National Grid Foundation Commits $300,000 in Energy Assistance amid Rising Inflation
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 an unprecedented $300,000 toward helping area residents, increasing last year’s fuel-neutral grant by $50,000 to aid families in need as the cost of living and inflation rates soar. On Thursday, February 16, National Grid Foundation presented the record-setting grant to Catholic Charities at CoNSERNS-U, Catholic Charities’ outreach center in Rensselaer, NY.
Now in its fifteenth 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 inflated costs of groceries, gas, and home energy.
In response to increasing community needs, the Foundation has consistently upped the value of this grant – from $20,000 in 2009 to today’s $300,000. Catholic Charities estimates the funding has helped 17,000 people to date and anticipates serving another 1000 people across 450 homes through the EEAF in 2023.
Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, kicked off the press event by underscoring the vital need for such community support, “Each year the money awarded in this grant does an enormous amount of good across the 14 counties of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, especially here in the Capital District. There is always a need for emergency assistance and winter is a particularly difficult time for those trying to make ends meet. Cold snaps and unpredictable weather are stretching already thin budgets even further, leaving some of our neighbors to choose between heat and basic necessities. Thanks to the National Grid Foundation we will again be able to help folks who are going through a difficult time. We’re grateful for your support, their support, and everything you all do to help our neighbors in need.”
In 2021, Catholic Charities provided 337 households across the Diocese with utility assistance. In 2022, that number has increased by nearly 60%, with 531 homes receiving support with utility costs. The organization anticipates the need will remain high as the cost of living continues to burden residents.
“I am humbled to be able to represent the National Grid Foundation, as well as National Grid and the men and women who handle the poles, the pipes, and the wires that connect us to our customers. The work you all do connects us to our community as well, every year we come back we’ve been able to increase the donation and the impact. We look forward to continuing the work that we do with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany.” remarked Ed White, Executive Director for the National Grid Foundation.
Last year, and into early 2023, the National Grid Foundation continued helping its community with food access, human services, and emergency heating fund support. Nearly $1 million in total grants were approved by the National Grid Foundation Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, United Way of Long Island, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. With this help, Catholic Charities was able to deliver fuel-neutral assistance in 600 homes, serving over 1,500 people in need.
Jenn Hyde, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Tri-County Services, spoke to the impact these grants have on our clients, “It is my honor and privilege to share a statement on behalf of Laura expressing her appreciation for the support that Catholic Charities was able to extend to her and her family. This support would not be possible without the National Grid Foundation. Laura reports, ‘I recently spoke with Catholic Charities about a National Grid disconnection notice I received. Being medically out of work this organization did not hesitate to help. I am so grateful and thankful for their support and willingness to help my family. Thank you.’ I certainly share in Laura’s appreciation for the opportunity that the National Grid Foundation entrusts to Catholic Charities to address utility needs among our neighbors. Unfortunately, we see too many people in situations similar to Laura’s each and every day. Whether it be; a person with an unexpected medical concern that has them temporarily out of work and unable to make ends meet, a person waiting on a decision as to their eligibility for HEAP but yet need the propane for heat today, an individual who for no reason of their own had their work hours reduced to a variable schedule and now struggles to pay all of their monthly bills, or a newly single parent who is struggling to figure out a new monthly budget with now only one income. These are the people that with the support from the National Grid Foundation, we are able to help. Thank you, National Grid Foundation, for allowing us to help the 'Lauras' that turn to us.”
Jillian Butler, Family Case Manager for Catholic Charities Housing Office, echoed this sentiment, “As a Family Case Manager for our supportive apartments within Catholic Charities I’ve seen this program truly help my tenants on a very personal level. Some of my clients are low-income and they are not able to meet heating costs, especially with the economic crisis some of us have experienced since COVID. I just wanted to thank the National Grid Foundation for stepping in, so we can help families that I face every day in our program.”
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, or by texting “HelpHeatNow” to 41444, 100% of donated funds from the community will go toward providing financial assistance for heating and utility emergencies for area residents.