March 8, 2024 at 1:28 p.m.

HISTORIC MILESTONE

Catholic Charities receives $500K grant from the National Grid Foundation
Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, and Brian Sano, Regional Director of Community & Customer Management for National Grid, hold the historic $500,000 grant check that will help those in the Diocese of Albany pay their energy bills.
Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, and Brian Sano, Regional Director of Community & Customer Management for National Grid, hold the historic $500,000 grant check that will help those in the Diocese of Albany pay their energy bills.

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It truly was a historic day for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany.

On Friday, March 8, Catholic Charities received a record-breaking $500,000 grant from  the National Grid Foundation, their longtime partner, to fortify emergency assistance services in upstate New York.

“With prices so high, our neighbors are really struggling to keep the heat up and the lights on — this grant of $500,000 will help hundreds of people to stay warm this winter,” said Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CEO of Catholic Charities, during a press conference at the Pastoral Center. “We can’t thank the National Grid Foundation enough for this life-changing gift!” 

For over 16 years, the National Grid Foundation has steadfastly supported Catholic Charities’ Emergency Energy Assistance Fund (EEAF), serving as a beacon of hope for countless individuals and families in need. In celebration of the foundation’s 25th anniversary, this monumental grant stands as a testament to their unwavering commitment to uplifting communities across the region.

“This gift 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,” said Eileen Cohen, Chair of the National Grid Foundation. “As so many are experiencing the rising cost of living, and our neighbors and communities are strained by tough economic times, we are pleased to once again be able to help and support these fuel-neutral emergency heating and utility funds. 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.”

Emergency assistance services are established at each of Catholic Charities’ 11 agencies, providing crucial support to residents across 14 counties in upstate New York. Through the generous contribution from the National Grid Foundation, these vital services are poised to reach even greater heights, providing essential support to individuals facing dire circumstances.

Individuals such as Gloria and Tina, who were profiled in short videos during the press conference. 

Gloria and her husband returned to Schoharie County once their children were grown. When her husband died, Gloria was alone in a large house and her only income came from Social Security checks. With mounting energy and medical bills, she turned to Catholic Charities and the EEAF to find relief.

“A prideful woman, it wasn’t easy for Gloria to make that initial ask,” Sister Betsy said. “But now she has formed a deep relationship with Catholic Charites and trusts if she needs our help again we will be there for her.”

Tina, a mother of five with disabilities, moved to New York from Virginia to provide a better life for her family. Living in Amsterdam, Tina was solely dependent on her disability income and could not pay her energy bill. She also received assistance from the fund.

“Not having to choose between buying food and paying bills gave Tina reassurance her family was going to be OK,” Sister Betsy said. “While Gloria’s and Tina’s stories are very personal, they also represent many others. Throughout Catholic Charities’ 14-county service area many experience the same financial uncertainties. With this grant, the National Grid Foundation brings hope and peace of mind to those in times of adversity.”

Every year, because of this show of support from National Grid, Catholic Charities is able to assist more and more individuals who are struggling to make ends meet. In 2023, the organization served over 1,400 individuals across 621 households, an increase of 17 percent from 2022. This year, with inflation continuing to skyrocket, and the costs of basic needs like housing, utilities, food and gas increasing, Catholic Charities anticipates the number of people in need of emergency assistance services to increase.

“This is the largest gift to date from the foundation to Catholic Charities for this fund and we are incredibly proud to be able to do that,” said Brian Sano, Regional Director of Community & Customer Management at National Grid. “The foundation has a long history of serving as a community partner. We all understand the critical needs of our communities and we want our neighbors to know that we are here for them when they are in tough times. We are so grateful for organizations like Catholic Charities in Albany as they help to deliver much-needed services to so many people that need them.”


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