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Energy Safety Net Bulletin 194

The NFFN Board of Directors presented Coling with a plaque honoring his years of service to the organization during its December meeting in Denver.


December 28, 2012

Dear member: Long time National Fuel Funds Network Executive Director George Coling has announced his retirement effective the end of the year. Mr. Coling had held the position of executive director since 1997.

Kathy Walgren, a former executive director of THAW Fund in Michigan and a former member of the NFFN Board of Directors, including Chairperson, has been selected to serve as interim executive director through June when a permanent executive director is expected to be named.

NFFN Board Chairperson Marsha Belcher said “George’s day to day leadership, his desire to move our organization forward and his dedication to helping people has been unparalleled. The NFFN is better, more effective, and stronger because of the work George did over the years.”

During Coling’s tenure, the NFFN’s membership increased to more than 300 fuel funds, utilities, and government agencies, the NFFN joined with the National Low Income Energy Consortium to present the largest annual conference on energy issues confronting low income households, and the NFFN became a leading advocate for the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

The NFFN’s LIHEAP Action Day has become the signature grassroots advocacy event for LIHEAP and annually brings supporters of the program from across the country to Washington to meet with members of Congress and urge them to support the program.

Coling said “I have been privileged to work with an incredible group of people and organizations during my time with the NFFN. Helping people is always rewarding and the work done by the NFFN and its members is especially satisfying.”



Heat for the Holidays

· The National Fuel Funds Network has partnered with Propane Studio, a San Francisco based digital advertising agency, in an innovative fund raising campaign for energy assistance.

The on-line campaign, called Heat for the Holidays, will use social media and the internet to generate contributions to support NFFN’s work to help households struggling to pay their home heating needs this winter.

George Coling, NFFN executive director, said “this is a great opportunity to raise funds to aid the millions of Americans who are having a hard time dealing with home energy costs and to raise awareness of the importance of energy assistance programs during these difficult economic times. We are very excited to be part of this effort.”

Propane Studio Senior Vice President Laura Maness said “Rising energy costs coupled with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy have created challenges for families struggling with their oil and gas heating needs. This year, we’re encouraging our staff and peers to quite literally spread the warmth of the season, which seems only fitting given our agency’s tagline is “We Fuel Brands.”

To launch the campaign, Propane Studio has donated $1,000 and has set up a website,, where the public can make contributions. Those who make donations will be encouraged to spread the word about the campaign by sharing the information on their Facebook pages, through Twitter, and Tumblr. The Heat for the Holidays campaign will run until March 1, 2013.

Now here’s what you can do to help:

· Donate; you can make a gift in honor of someone and send them a holiday card;

· Urge your friends and associates to contribute;

· Place the link on your organization’s website;

· Share the link on your Facebook page;

· Direct those who follow you on Twitter to #TweetforHeat;

· Share the link through your Tumblr account.

LIHEAP Action Day

· As you prepare your calendars for the New Year, don’t forget to circle April 10, LIHEAP Action Day. Join us and other supporters of the federal energy assistance program in Washington for a day of grassroots advocacy. More information about LIHEAP Action Day, on-line registration and hotel arrangements will be posted soon on the NFFN website.

We hope you can join us on this important occasion.

In The News

· NFFN executive director George Coling was featured as one of the “Quotes of the Week” in the This Week in Poverty column in the December 21 issue of The Nation. Speaking about energy poverty Coling said:

“As the Congress and White House continue to search for ways to cut federal spending, I hope that the millions of Americans who are simply trying to keep their homes livable and their lights on do not become causalities of this effort. Programs that help low-income households—households that daily struggle to meet the burden of their home energy cost—should not be sacrificed to reduce the federal deficit. Federal energy assistance, known as LIHEAP, currently assists only 20 percent of those eligible for the program. Any reduction in funding would be devastating leaving millions with the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma. Energy poverty is very real and programs designed to help this situation should not be targeted for reduction.”

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