Agape Square, a Habitat for Humanity community in Portland’s Cully neighborhood, has been chosen for Oregon Energy Fund’s third energy retrofit project in the Portland Metro area. Fourteen diverse families call Agape Square home.
Maintaining a home is challenging for the low-income homeowners, especially when expensive critical repairs are needed. Oregon Energy Fund’s retrofit program provides both short-term and long-term solutions to these families, ensuring that their homes will be safe and comfortable by winter.
In the words of Hans, a grateful Habitat for Humanity homeowner, “It felt like a blessing that it just came to us.” These projects, he emphasizes, are not just helpful; they are crucial. They serve as the foundation upon which cherished memories are built and passed down through generations. Hans adds, “These kinda things are crucial and helpful to us to keep a well-working machine so that the kids can come over and enjoy the house that they grew up in. So it’s important to us.”
Amarah was a dedicated student, determined to succeed in her spring term. However, life had a different plan for her. A month before the end of the semester, her primary source of income as a delivery driver came to a screeching halt. Her faithful car had finally given up on her. Amarah’s earnings vanished overnight, leaving her with a stack of unpaid bills.
With the commitment to see Amarah through her difficulties, Oregon Energy Fund offered a helping hand. We provided financial assistance to keep her power on during this trying period. The relief Amarah felt was immeasurable and allowed her to focus on her studies without constant worry.
The story of Amarah is a testament to Oregon Energy Fund’s mission to serve not only families but also students, recognizing that education is a powerful tool to overcome adversity. By assisting students like Amarah, we ensure that the flame of ambition continues to burn even in the darkest of times.
Oregon Energy Fund is an organization that holds a crucial place in the hearts and lives of Oregonians. For over three decades, we have been dedicated to supporting and empowering individuals and families throughout the state. We understand the significance of energy security and the impact it has on every aspect of people’s lives. From keeping a home warm during the coldest winter night to ensuring that the lights stay on during challenging
times, our mission is to provide assistance that goes beyond temporary relief.
We believe in tackling the root causes of energy insecurity, aiming for long-term stability and resilience for Oregonians. That stability is threatened when basic home maintenance and repairs are unaffordable for families. This is why Oregon Energy Fund has expanded our programming through corporate partnerships to include projects that offer no-cost repairs for heating and cooling equipment, insulation, and other costly appliances that keep people safe and energy bills manageable. These partnerships allow us to keep donor contributions focused on energy assistance, while also allowing us to extend even greater support to clients in need.
As an organization deeply rooted in the community, we have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of our efforts. We have seen families lifted out of crisis, children given opportunities to thrive, and communities strengthened. Oregon Energy Fund is more than just an organization. For many, we are all that stands between them and the cold. In a world with so many barriers to building a bright and secure future, we are here to ensure that energy costs aren’t one of them. As the country’s only statewide energy assistance program, we take this responsibility seriously, but we can’t do it alone.
Your support enables us to continue creating a future where every Oregonian has the energy security they deserve. This will ensure that families never have to face the heart-wrenching choice between electricity and food due to an unexpected crisis. I continue to draw inspiration from the incredible support of our community, knowing that together, we can continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Oregonians.
At Oregon Energy Fund, we take great pride in our approach of “neighbor helping neighbor”, which ensures that the support you give stays within the communities you live in. When you donate to OEF, you can trust that your contribution , helping your neighbors who are facing financial hardships with their energy bills.
One of our remarkable monthly donors, Donna, exemplifies the spirit of giving back to the community. Living with four other retired seniors, Donna appreciates the impact of assistance they received during the scorching summer of 2015. Grateful for the lifesaving support, Donna now gives a monthly gift to express her gratitude and contribute to the well-being of her neighbors.
It’s inspiring to see that many of our longstanding donors are also themselves recipients of OEF assistance. Their stories remind us that our mission goes beyond merely providing financial aid during emergencies. By supporting our neighbors directly, we foster a sense of unity and resilience within our community. It’s heartening to witness the sharing of kindness, as those who once received support are now eager to pay it forward and support others in need.
Sheri and David, two of our dedicated OEF donors, expressed their gratitude for our community-driven mission, stating, “We are so glad you are looking out for our neighbors who need a bit of assistance. We feel strongly that we each need to be a ray of for each other.” These words encapsulate the essence of our work—a collective effort to be a beacon of hope and support for our fellow community members.
