Community Action Partnership of Strafford County is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization established under the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964 and established in Strafford County in May of 1965.
Published April 3, 2023 | Sponsor Spotlight
Christine McCluskey – Customer Relations Manager –
D.F. Richard Energy
Update: May 2023
CAPSC corporate sponsors are integral to the success of our organization. As part of a series of inaugural posts on our new blog, we are excited to highlight one of our most dedicated and long-standing partners, D.F. Richard Energy. The company has been a CAPSC sponsor since 2014, in addition to being a fuel vendor and partnering with our weatherization program in the recent past.
We are so pleased to present our interview with Christine McCluskey, Customer Relations Manager, whose 8 year tenure at D.F. Energy was recently changed to place more emphasis on the community.
D.F. Richard Energy (you can read more about them at their website) is a locally-owned, full-service heating and energy company that supplies services to families throughout the New Hampshire Seacoast and Southern Maine. Founded in 1932 (a fabled time when, unlike today, winters started cold and stayed cold), the company operates with a mantra of “when you keep your focus on the customer and the community, you both will thrive”.
What does that mean? For company founder Daniel F. Richard, who built his heating oil business out of his family home on Broadway in Dover, this meant staying active in civic organizations and passing his values on to his kids and grandchildren, who eventually took over and continue to run the business today. If you live in the Seacoast, you have seen those white trucks with the friendly sun logo!
Please read on to learn more about this awesome company and its impact here at CAPSC!
Talk about your community relations role. Why do you think this role was added?
Christine: I have been with D.F. Richard Energy for eight years; my role has been Customer Relations Manager but my focus had been managing the day-to-day office. At the end of 2022 we made the decision to shift the workload to allow more time for community involvement. D.F. Richard Energy is very fortunate that we can sponsor great nonprofit organizations both large and small. I am very fortunate to be the one chosen to represent our great company. It will be exciting to be on hand for events and learn how each organization is impacting the community.
Why did D.F. Richard choose to get involved with CAPSC?
Christine: It was an easy decision for D.F. Richard Energy to support CAPSC. No other agency in the county can assist the underserved like CAPSC does. Many of our loyal customers are or have had to reach out to CAPSC at a point in time for the many services including Energy Services, Child and Family Services, Housing Services. We appreciate the work you do.
What are some of the ways that D.F. Richard has stayed involved with CAPSC?
Christine: Besides our corporate sponsorships at the CAPSC Classic Annual Golf Tournament or other events, we willingly petition each year to be included in the CAPSC Fuel Assistance program. Families that are accepted into this program are sometimes already our customers who may need help paying their fuel bills, and this program keeps their service uninterrupted and their house warm. We also pay attention on the individual level. If a technician goes to a customer’s home and sees that they might be struggling that year, we will refer them to CAPSC to make sure that they get the help they need.
How did you first learn about CAPSC, and what was your initial impression of our services?
Christine: I believe my first encounter with CAPSC was about 12 years ago when I was a board member of the Homeless Center for Strafford County. I would hear stories of individuals or families in crisis and in need of additional services as they were transferring from the shelter into more permanent housing. Many of these families needed assistance with childcare, emergency food services and more. The positive impact of these services on those families have always left a positive impression. The empathy and caring of the CAPSC staff are stand out memories.
How does it impact you and D.F. Richard knowing that through your sponsorship and involvement, hundreds of CAPSC families have seen their lives improve?
Christine: The benefit to D.F. Richard Energy is caring for the communities we serve. Our customers are appreciative that their fuel company gives back. Whenever an employee of D.F. Richard Energy is within the community, we always hear: “D.F. Richard Energy supports so many things. You guys are wonderful. Thank you for supporting XYZ”. We as employees are proud of that and know when someone needs our services, they will think of us first or recommend us first.
Are there any particular individuals or staff members at the agency who have made a significant impact on your experience, and why?
Christine: There are several people who are standout individuals within the CAPSC organization. First, Betsey Andrews Parker. She has stamina and perseverance like no one I know. I admire her grit as a fellow professional woman. Secondly, the CAPSC Fuel Assistance Team. I have emailed and spoke with many members over the years, and they all have been terrific to work with.
How do you think companies can start to be more involved with their communities? Where should they start?
Christine: All businesses big or small can be involved in the communities they serve. In my opinion it is easy. One of the easiest decisions an owner/manager can make. The first step is to find out what is important to your customer/client, what is important to your employees and what is important to the decision maker and engage with those nonprofits. It may be small like sponsoring your employees’ children’s softball team or something larger like becoming a corporate sponsor of a great nonprofit like CAPSC. It doesn’t always require a financial donation. Sometimes it is just about giving time to help with a project. What is important is that every little bit helps.
David Richard, second from left, sitting with CAPSC staff and board at 2022 Annual Meeting
CAPSC provides corporate sponsors the opportunity to create lasting change in our community, as every dollar has a direct impact on the lives of children, families, and seniors in Strafford County. Your company’s support provides the needed resources to expand our essential services, improve outcomes, and meet our clients’ needs, as well as provide a meaningful platform to present your company’s brand message.
For more information, or if you would like to contact us about creating a customized sponsorship opportunity for your company, click here.
The federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Program (LIHEAP), also known as the Fuel Assistance Program (FAP), provides qualified households with assistance in paying their heating bills during the winter heating season. Benefits are calculated based on number of household members, household income, energy costs and housing type among other things. This allows those households with the lowest incomes and highest energy costs to receive the highest benefits.
In 2022, over $2.2 million dollars was spent on fuel assistance to households in Strafford County.
Read more about Fuel Assistance here.