Gary Zanazzi, Swezey Fuel; Ed Gomez, Petro; Cliff Hochhauser, Carbo Industries; Craig Fligstein, United Way of Long Island; National Grid transport driver; Darryl Clark, Wallace Eannace Associates, Inc.; Babylon Councilman Anthony Manetta; Brian Sapp, National Grid; Gladys Martinez, Project Warmth Recipient; Theresa Regnante, United Way of Long Island; Christine Berardi, National Grid Foundation; Aaron Choo, National Grid; Lynda Nicolino, Bethpage Federal Credit Union; David Lyons, PSEG; Suffolk Legis. Jason Richberg; Jerome Bost, IBEW Local 1049; Magdalonie Paris-Campbell, AT&T Services Inc.; Melanie DiPalma, representing State Sen. Monica Martinez; Wendy Frigeria, National Grid; Tom Magno, Northville Industries. (Photo: United Way of Long Island)
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National Grid’s $500K grant fuels Project Warmth

United Way of Long Island received a $500,000 grant from the National Grid Foundation to support its Project Warmth program.

The grant, which also marked the 25th anniversary of the National Grid Foundation, was celebrated by the United Way, which continues its efforts to keep struggling Long Islanders warm through the winter.

As Long Island’s only non-governmental, island-wide emergency fuel fund, National Grid’s Project Warmth provides a one-time grant for oil, gas, and fuel-related electric service. 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, according to an organization statement.

There are more than 285,179 hardworking Long Islanders struggling to afford life’s basic needs, according to United Way’s latest 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.

“Because of National Grid Foundation, I was able to pay my gas and electric bills and now have peace of mind,” Gladys Martinez, a Project Warmth grant recipient, said in the statement. Martinez, a mother of four who lost her job as a home healthcare aide, had to move her family into a trailer after a fire damaged her home and fell far behind in her energy bills. “The emergency assistance has gotten me through a very difficult time in my life and allowed me to keep a roof over my family’s heads this winter.”

Since 1994, Project Warmth has provided more than $13 million to assist over 31,000 families. Project Warmth is available during the winter months and remains open until the funds are exhausted.

“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 and CEO of United Way of Long Island, said in the statement. “The foundation’s visionary approach to philanthropy continues to inspire and set a precedent for others to follow.”

Project Warmth works with 18 local agencies and more than 90 parish outreach centers that provide intake and case management services. The case management process ensures needed services are provided to the client to resolve existing problems and reduce the need for future assistance. Eighty percent of previous years clients did not request further assistance, according to the 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,” Eileen Cohen, chair of National Grid Foundation, said in the statement. “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.”

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