Dollar Energy’s Fund’s 13th Annual Warmathon, which was held on February 11, raised $175,510 during the radio-based fundraiser hosted on Entercom’s KDKA News Radio (KDKA-AM / 100.1FM). The effort will provide heat-related utility assistance for 487 additional households—more than 1,470 individuals—through Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program.
“We are extremely grateful for the support given during the Warmathon because it means 487 more households in our region won’t have to face the winter months without safe utility services,” said Chad Quinn, chief executive officer of Dollar Energy Fund. “This support couldn’t have come at a better time as a high number of our neighbors are struggling right now due to COVID-related impacts. Dollar Energy Fund is proud to be a resource for those who have nowhere else to turn, especially during these difficult and unprecedented times”
This year, 241 individual donors became Neighborhood Heroes with a donation or $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 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 products from event sponsors and entrance into raffles for prizes. Incentive sponsors for the event were Air Pro Heating & Cooling, Moon Golf Club, Mr. Waterheater, Levin Furniture, Totin’s Diner, Betsy Ann Chocolates, Smallman Street Deli, Sarris Candies, Oakmont Bakery, Matt Mertz Plumbing, Cucina Bella, Pizza Hut, Napa Prime Chophouse & Cigar Bar, Off the Hook, Metropolitan Windows, Altmeyer’s Bed Bath Home, Voss TV & Appliance, Nasco Roofing, Monte Cello’s, Joseph Tambellini Restaurant, Candelore’s Barking Beauties and Coit Cleaning and Restoration.
The Warmathon has raised more than $3.27 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 $275,000 during its 7th annual Cool Down for Warmth campaign on January 28, all with the help of local business leaders, sponsors, utility partners and many generous community individuals. The amount raised will provide assistance for approximately 765 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. The event typically includes the construction of a large ice house in Market Square that is open to the public, but Dollar Energy Fund had to change plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Mastro Gourmet Quality Ice built an ice news studio and other ice sculptures in Gateway Center to be showcased during PTL’s live broadcast.
Over the course of the week, many supporters signed up on CrowdRise to raise funds and awareness for the thousands of families in our region without heat-related utility service. Many individuals and teams achieved their fundraising goals, including DLC’s Subzero Heroes, FirstEnergy, AEC Group, Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Public Utility Law Section, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, and Peoples. Dollar Energy Fund’s Board of Directors also exceeded its fundraising goal with the help of members, Kyle O’Connor and Michael McGrath. 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 11.
Imagine the stress of approaching the cold months with an apprehension that goes beyond snowy roads and is instead derived from the question no family should have to ask: will I make it through the winter? Limited-income families in our city are trying to keep their homes warm so their children can sleep at night. They are struggling to keep their pipes from freezing so they can shower and cook dinner. They will stretch their thin incomes and still not come up with the necessary funds to stay warm. But, you can help!
Dollar Energy Fund’s Cool Down for Warmth, powered by Dynegy, will host its 7th annual event virtually on Thursday, January 28 in partnership with KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live (PTL). The annual ice house will not be constructed in the middle of Market Square, but the goal of this televised campaign remains the same – to build awareness of the many families who will go without heat during the harsh winter months, while attempting to raise money for utility assistance grants.
There are many ways you can get involved and help a neighbor in need:
Sign up to participate as a fundraiser in the Cool Down for Warmth event. Create a team on CrowdRise and reach out to co-workers, family, and friends to work toward raising funds for your neighbors in need.
Make a secure, tax-deductible donation on CrowdRise. All donations will receive a dollar-for-dollar match from our partnering utility companies and 100% of the donations and matching funds will be used to provide utility assistance grants to local families in need through Dollar Energy Fund’s Hardship Program.
Dollar Energy Fund’s Cool Down for Warmth, powered by Dynegy, will host its 7th annual event virtually to raise funds and awareness for those in our region who struggle to afford the cost of heat-related utility services. The event will take place on Thursday, January 28, in partnership with KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live (PTL), and will provide an opportunity for the community to make a donation in support of local families by calling 1-800-823-WARM between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or by visiting www.dollarenergy.org/cooldownforwarmth2021.