As we move forward, let us remember that our community-driven mission is not just about financial assistance; it’s about fostering a sense of compassion, empathy, and support for our neighbors. Every act of kindness, whether it’s a monthly donation or a helping hand, creates a ripple effect that positively impacts the lives of those around us.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of you for being part of this remarkable community. Together, we can continue to be the ray of light that illuminates the lives of our neighbors. Donate to Oregon Energy Fund today!
Anthony lives in a small apartment in downtown Portland with his daughter. We received a phone call from Anthony during one of the heat waves last summer. Their power had been previously disconnected, and the inside temperature of their apartment was over 100 degrees on the day they called.
While losing power is always detrimental, Anthony was undergoing cancer treatment and had medication that needed to be kept refrigerated. On top of that, his daughter that lived with him was in a high-risk pregnancy and needed to be in safe temperatures for the health of her and the baby.
Energy insecurity is endemic. 1 in 4 Oregonians – around 400,000 households – struggle to pay their energy bills each year. However, this hardship is not evenly distributed. Instead, it disproportionately affects vulnerable communities, especially those distinguished by race and class. Two-thirds of all low-income US households experience a high energy burden each year, encompassing groups like seniors, students, veterans, people with disabilities, and single parents.
Energy insecurity is also exacerbated by Oregon’s unfolding climate crisis, which has been responsible for devastating wildfires, snowstorms, and heat waves. While extreme weather affects all Oregonians, the most severe costs are borne by people of color and low-income families, who are more likely to live in poorly insulated homes in heat islands and areas with higher pollution, putting them at higher risk and incurring higher energy costs.
By serving Oregon’s energy burdened population, OEF’s funds have naturally supported people of color, people with disabilities, seniors, single parents, and low-income households. Expanding our agency partners to include culturally specific organizations allows us to actively center these groups into our programs, rather than serving them incidentally. Agencies like the Latino Network, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) let clients seek out funding at a known and safe location.
Overall, our support of vulnerable populations has increased significantly since these changes. In 2022, 50% of our clients identified as non-white or a person of color and 62% were seniors, children, or people with disabilities.
Oregon Energy Fund seeks an experienced, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic individual to join our Portland team in the role of Development & Communications Manager. This full-time (1.0 FTE) position is a crucial member of our staff and will be responsible for all fundraising and communications efforts, allowing us to assist even more of our neighbors in need.
Oregon Energy Fund (OEF) is a statewide nonprofit that assists Oregonians in financial crisis with their energy bills in support of household stability. Since 1989, OEF has provided emergency funding to more than 300,000 people, ensuring low-income Oregonians can pay for energy without sacrificing basic needs like food, rent, or medicine.
This mid-level position has a salary of $27-$30 an hour.
The Development & Communications Manager reports to the Executive Director and plays a critical role in OEF’s mission. This position is responsible for planning and coordinating all aspects of fund development and communications. The Manager will lead the team on all fundraising initiatives including special events, major gifts, planned giving, sponsorships, and grant writing, with a focus on increasing support from individual donors.
Additionally, this role will be responsible for maintaining OEF’s relationship with the public through a variety of print and digital materials, including newsletters, direct mail appeals, email marketing, and social media content. This position shepherds these projects from the early draft stages to publication, and ensures that all materials are accurate, conform to OEF’s brand voice, and inspire giving.
Assisting in this work is the Program and Communications Coordinator (FTE), who reports to the Deputy Director.
This position would be an excellent fit for a strong writer with a background in nonprofit fundraising who is interested in being part of a small but ambitious team that punches far above its weight. An ideal candidate will have an excellent fundraising skillset and storytelling skills.
