National Grid Foundation awards $500K to United Way of Long Island


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National Grid Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to Deer Park-based United Way of Long Island for its Project Warmth program.

The program provides emergency heating assistance for Long Islanders who do not qualify for federal assistance because of income guidelines. Without it, some families would lack the resources to keep the heat on when the weather turns cold, United Way said.

“This contribution helps celebrate the foundation’s 25 years of service in our communities and highlights our core principle: Giving people the tools they need to build hope is an essential ingredient in the development of individuals, families and building stronger communities,” Eileen Cohen, chair of National Grid Foundation, said in a written statement.

“We have a long history of serving as a community partner, understand the critical need in our communities, and want our neighbors to know we are here for them, Cohen said. “We are so grateful to organizations like United Way of Long Island as they help deliver so many much-needed services during these trying economic times.”

Launched in 1994, the program has raised more than $11 million to provide emergency heating assistance, helping more than 30,000 families. That assistance is often critical at the end of the year when other programs to address year-long needs might be depleted, leaving families with nowhere else to turn for help, according to United Way.

And the support is critical for many households, experts said.

More than 285,179 hardworking Long Islanders struggle to afford life’s basic needs, according to United Way’s most recent ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report. One out of three families don’t earn enough to make ends meet or heat their homes during the bitter winter months.

“The National Grid Foundation has not only reached a significant milestone in its own journey but will also help us keep over 1,000 families safe and warm,” Theresa Regnante, president & CEO of United Way of Long Island, said in a written statement. “The foundation’s visionary approach to philanthropy continues to inspire and set a precedent for others to follow.”

Through Project Warmth, residents in need receive a one-time grant for oil, gas, and fuel-related electric. Payments are made directly to oil and utility companies on behalf of eligible residents who are struggling financially and have exhausted other options. For the thousands of families United Way helps each year, assistance with an oil delivery or utility arrears means they have room in their budgets to cover essentials like food or medication.

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