittsburgh and #ShareOmaha on Giving Tuesday.
Dollar Energy Fund signed contracts with National Fuel Gas Company and Omaha Public Power District for their LIRA and CAP programs.
The EQT Foundation connected with Dollar Energy Fund again this year to make a $10,000 donation to benefit Pennsylvanians in need.
The Jack Buncher Foundation supported Dollar Energy Fund with a $60,000 donation to help Pennsylvanians in need.
The Citizen’s Bank Foundation awarded Dollar Energy Fund with a $53,000 donation towards the Hardship Program and Cool Down for Warmth campaign.
In January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $140,000 during its 8th annual Cool Down for Warmth event on Pittsburgh Today Live (KDKA-TV). The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 390 Pittsburgh families who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 14th annual Warmathon on KDKA Radio raised $203,328, which provided utility assistance grants to 564 additional Pittsburgh-area households.
The Robert Morris University Department of Athletics partnered with Dollar Energy Fund this season to assist families in the Pittsburgh region struggling to afford heat. The “Points for Power” program donated $1 for every point scored by the RMU men’s and women’s basketball teams. The total amount raised was $7,482.
This year’s virtual Heat the Streets Run & Walk for Warmth in Nebraska raised $151,352 to provide utility assistance to Omaha Public Power and Metropolitan Utilities District customers in need.
Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund has already distributed 10,899 grants, totaling $2.9 million across the country since October 1, 2021. Since 1983, we have assisted more than 769,000 households by distributing over $232 million in utility assistance nationwide.
With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2021-2022 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 to stay up to date on our latest fundraising campaigns. We have more fundraising opportunities coming up this year, including our Pittsburgh Penguins partnership campaigns, and the Golf Classic tentatively scheduled for September 9.
On behalf of the many individuals, seniors, and families we have helped, we thank you for your continued support!
Dollar Energy’s Fund’s 14th annual Warmathon on February 17, raised $203,328 during the radio-based fundraiser hosted on KDKA Radio (100.1 FM and AM 1020 KDKA). The effort will provide heat-related utility assistance to 564 additional households (approximately 1,692 neighbors) through Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program.
This year, more than 215 individual donors became Neighborhood Heroes with a donation of $180 or more. A donation at this level, when combined with the utility matching funds, provides utility assistance for a household in need. All Neighborhood Heroes are also entered into a drawing to win free utilities for a year.
Warmathon donors at various support levels were also eligible to receive a variety of incentives throughout the day, including gift certificates and services from event sponsors and entrance into raffles for prizes. Dozens of incentives were offered from Candelore’s Barking Beauties, Cuccaro Plumbing, Cucina Bella, COIT Cleaning and Restoration, EAS Roofing, Levin Furniture, Matt Mertz Plumbing, Metropolitan Windows, Mr. Waterheater, Napa Prime Chophouse, Oakmont Bakery, Off the Hook, Prime Butcher, Sarris Candies, Salon Vivace, Smallman Street Deli, Tambellini Restaurant, Totin’s Diner, and more!
The Warmathon has raised more than $3.5 million for local, limited-income families since 2009.
Donations to support the Warmathon are still be accepted. Those wishing to contribute can do so by mailing a check to Dollar Energy Fund at Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203; or by visiting www.warmathon.com.
Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $140,000 during its 8th annual Cool Down for Warmth campaign on January 27, all with the help of local business leaders, sponsors, utility partners and many generous community individuals. The amount raised will provide assistance for approximately 390 families in Western Pennsylvania who are struggling to stay warm in their homes this winter. Though the event is over, donations are still coming in! Those who wish to help local families in need may continue to donate online at www.dollarenergy.org/donate.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Cool Down for Warmth, powered by Dynegy, took place in partnership with KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live (PTL), and provided an opportunity for the community to make a donation in support of local families. In past years, the event included the construction of a large ice house in Market Square that is open to the public, but Dollar Energy Fund switched to a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Mastro Gourmet Quality Ice built an ice news studio and other ice sculptures in Gateway Center that were showcased during PTL’s live broadcast.
Over the course of the week, supporters signed up on Givebutter to raise funds for their neighbors in need, including FirstEnergy, Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Public Utility Law Section, and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. Others showed their support by making a donation and sharing the event on social media.
All donations from this event were matched dollar-for-dollar by our local utility partners and 100% will go directly to support local Western Pennsylvania families who are struggling to restore or maintain basic utility service.
On behalf of the limited-income households we will continue to assist this year, thank you to everyone who supported our event! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates on future fundraisers, like our Warmathon taking place on February 17.
The 8th Annual Cool Down for Warmth, powered by Dynegy and benefiting Dollar Energy Fund, will be held as a virtual event on Thursday, January 27, 2022, to raise funds and awareness for local households in need of assistance with their heat-related utility services. Community members wishing to make a donation in support of the cause can do so by calling 1-800-823-WARM between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 27, or clicking below to donate online.
Once again, ice structures by Mastro Gourmet Ice will be built and carved in Gateway Center and showcased during the 9:00 a.m. live broadcast on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live (PTL). Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, this year’s ice structure will not be open to the public.
“The Cool Down for Warmth has been Dollar Energy Fund’s way of connecting with the community and raising awareness for those in our region who struggle to maintain basic utility services during the winter months,” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s CEO. “And, since many in our area are struggling to afford the costs associated with keeping their utilities on so their families can be safe and warm in their homes, we are grateful to have the opportunity to continue our outreach efforts on Pittsburgh Today Live. All are welcome to tune into the live broadcast on January 27 to see the Cool Down for Warmth ice structure, learn more about Dollar Energy Fund, and find out how they can help spread the warmth to their neighbors in need.”