The scope of work for the Development & Communications Manager includes:
• Donor Cultivation, Solicitation, Stewardship (70%)
• Communications (15%)
• Grant writing (15%)
• Other Duties as Assigned
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Create and implement annual communications plan and strategy
• Manage all print materials, including annual reports, quarterly newsletters, direct mail appeals, and donor acknowledgment letters; use thoughtful and powerful language to engage current and potential donors
• Manage OEF’s online presence through our website, social media, and email marketing accounts (e.g. Mailchimp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
• Maintain an annual grant application schedule; identify potential funding opportunities
• Maintain the OEF website and related pages (e.g., GuideStar, Charity Navigator)
• Assist the Executive and Deputy Directors with writing internal material such as strategic planning, EDI initiatives, reports, and other official content
• Create and implement annual development plan and strategy
• Manage OEF’s annual fundraising event and external events such as Willamette Week Give!Guide
• Build gifts from individuals and corporations by working collaboratively with staff to identify, cultivate, solicit, and recognize donors
• Support our Executive Director to help them manage relationships with existing and prospective donors and foundations
• Schedule major individual/corporate donor appointments for/ with the Executive Director
• Coordinate follow-up and on-going contact with major donors/prospects
• Manage donor/prospect information, payment and tracking systems – Raiser’s Edge
• Represent OEF at events and activities
EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:
Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every one of the qualifications as described in a job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, including and especially candidates from less traditional backgrounds. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for the role.
• 5 years’ experience fundraising and development
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Highly developed interpersonal skills
• Able to think strategically while maintaining attention to details and deadlines
• Excellent problem solving and critical thinking skills
• Ability to work independently
• Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented professional environment
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
The OEF office is located in downtown Portland in a sunny, spacious office suite.
Due to the nature of its duties, this position will require regular in-person attendance at our office, especially during training and early employment. Increased flexibility and future remote work may be possible once the employee has completed their introductory period and mastered the responsibilities of the role. An office laptop and monitor are provided for any work-from-home hours.
This position typically requires minimal physical effort. Duties are performed in an office setting and require repetitive use of a keyboard and monitor, the ability to sit or stand for long periods of time and some lifting up to 40-lbs.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION:
As a statewide nonprofit that works to support Oregon’s marginalized and vulnerable populations, Oregon Energy Fund is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, both externally and internally. These efforts are ongoing, and we seek a candidate who will actively participate in building a more equitable culture and help OEF achieve its EDI goals.
OEF is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to build a diverse workforce and welcome all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other protected characteristic.
To apply, please provide a cover letter addressing how you meet the requirements of this position and a copy of your most recent CV or resume. Applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be accepted until the position is filled.
Funding is available in Oregon for customers with a household income less than 60% of Oregon’s median income that are in need of water bill assistance. While funding is available, you will need to be persistent in contacting the relevant agency for an appointment. It may take between 2 days to 2 weeks to get an appointment, so begin your search for assistance early.
If you are looking for energy assistance with your Portland Water Bureau bill, see below.
Portland Water Bureau bill discount funds are available year-round and are not tied to energy assistance funds. Customers responsible for paying a Portland Water Bureau residential sewer/stormwater/water bill and whose household income is less than 60% of the Portland Median Family Income (MFI), may be eligible for a discount on their bill. MFI is according to household size and income and can be found on the below application and here.
Eligible customers experiencing a crisis may also receive up to $500 in assistance once every 12 months. There are multiple ways to enroll in the bill discount program:
1. Contact the Community Service Center in your area. You will need to provide the following documents: current bill, IDs for anyone over age 18 in the household, and proof of income for everyone in the household for the last 30 days
Human Solutions: Does not guarantee same-day appointments. You may call 503-548-0217 and leave a message to request to have an application sent by mail or to schedule an appointment
IRCO Africa House: Call 503-235-9396 Monday-Friday 8:30am-noon
IRCO Asian Family Center: Call 503-235-9396 Monday-Friday 8:30am-noon
Impact NW: Call 503-721-1740 for more information
Latino Network: Call 503-283-6881 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and leave a message with your name and phone number to request an appointment.
Native American Youth and Family Center: Call 503-288-8177 ext. 297 Monday-Friday 9am-6pm and leave a message with your name and phone number to request an appointment
Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI): Call 503-240-0828 for more information
El Programa Hispano Católico: Call 503-669-8350 Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm to verify eligibility and schedule an appointment.
4. Request documents to be mailed to you from Customer Service at (503) 823-7770 or email@example.com
*If you are already enrolled in the City of Portland Water Discount Program and need to access your annual crisis voucher, please call the Water Bureau at 503-823-7770. You will need to pay a portion of your bill to receive assistance. Payment arrangements are also available for customers, regardless of household income. Please also directly contact the Water Bureau if you are interested in making a payment arrangement.
If you are looking for water bill assistance outside of the Portland area, see below.
Visit this page to find the community action agency in your county that administers LIWAH. These funds are available to households with an income at or below 60% of Oregon’s median income and can be used to pay off water bill balances.