The Heat and Warmth Fund announced today that it has received the single largest non-utility, private gift in the organization’s history. THAW accepted a $1 million donation from Miller Buckfire & Co., a New York-based investment banking firm, to provide water assistance to Detroit residents in need. The announcement was made today by THAW CEO, Saunteel Jenkins.
The foremost emergency energy assistance agency in Michigan with leading capacity and efficiency in delivering aid, THAW was approached last summer by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) with a pilot program to administer the Detroit Residential Water Assistance Program (DRWAP). THAW successfully served more than 700 Detroit residents through DRWAP.
Miller Buckfire’s donation will enable THAW to create a new water assistance program and assist thousands of Detroiters. The program is expected to launch on June 1, 2015.
“This donation from Miller Buckfire & Co. will allow THAW to expand its utility assistance for Detroit residents,” said Jenkins. “THAW recognizes that countless families struggle to pay multiple utility bills. Miller Buckfire & Co.’s donation will allow THAW to provide additional utility assistance that will help stabilize many households.”
The donation is an important element of the December 2014 mediated settlement between the City and Miller Buckfire over the bank’s final compensation for its work on the City’s bankruptcy and restructuring.
“THAW is addressing a critical need for the City and its residents and we view our donation as an investment in the future of Detroit,” said James Doak, Managing Director at Miller Buckfire. “THAW has a proven track record of delivering utility assistance with compassion and efficiency and we are excited to see what can be achieved with these funds.“
“THAW has been a tremendous partner in our efforts to make sure Detroiters in need have the ability to keep their water on. It’s great to see how the community has come together to support THAW and the residents they serve every day,” said Sue McCormick, Director of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department.
Detroit residents can apply for the THAW water assistance program online at www.thawfund.org or by calling 1-800-866-8429 (THAW).