The Cool Down for Warmth typically includes the construction of a large ice house in Market Square that is open to the public, but the organization had to change plans due to COVID-19. This year, ice structures by Mastro Gourmet Ice will be built and carved in Gateway Center and showcased during PTL’s 9:00 a.m. live broadcast on January 28. The public will not be able to view the structures in person.
“While circumstances prevent us from hosting our event as we normally do, we are committed to continuing our efforts to raise awareness and funds for households in our region that are in need of utility assistance during this difficult time.” said Chad Quinn, Dollar Energy Fund’s CEO. “With many facing unprecedented financial uncertainty amid COVID-19, our program may be the only support for those who are struggling to afford basic, heat-related utility services. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about Dollar Energy Fund to tune into PTL and see how they can help spread the warmth to their neighbors.”
All online and phone donations 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, EQT and BNY Mellon.
Pittsburgh business and community members, including teams from AEC Group, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, 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 https://charity.gofundme.com/donate/event/cooldownforwarmth2021.
Since the first Cool Down for Warmth in 2015, $1.6 million has been raised to benefit 4,500 households in western Pennsylvania.
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 $170 million in utility assistance grants to more than 605,000 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, Indiana and Nebraska. 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.
Use these energy-saving tips to help you save money while staying warm and safe this winter:
Cover drafty doors and windows
Special plastic sheeting kits come with handy pieces of plastic and double-sided tape you need to secure drafty windows. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce air flow. Use a hairdryer on the plastic to vacuum the seal. You can also replace worn weatherstripping, adjust the door thresholds for a tighter fit, and get a door sweeper that will help block out larger drafts. If a playing card fits the crevice of an outside door or window, you need more weather stripping.
Close your curtains and blinds at night
Temperatures always drop more at night due to the lack of the sun’s energy. Close your curtains at night to reduce the chill you may feel. It may even be worth the investment to get heavier drapes that will provide you with more thermal protection. Don’t use a permanent solution, such as heavy landscaping, because opening the curtains and letting the sun in will warm your home during the day.
Adjust your thermostat
Set your thermostat for 68 degrees. Each degree above that adds to your cost, and setting it higher won’t heat your home any faster. A five-degree lower setting will conserve energy when you plan to be away for many hours.
Reduce heat loss from your fireplace
Make sure your chimney is clear of any debris and inspect your damper to make sure it opens and closes as needed. Be sure to close the damper tightly whenever the fireplace is not in use. Also, invest in tempered glass doors to prevent the warmed air in your home from escaping up the chimney while the fireplace is operating. Most importantly, if you don’t use your fireplace at all, have it professionally plugged and sealed.
Reverse your ceiling fan
Look for a small toggle switch on the fan. After switching it, the blades should be running clockwise. To make sure, stand directly under the fan. You shouldn’t feel a breeze. Running the fan in reverse creates an updraft that sends warmer air pooled near the ceiling back down into the living space.
Use LED holiday lighting
Holiday lights can dramatically increase your electric bill. LED lights are more energy-efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. LEDs are also much cooler so there is less risk of fire or injury. LEDs use less power so it’s possible to connecting multiple strings end-to-end safely.
Protect your water pipes
If your pipes aren’t insulated, run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Even better, save money in the long run by insulating all pipes. Also, open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
Avoid unsafe heating sources
Households without utility heat often rely on unsafe heating sources, such as kerosene heaters, kitchen stoves or ovens, electric space heaters, and neglected fireplaces. Avoid these methods! Contact your utility company or Dollar Energy Fund immediately so we can help you restore and maintain a safer heating source.
Be prepared for inclement winter weather and shut offs
Always have extra blankets, flashlights, portable radios, and a supply of fresh batteries on hand if the power should go off. Report outages to your utility company immediately and get help. (Do not call 911 to report a utility outage.)