All donations, whether made online or over the phone, will receive a dollar-for-dollar match from Dollar Energy Fund’s partnering utility companies, which includes Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Duquesne Light Company, Peoples Natural Gas and West Penn Power, A FirstEnergy Company. Funds collected will go directly to support local families who are struggling to restore or maintain basic utility service.
This year’s Cool Down for Warmth event is sponsored by Dynegy, UPMC, Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, First Commonwealth Bank, and EQT.
Pittsburgh business and community members, including teams from First Energy, PA Bar Association’s Utility Law Section, members of Dollar Energy Fund’s Board of Directors and other supporters, are utilizing an online crowdfunding platform to raise funds in support of the cause. Donations can be made in support of their efforts by visiting www.givebutter.com/cooldownforwarmth2022.
Since the first Cool Down for Warmth in 2015, $2.1 million has been raised to benefit 6,000 households in western Pennsylvania.
After Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to kick off the charitable season by making a donation on Giving Tuesday. A donation to Dollar Energy Fund is a great way to maximize your charitable dollars. There are many ways to support your neighbors in need on Giving Tuesday, including supporting a local campaign, making a general donation, or signing up to fundraise for an event. Here are some suggestions on how you can help local families maintain or restore basic utility service this holiday season:
Give Big Pittsburgh (PA)
Dollar Energy Fund will be participating in #GiveBigPittsburgh on Giving Tuesday. #GiveBigPittsburgh is an online fundraising effort, hosted by Pittsburgh Magazine, and offers nonprofits the chance to raise funds to support their critical missions. Please visit our Give Big Pittsburgh profile page and make your contribution. Every donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our partnering Pennsylvania utility companies and 100% of all funds will be used to provide utility assistance grants to local neighbors in need.
Be a part of hearts and hands giving to hundreds of local nonprofits across Nebraska. In partnership with Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District, Dollar Energy Fund is participating in SHARE Omaha for Giving Tuesday. Visit our SHARE Omaha profile page and make a contribution to help Nebraska neighbors in need. 100% of funds raised will be used to provide utility assistance to MUD and OPPD customers in need.
Check the Box on your monthly utility bill. Simply check the box on your utility bill to add a donation of $1 or more. The donation is automatically added and allows you to continue to make a difference throughout the year as you make your payments. As more and more people are opting out of paper bills, we’ve made it easy for you to sign up online via our virtual Check the Box website below.
We are currently raising funds for our upcoming event, Cool Down For Warmth, which will be held virtually on KDKA-TV on January 27, 2022. If you would like to participate in the event as a fundraiser or make an early donation, click below.
The Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon raised $150,492 to benefit Dollar Energy Fund and our neighbors in need, thanks to the combined effort of 3WS Pittsburgh and our supporters across the region. The amount raised will provide utility assistance to more than 425 Pittsburgh families (approx. 1,275 neighbors) during this cold winter.
Our fifth Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon took place on November 3 and 4, 2021. 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 with the on-air talent Jonny Hartwell, Bonny Diver, Tall Cathy, and Mike Frazer. A variety of donation incentives were also available during the event, such as gift certificates, game tickets, a spa package, and a new furnace!
Dollar Energy Fund also wants to extend a big THANK YOU to the staff at 3WS and iHeart Pittsburgh for rallying their listeners to support our cause.
If you missed our Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon, you can always help a neighbor in need by visiting our website. All donations are matched dollar-for-dollar and 100% of funds go directly to assist families in need.
Dollar Energy Fund’s 2021-2022 Program Year opened for all states in the organization’s service territory and applications are now being accepted from limited-income customers who need assistance with their gas, water, electric and sewer utility bills. The program provides grants to households facing an immediate utility crisis and funding is applied directly to their utility account to prevent a termination or to restore their service.
“We encourage those who are having difficulty paying their utility bills to reach out for help as soon as possible to see if they qualify for assistance offered by our organization in their state,” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s Chief Executive Officer. “We know that many households are still struggling financially due to COVID-related issues, and with the winter heating season approaching, we hope those in need of assistance can utilize a grant from our program to ensure they maintain safe utility service during the coldest months.”
Those seeking help should first contact their utility company for an eligibility screening and a referral to one of the Dollar Energy Fund’s Community-Based Organization partners to complete an application for the program. This approach connects households with additional services provided by a local nonprofit agency that may also be available to limited-income households, such as food, childcare and career assistance. A contact-less application option may be available upon request.
Eligibility is largely based on an applicant’s total household income and the amount varies by utility. In addition to meeting income guidelines, households may have needed to make a sincere effort of payment on their utility bill in the last three months and have a balance on their account. Households must first apply for available federal and state assistance if they are income eligible. Specific requirements, account balances and sincere payment amounts may differ by utility company and guidelines are subject to change. Some utility companies require a customer’s service to be off or in threat of termination to receive assistance.
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis through September 30, 2022, or until funds are depleted.
Last year, the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit helped more than 129,000 limited-income households meet their basic utility needs through distributing $50 million in hardship grants and providing over 390,000 individuals—including children, adults, and senior citizens—with the assistance needed to set them on the path to self-sufficiency. The organization currently operates Pennsylvania’s largest hardship fund and is a national leader in utility assistance. Since 1983, Dollar Energy Fund’s hardship grants have helped more than 758,500 families across its 14-state service territory maintain or restore safe utility services.
Dollar Energy Fund is funded by public contributions that are matched dollar for dollar by partnering utility companies. Customers of participating utility companies 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 is tax deductible.
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, including how to apply for a grant or make a donation to the organization, visit www.dollarenergy.org.
3,455 Service Restorations During Our 2020-2021 Program Year