Since 1983, the Dollar Energy Fund (dollarenergy.org) has assisted low-income American households with their utility bills—help that’s needed now more than ever due to widespread unemployment, growing energy costs, and severe winter temperatures. The fund partners with 20 different utility companies in eight states, and each utility matches every donation dollar for dollar. To date, the fund has provided more than $83 million in direct assistance to more than 300,000 needy households. But its services go beyond fundraising to the larger goal of helping people to become self-sufficient. It offers consumer education and payment counseling to teach people to manage their utility expenses, and its weatherization program helps to lower bills by equipping homes with energy-efficient upgrades and repairs.
Each charity we feature has earned a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator, which rates not-for-profit organizations on the strength of their finances, their control of administrative and fundraising expenses, and the transparency of their operations. Four stars is the group’s highest rating.