Winter storms and ice may cause downed power lines
If you see a downed power line, immediately call your utility company and/or 911. Do not touch trees or limbs on power lines. Stay away from all objects and puddles near power lines. When crews arrive, give them plenty of space to do their work.
Safety is the #1 priority
Check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly. Make sure your natural gas meter is visible at all times and accessible for maintenance and emergency responders. Where possible, use a broom instead of a shovel to clear snow away from the natural gas meter to prevent damage. Keep flammable items away from heating vents and sources, such as bedding, clothing, curtains, and rugs.
For more tips and tricks to save money this winter, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
Sources: Peoples Natural Gas; AEP Ohio; Columbia Gas; PA Public Utility Commission
Now that you’ve survived 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 Dollar Energy Fund on Giving Tuesday. Here are some suggestions on how you can help local families maintain or restore basic utility service this holiday season:
Dollar Energy Fund will be participating in #GiveBigPittsburgh on Giving Tuesday. #GiveBigPittsburgh is a 24-hour 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 to 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.
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.
Make a General Donation Online
Make your contribution to Dollar Energy Fund through our secure, web-based donation portal via credit card.
Check the Box
Check the Box on your monthly utility bill. Simply check the box on your utility bill to add a donation of $1 or more to your monthly bill. 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.
Join an Event
We are currently raising funds for our upcoming event, Cool Down For Warmth, which will be held virtually on KDKA-TV on January 28 & 29, 2021. If you would like to participate in the event as a fundraiser, visit www.dollarenergy.org/cooldownforwarmth2021.
Through the combined effort of 3WS Pittsburgh and our supporters, the Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon raised $135,664 to benefit Dollar Energy Fund and our neighbors in need. The amount raised will provide utility assistance to more than 377 Pittsburgh families (1,131 neighbors) during this cold winter.
Our fourth Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon took place on November 18 and 19, 2020. 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 free turkeys, gift certificates, 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. They worked to keep everyone socially distanced and safe for this virtual fundraiser and we are so grateful for their accommodations.
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.
According to a recent study, over two-thirds of consumers across the U.S. are concerned about their ability to pay their bills. Thousands of families across our Pittsburgh region are experiencing a financial crisis. As temperatures continue to drop, our neighbors need assistance staying warm and safe in their homes.
iHeartMedia is teaming up with Dollar Energy Fund to help our local neighbors restore or maintain their utility service this winter. Our fourth Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon will take place on November 18 & 19, 2020.
The concept is simple: make a donation of $10 or more during the event, request a song, 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 incentives.
All donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our utility partners, and 100% of all funds will go directly to provide utility assistance grants to our most vulnerable neighbors.
Ways to Donate
Call 1-800-823-WARM at any time during the hours of the event (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on November 18 & 19) and a volunteer will assist you with your donation and submitting a song request.
A donation of $180, or $15/month for a year, 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 specific donation incentives! All Neighborhood Heroes will receive:
Below is a press release by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia published on October 21, 2020.
CHARLESTON, WV – Governor Jim Justice today announced that $25 million of the CARES Act Relief Fund has been allocated to assist qualifying West Virginians who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are struggling to pay their utility bills. Customers of electric, natural gas, water and sewer utility companies who have experienced economic hardship and/or uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic causing them to have unpaid utility bills from the period of March 1 – July 31 of this year, may receive financial assistance to pay those bills.
West Virginia residential customers who qualify for these funds will be receiving letters with an application from their utility companies in the next few days. Customers must complete and return the application to either their utility company or the Dollar Energy Fund no later than Thursday, November 12, 2020. Past due balances for bills issued before or after the eligible period, or not related to a COVID-19 related event (such as job loss), are not eligible for payment through this grant program.
“We appreciate Governor Justice recognizing the dilemma in which thousands of West Virginians are finding themselves,” stated PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane. “$25 million will make a huge difference to struggling families across West Virginia. My fellow Commissioners and I would like to thank the utility Companies for voluntarily not terminating customers during this difficult time brought about by COVID-19.”
