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our mission

Ski for Heat is committed to raising funds to provide heating fuel assistance to low-income families and individuals in communities throughout Vermont, by way of outdoor winter activities open to participants of all abilities. Ski for Heat is a small nonprofit organization that is run and managed solely by volunteers.

who ski for heat serves

All funds raised through this fundraiser will go directly to fuel assistance programs at the community action agency that serves the area where the funds were raised. Community action agencies exist nation-wide to provide important services to help alleviate conditions of poverty and support community development. Fuel assistance is provided to those with demonstrated need, often in an emergency situation where they don’t have enough money to keep themselves or their family warm. There are many thousands of Vermonters that depend on fuel assistance support in emergency situations.

how it started

Ski for Heat is the result of an idea by Peru resident Martha Robertson to help local families in need. The idea for this event came when she wanted to make a charitable contribution to a worthy cause during the holidays . . . Years ago, she and her sister stopped exchanging gifts for Christmas (thinking that being blessed with a twin is a present every day!). Instead, they decided to make donations to a charity or organization, so Martha’s thoughts turned to the cold winter ahead anMartha Robertson at Ski for Heat at Wild Wingsd the difficult financial choices some households have to make, especially this time of year. Was there a way she could help neighbors meet these demands? Could she fill someone’s oil tank with heating oil?

Hmmm . . . how to do this? Since Martha and her husband struggle to pay their own bills, the only way she could afford to make her hope of “giving heat” to a family become a reality was to somehow raise the money. And so it began—the snowball started rolling.

Martha decided that she could create her own “ski-a-thon” fundraiser by asking her family and friends to lend a hand in the cause: If she were to pledge to ski her heart out on a specified day, would they be willing to make a donation to put into a “fuel fund” for the benefit of a family who couldn’t afford to heat their home? In the process of working out the logistics of anonymously donating a tank of heating oil, Martha eventually ended up talking with BROC-Community Action in Southwestern Vermont in Rutland, who was enthusiastic about the idea that could benefit their heating fuel assistance program and wanted to get involved!

The folks at BROC joined in and offered to help with the administrative work and publicity. The (then) CVPS stockholders became partners, matching donations through their Shareheat fund. The next pieces in the puzzle to make this plan work were Chuck and Tracy Black, owners of Wild Wings Ski Touring Center (in Peru), who generously donated—and continue to donate—their facility to Ski for Heat.
Ski for Heat at Wild Wings Ski Touring Center

In 2010, Kate Coffey, from Barre, contacted Martha, asking if a Ski for Heat program could be held in the central part of the state, with proceeds benefiting the heating fuel assistance fund at Central Vermont Community Action Council. Yes! And so Kate, with the kindness and cooperation of Morse Farm Ski Touring Center (Montpelier), have been helping neighbors in need in their part of the state.

What started out as a “grassroots” (or “snowbank,” perhaps!) idea by one individual has grown into a much-anticipated annual fundraiser, thanks to the support and participation of so many community-minded individuals and businesses in the area. Since its inception, Ski for Heat has raised close to four hundred thousand dollars for heating fuel assistance.

awards & recognition

Ski for Heat
Awards/Recognitions for Community Service

Money Magazine, 50 Heroes, 50 States (July 2014 issue)—Selected as the Vermont “hero” for community service in helping others with financial challenges.

2014 Community Service Award—For support and efforts on behalf of Community Action Northern New England Community Action Association

etown National E-Chievement Award—Recognizes people around the country who have found positive solutions to challenges in their communities (www.etown.org)

Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service—Honors individuals, groups, and businesses that best exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and community service in Vermont.

Vermont State Legislature 2010—Resolution honoring Ski for Heat founder Martha Robertson on the event’s 10th anniversary.

Community Action Action Award—One of four recipients of BROC’s Inaugural Community Action Awards, recognizing individuals who have had an impact on neighbors and neighborhoods in Southwestern Vermont.