Cool for Wake gives low-income Wake County residents relief from heat

Summer in North Carolina often means extended stretches with temperatures in the 90s and 100s, yet hundreds of people in Wake County don’t have access to reliable cooling.

Wake County’s Cool for Wake program provides relief to those who struggle to beat the heat. Each year from mid-May through mid-September, the Wake County community comes together by donating money, gently used air conditioning units, fans and time.

“High temperatures can leave those most vulnerable in our community at risk during the year’s hottest months,” said Vice Chair Susan Evans of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We’re calling on our community to be the helping hand for those worrying about how to keep their home cool this summer.”

For the 12th year, Wake County is partnering with the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors Giving Network to make the program possible. Last year, Wake County raised $4,600 in donations, distributed 260 fans and provided 18 free air-conditioning units to the medically fragile.

How to donate to Cool for Wake
The quickest and easiest way to donate to Cool for Wake is to make a financial donation online. All funds go directly to families in need, with no deductions for administrative costs.

The program also accepts donations of new or gently used fans and air conditioners. Our partners at the RRAR Realtor Giving Network purchase and deliver the new units. Residents are responsible for installation.

“Our realtors take great pride in delivering these free air-conditioning units to help families in need. Anytime we get the call of a home in need, we have a realtor at that home within 24 hours,” said Executive Director of RRAR Realtor Giving Network Heather Thompson. “When realtors can commit an act of generosity and have the opportunity to see the immediate impact these free units can have on people in our community, it's transformative for all involved.”

Applying for Cool for Wake
Households eligible for Cool for Wake can request a fan or air conditioning unit through their social worker, by calling 919-212-7083 or emailing

To qualify for the program applicants must:

  • Meet income requirements
  • Have at least one person over the age of 60 or under the age of 12 within the household
  • Not have another source of cooling for the home.

Some households may be eligible for a window air-conditioning unit if they meet the above criteria and have at least one person with a documented history of a chronic respiratory illness.

Qualifying applicants will receive one fan or air conditioner per household.

Learn more about Cool for Wake.

Health & Human Services
Press Release