Fuel Fund of Maryland and SunTrust
The Fuel Fund of Maryland is a non-profit, independent organization working to ensure Marylanders can afford their energy bills. Since 1981, individual donors and partners have provided funding and grants used to help families pay for energy like electricity, gas, heating oil and propane. Individuals needing assistance visit Fuel Fund community partners, or receive a referral through the United Way’s consumer referral line, 211.
This year, SunTrust entered into a partnership with Fuel Fund to help the state’s low-income residents meet their essential home energy needs, as Maryland is among the costliest states for energy in the country.
“Many families in Maryland are forced to choose between paying the rent/mortgage, food and energy,” says Mike Schmeckpeper, first vice president of SunTrust Bank Private Health Management and treasurer of the Fuel Fund Board of Directors. “For those families, an event like a temporary loss of work or serious illness can mean no money for energy. Imagine a child trying to do homework with no lights or Internet access. The Fuel Fund’s mission is to prevent families from situations like that.”
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Programs and Services:
Through the partnership, which became official in July, SunTrust established a program for its employees to volunteer as energy advisors in the Fuel Fund’s Watt Watchers program, which helps advise individuals on how to reduce their energy usage. The SunTrust Foundation also provided a grant for the bill assistance program.
The SunTrust collaboration is among the most beneficial and extensive of the Fuel Fund’s partnerships, says Mary Kay Page, corporate relations manager.
“SunTrust shares the Fuel Fund’s commitment to make the community stronger and that’s what this partnership is doing for us,” says Page.
Schmeckpeper, who has served on the board for two years, aims to expand awareness about the Fuel Fund’s programs both with individuals and the corporate community. “By reducing families’ energy costs, the Fuel Fund is helping families create more financial freedom,” he explains. I95