About the Fuel Fund of Maryland
The Fuel Fund was incorporated in 1981 as the Fuel Fund of Central Maryland, following the nation's first energy crisis during the late 1970s when an oil embargo squeezed supply, and energy prices soared. Hardest hit were those people least able to pay dramatic cost increases. Victorine Q. Adams, a Baltimore City councilwoman and noted civil rights activist, intervened and the earliest version of the Fuel Fund was born. She was moved to do so when a couple in her council district froze to death in their home. Adams vowed that this would never happen again under her watch. Today an integrated network of fuel funds across the nation carries on Mrs. Adam's vision.
With the onset of the deregulation of the electric utility industry, the Fuel Fund changed its name to Fuel Fund of Maryland, Inc. At every stage of the life of the Fuel Fund, its focus has been solely on the essential energy needs of individuals and families for whom energy is unaffordable. Families who receive help always pay as much of their bills as they are able. The portion that is unaffordable is usually divided among the customer, the Fuel Fund donations and bill credits allowed by the utility. In this way, the Fuel Fund supplements the resources of each family. Likewise, in order to use all of the resources that are available for families, the Fuel Fund refers applicants to the government-funded programs that operate out of the state Office of Home Energy Programs. Often a family receives adequate assistance from these programs. If they are still in need, the Fuel Fund helps.
People We Help:The Fuel Fund serves vulnerable Marylanders in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Prince Georges, Montgomery and the Southern Tri-Counties. The Fuel Fund has helped as many as 18,000 individuals in a single year. The target population is families and individuals in Central Maryland who live at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. A representative Fuel Fund family has an income under $13,000 for a family of three, or is a senior or individual with a disability living on a fixed income. A two-income family, each earning minimum wage of $6.15 per hour, has gross annual pay of $25,584.
The Need Has Never Been GreaterFuel prices have climbed 80 percent in four years. The cost of home heating oil has escalated by triple digits during that same time, and electric prices have increased tremendously in Central Maryland. While the cost of commodities are soaring, low-income wages remain static.
Fuel Fund families face tough choices every day. Like Mrs. Burch, an elderly woman who decided that her husband's medicine was more important than hers, so she stopped taking her medications. They couldn't afford the rent, food, utility bills, and medical expenses. Something had to go.
Or like Mr. Connor who was involved in a serious on-the-job accident. Out of work for four months, the family of four quickly went through their savings trying to close the gap between worker's compensation and their monthly budget. Before long their savings were drained.
These are just two of the families who were helped by the Fuel Fund. Our clients are proud; they need a hand up, not a hand out.
Over Half the People We Help Are ChildrenThe Fuel Fund of Maryland partners with advocates for the homeless, the hungry, the disenfranchised, because often our clients are a turnoff away from joining them. Over 50 percent of the people we help are children. Last year, nearly 10,000 children under the age of 19 were helped by Fuel Fund donors.
Donations help the Fuel Fund of Maryland keep people in their homes connected to life-sustaining energy. That energy takes many forms: natural gas, electricity, home heating oil, wood and propane—whatever it takes to keep people safe and secure in their homes in the icy winter and scorching summer.