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“An inspiration to others.” That’s what the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) called HeartShare’s Energy Assistance and Community Development Department in presenting Senior Director Tanya N. Jones with the 2022 Victorine Q. Adams Award, one of the energy field’s highest honors.
Conferred at the recent NEUAC Conference in New Orleans, the annual award recognizes nonprofits that display an innovative spirit in raising public awareness and generating financial aid for people in need of energy assistance.
“HeartShare was honored for its leadership and continuous work throughout the pandemic,” says Jones. “Kudos to the Energy Department staff for all their hard work, tireless commitment and dedication to those most vulnerable. We assist more than 30,000 individuals each year with direct and emergency services, utility grants and education.”
One of the most recent examples of HeartShare in action was the nonprofit’s response to the mass shooting in Buffalo. The Energy Department worked with National Grid and the FBI to identify families who were affected financially and offer them special assistance with their utility bills. National Grid, through its partnership with HeartShare, dedicated an additional $30,000 from its Care & Share fund. To date, the Energy Department has assisted 189 Buffalo families and is working continuously to find and assist others.
Jones, who was also recently elected President of the NEUAC Board of Directors, says that she “will be leveraging this esteemed honor to further HeartShare’s national reach and recognition.”
She’s already hard at work doing just that. As a direct result of HeartShare’s recognized leadership in the energy arena, Jones has been sought out for her insights and expertise by both national and global media. Her interview with NBC News about the growing number of people looking for help to pay their soaring utility bills was picked up by China Daily, Poynter and Yahoo, as well as several foreign-language publications. “We’ve braced ourselves,” Jones told the news outlet, “and we’re ready to provide as much assistance as we can.”
She was tapped for an article with a similar theme on Marketplace, about the plight of middle-income families. “There are not a lot of programs to help middle- and moderate-income,” said Jones. “And so they are struggling the most. Because after they pay their rent and then they buy food, they’re not eligible for any type of assistance.”
In between fielding requests for interviews, Jones also found time to record a PSA for Fordham University’s WFUV, explaining how to contact HeartShare’s Energy Assistance and Community Development Department and how it can help.
Seeing all of her Department’s hard work being recognized has Jones feeling… energized.
“I am dedicated to HeartShare’s mission of helping those most vulnerable and I love what I do,” she says. “HeartShare is able to stop energy insecurity and it really makes a difference in the lives of New Yorkers across the state, some of whom find themselves choosing between food and utilities. Everyone deserves the basic right to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I am proud to be able to provide that security.”
If you or someone you know needs help with utility bills, HeartShare’s Energy Department is here for you. Click the button below to find out more.
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