Public service districts and municipal utilities will be working with their local Regional Planning and Development Councils, the West Virginia Rural Water Association and the West Virginia Municipal League on this grant process. All monies provided though the CARES Act Relief Fund must be spent by December 30, 2020.
Dollar Energy Fund kicked off a new program year on October 1, 2020. 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 essential work for more than 37 years. Here are some highlights from the 2019-2020 program year (October 2019 – September 2020):
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Dollar Energy Fund teamed up to host our second Topgolf Fundraiser. The event raised $14,770, including a dollar-for-dollar match by Columbia, to benefit customers in need. This amount provided much-needed heating assistance to approximately 50 households.
Our director of programs, Mary Sally, discussed the Hardship Program and our partnership with Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority at the Pittsburgh #BeUtilityWise conference in October.
Dollar Energy Fund hosted its 3rd annual Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon at iHeartMedia studios and broadcasted on 3WS Pittsburgh. The event raised $109,869 to provide utility assistance to approximately 915 Pittsburgh neighbors who were struggling to stay warm.
Dollar Energy Fund was the presenting sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland for the third 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.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in #GiveBigPittsburgh, an online giving day hosted by the Pittsburgh Magazine on Giving Tuesday. With your generosity and a match from our utility partners, we raised $3,400 for Pittsburgh families in need.
In January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $315,000 during its 6th annual Cool Down for Warmth event in Market Square. The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 877 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
During Cool Down for Warmth, we hosted our 4th annual Bowls for Warmth Soup Tasting, presented by BNY Mellon. Twenty local restaurants showed up to support Dollar Energy Fund and serve cups of soup to the lunchtime crowd. Bowls for Warmth raised an additional $25,000 in two days, including a match from our utility partners.
In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 12th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised $170,000, which provided utility assistance grants to 475 Pittsburgh-area households.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dollar Energy Fund took steps to ensure our Hardship Program continues. We adjusted quickly to limited staff resources and remote workforce arrangements. We also initiated measures to ensure the continuity of the other services we provide, including enrollments in Customer Assistance Programs.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, utility companies are committed to working with consumers who are struggling to afford basic utility service. Dollar Energy Fund started contracts with two new utility partners – Omaha Public Power District and Metropolitan Utilities District in Nebraska. These new partnerships expanded our service territory to 14 states.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in The Pittsburgh Foundation’s #GiveBigPittsburgh COVID-19 Response online giving campaign on May 5, 2020. With a match from our generous utility partners, we raised $4,600 for local families.
Peoples Natural Gas teamed up with Dollar Energy Fund for a Facebook #HelpYourNeighbor Livathon to raise funds to provide critical utility assistance for our neighbors struggling during the pandemic. With a match from Peoples, the virtual event raised $2,170 for customers in need.
Dollar Energy Fund participated in the Omaha Gives campaign to provide critical relief to Nebraska families in need through Omaha Public Power District’s Energy Assistance Program and Metropolitan Utilities District’s Home Fund.
Dollar Energy Fund earned its fourth 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 participated in the #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert on August 19, 2020.
Through its Coronavirus Aid Relief Fund allocation under the CARES Act, the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Douglas County have allocated a portion of those funds to provide utility assistance to customers of Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District who are struggling to afford their bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dollar Energy Fund is currently administering these funds.
In September, we welcomed 14 foursomes at Quicksilver Golf Club for our 12th annual Golf Classic. This event is a fan favorite, featuring 18-holes of golf, our famous Bloody Mary Bar, a delicious lunch and more. The online silent auction raised over $1,400 in donations.
Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund distributed 27,215 grants, totaling more than $8.78 million across the country during the 2019-2020 program year.
Since 1983, we have assisted more than 593,000 households by distributing $165 million in utility assistance nationwide.
With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2020-2021 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, follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on our winter fundraising campaigns. On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we help, thank you for your continued support!