February 21, 2022

National Grid Foundation Commits $250,000 in Energy Assistance

National Grid Foundation Commits $250,000 in Energy Assistance

Foundation awards massive grant to Catholic Charities in support of residents in need.

ALBANY, NY – The National Grid Foundation is once again partnering with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany to support people struggling to pay their home energy bills. The Foundation is committing $250,000 toward helping area residents, matching last year’s fuel-neutral grant to aid families in need.

Now in its fourteenth year, this annual grant helps families across the region to pay their energy bills through Catholic Charities’ Emergency Energy Assistance Fund (EEAF). The fund supports residents across 14 upstate New York counties, many of whom have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the inflated costs of groceries, gas, and home energy.

Recognizing the increase in need and cost, the Foundation has consistently increased the value of this grant – from $20,000 in 2009 to today’s $250,000. Catholic Charities estimates the funding has helped 17,000 people to date. In 2022, Catholic Charities anticipates serving another 1000 people across 450 homes through the EEAF.

People like Jean Haven, who was unable to pay her bills when an unexpected COVID diagnosis kept her and her husband out of work.

“This was back when quarantine times were longer,” said Haven. “We were both out of work for 10 days. In that time, rent was still due and bills were still coming out of our account.”

Through the EEAF, the Havens were able keep the lights on and stay ahead of their bills until they were both back at work.

“It’s a godsend for so many families,” said Vincent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. “Especially right now. We used to be able to assist families with energy costs for $200 or $300. Over time, that amount has increased with cost of living. Now, it can take up to $600 to get a family back on track.”

“Roughly one in three requests we get are for heating assistance,” said Sally Zgolinski, Director of Community Services for Catholic Charities Tri-County Services. Zgolinski works directly with individuals in need of financial assistance, including emergency energy assistance. “Even more people are coming to us as winter drags on. People have already used up their heating budgets and it’s still cold out. Now what?”

National Grid Foundation presented the $250,000 grant to Catholic Charities in a center-court presentation at yesterday’s Siena Saints Men’s Basketball game against St. Peter’s.

“We are pleased to again be able to help our neighbors by not only continuing our annual support of Emergency Energy Assistance Services,” said Ed White, Executive Director of the National Grid Foundation. “But we are especially thrilled to be able to provide additional funding to offer even more relief for fuel-neutral energy costs during this unprecedented situation. We have a long history of serving as a community partner and understand the critical need in our communities. We are grateful to organizations as Catholic Charities of Albany as they deliver so many much-needed services at this difficult time.”    

“Our partnership with National Grid Foundation will help people better afford electricity, natural gas, heating oil, propane, wood – whatever they need to keep safe from the cold,” said Colonno. “I am thankful that we can provide this support to people who are working hard to pay their bills. Nobody should have to choose between keeping warm or keeping food on the table.”

Last year, and into early 2022, the National Grid Foundation continued helping its neighbors with food access, human services and emergency heating fund support assisting local communities impacted by COVID-19.  Under a $1.5 million donation, more than 50 non-profit organizations, including Catholic Charities, across New York, Mass. and Rhode Island, thousands of individuals are receiving assistance with basic human needs, hunger relief, and fuel-neutral winter energy costs. During 2020, the National Grid Foundation Board of Directors approved a total of $2 million in COVID-support and emergency services funding to aid communities in need.

Officials from Catholic Charities and the National Grid Foundation are providing the community members with the opportunity to support their neighbors by making a donation to the EEAF. Community members can do so by visiting www.ccrcda.org to make a gift and noting “Energy Assistance” in the comments.

About National Grid Foundation

National Grid Foundation was created to enhance the quality of life across its grant making territory. The Foundation’s ongoing challenge is to create opportunities for solutions to educational and environmental issues. Its objective is based on the principle that giving people the tools to build hope is an essential ingredient in the development of individuals, families, and communities. Since its inception in December of 1998, the Foundation, now in its 23rd year, has granted more than $30 million to local community organizations.

About Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany 

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany is one of the largest, private social services organizations in the region. Serving 14 counties around the Capital District across some 10,000 square miles, Catholic Charities serves and empowers all persons in need, regardless of race, creed, religion, or lifestyle, as well as advocates for a just society and collaborates with women and men of good will. Last year, an estimated 100,000 people turned to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany for assistance. Through the generous support of donors and the community, we are able to assist the poor and vulnerable with housing, food, emergency assistance, disabilities services, senior services, and much more.