Fuel Funds and Assistance Groups get Creative to Raise Funds

January 22, 2016—Fuel funds and other energy assistance providers are getting creative as they seek to raise funds for low-income households in their areas. This week’s featured news article takes a look at some of the efforts of several fuel funds, charities, community action agencies and utility companies in the upcoming months.

Rhode Island’s Good Neighbor Energy Fund is currently working with United Way of Rhode Island to gather donations from local residents and businesses for the 30th annual “Warm Thy Neighbor” fundraiser. Yellow donation envelopes are sent to all Rhode Islanders from the months of December to March. This year’s fundraising goal is $500,000. Once the funds are gathered by United Way, they will be distributed to local community action agencies which will then administer the funds to eligible households. The money raised goes to benefit Rhode Islanders who are not income eligible for LIHEAP and who have not already received other energy assistance funds.

Maine’s community action agencies have a similar partnership with their local United Way chapters for the state’s only state-wide fuel assistance fundraising effort, Keep ME Warm. United Way of Greater Portland collects and distributes the funds that they raise to community action programs or other local organizations, faith-based programs and nonprofit agencies across the state. The funds are distributed based on LIHEAP income eligibility.

Clark Public Utilities in Vancouver, Washington saw success with last year’s inaugural Race For Warmth, with nearly 600 runners raising $20,000. This year they are back once again with several area businesses as sponsors to help fund Operation Warm Heart, the utility company’s customer and employee funded low-income assistance program. The program, established in 1985, assists customers who can’t afford to pay their utility bills and do not qualify for LIHEAP assistance. The utility also offer potential donors, who do not want to participate in the 5K/10K walk/run, the opportunity to “Sleep in to Stay Warm” by making a donation on the race registration website.

Walk for Warmth events are a popular fundraising choice. South Dakota’s Black Hills Energy is holding their 5th annual Black Hills Cares Walk for Warmth in February. Likewise, Nebraska’s Common Fund of the Heartland announced its 9th Annual Heat the Streets and Walk for Warmth fundraiser is set for March.

North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) of Missouri is teaming up with Hardee’s restaurants in St. Charles, O’Fallon, St. Peters, Lake St. Louis, Wentzville, Troy, Bowling Green and Louisiana to collect donations for local low-income residents. Hardee’s also plans to donate proceeds from the sale of sausage and egg biscuits during the event, which is organized by Heat Up St. Louis. Last year NECAC staff and volunteers collected $280,000.

Environmental Office Solutions (EOS) has partnered with Operation Fuel to assist low-income residents in Connecticut. EOS has offered to make a donation to Operation Fuel when businesses and organizations collect used print cartridges for EOS to recycle. The amount of that donation will be determined by the quantity and type of the cartridges collected. In addition to helping Connecticut residents who need energy assistance, EOS states, fundraising efforts will also promote the reduction of landfill waste through recycling. Funds gathered will assist Operation Fuel in providing emergency energy assistance to residents through its statewide network of fuel banks.

Sources: Media Reports, Press Releases, LIHEAP Clearinghouse