The winter holiday season is here, a time when community members come together to celebrate and family and friends give gifts. It’s also a time when many people give back. With nearly one-third of all charitable giving taking place in December, it has rightfully earned the “season of giving” moniker.
Sharing with others, whether through charitable giving or volunteering time and talents, strengthens communities. As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, one of Great River Energy’s core principles is “concern for community,” and the co-op works to help those it serves thrive not only during the holiday season, but all year long.
Throughout the year, Great River Energy provides scholarships to students; food to pantries; and dollars to crisis centers, Scout troops and nonprofits that serve people in a multitude of ways across Minnesota and North Dakota. The co-op has two dedicated contributions committees made up of employees that make funding decisions based on doing the greatest good for the greatest number of co-op members and communities where it has facilities.
Great River Energy’s employees also volunteer their time and, in 2019, supported organizations such as CAER Food Shelf, Happy Tails Rescue and The Sandwich Project to the tune of over 300 hours through the co-op’s third annual Week of Service event. A group of employees also dedicated 552 hours of volunteer time to help build a Habitat for Humanity home in Hugo, Minnesota.
There are other ways electric cooperatives help their communities, such as investing in economic development projects by helping to retain and attract area businesses. Great River Energy’s economic development services staff represents its member-owner cooperatives from the municipal to federal level, providing them with a resource and voice for their interests.
Another way is through sustainability efforts, such as environmental policies and practices, which help to build strong communities for current and future generations. Great River Energy remains in good standing regarding all applicable environmental rules and the cooperative pursues its own voluntary goals, such as 50% renewable energy by 2030. In fact, the cooperative will reach 30% renewable energy next year.
All these initiatives and efforts showcase the reason why co-ops work: People—not profits—are at their core.