Concern for community shines year-round - Great River Energy

Concern for community shines year-round

‘Tis the season of giving and spreading goodwill. While Great River Energy participates in several year-end donation initiatives, the company also maintains a giving spirit throughout the year as it upholds the “concern for community” cooperative principle. Great River Energy believes in supporting the communities it serves even beyond its business purpose of providing electricity.

Below is a sampling of the various ways the cooperative and its employees gave to the communities in its service territory throughout the year.

Employees ‘give big’ during annual campaign

Great River Energy’s annual Community Giving Campaign features various ways for employees to demonstrate their generosity and compassion for their local communities. Employees were encouraged to “Give Big” this year as part of the event’s theme either through making charitable contributions to nonprofit organizations through a one-time or recurring payroll deduction, or by bidding on items in an online blind auction.

This year’s event was a success as a total of $78,696.97 was raised by employees and a match made by Great River Energy. Funds raised will be directed toward 10 Minnesota United Way chapters, three North Dakota United Way chapters as well as the Great River Energy Memorial Scholarship Fund from which 25 scholarships are distributed annually to children of active employees.

Giving back through volunteerism

A group of information technology employees used their company-provided volunteer hours to rake leaves for a homeowner in need.

Great River Energy encourages employees to take time to give back to the community and offers eligible employees paid volunteer hours per year to put toward causes that personally interest them. To date in 2023, employees logged more than 1,300 volunteer hours.

Oftentimes, departments within the company will choose a cause together and volunteer as a team. Approximately 40 transmission division employees took part in a volunteer event earlier this year to help refurbish a home in support of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

More recently, a group from the information technology division spent an afternoon volunteering with the Anoka County Community Action Chores & More program, which assists seniors with housekeeping, minor home repairs and seasonal chores. Employees spent a fall afternoon raking leaves for a homeowner in need of a helping hand.

For some, this program is a solution to a temporary situation such as an illness or injury. For others, it is an essential service to keep them living safely and independently in their own homes.

Contributions aid nonprofits

A year-round giving effort led by Great River Energy is its corporate contributions team, which considers requests on a quarterly basis from nonprofit organizations located in areas where the cooperative has member-owner cooperatives and employees. Funds are provided to organizations that do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of consumer-members as well as communities where the cooperative owns facilities.

This year, more than $125,000 was invested by Great River Energy into local community organizations focused on providing critical social services, youth-based developmental programming — including those that emphasize children and at-risk teens — and initiatives that promote environmental stewardship.

Employee groups assemble care packages

More than 30 helpers assembled 250 boxes filled with snacks and personal care items for deployed troops.

Great River Energy’s Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG) recently hosted supply drives at five of the cooperative’s facilities ahead of a packing event to assemble care packages for deployed troops to receive around the holidays. A total of 35 helpers, including employees and Maple Grove Beyond the Yellow Ribbon members, gathered to assemble 250 boxes containing donated treats, snacks and personal care items.

“We are proud to support Maple Grove Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and the care packages they send to our troops,” said Joe Griffitts, technical analyst II at Great River Energy and leader of the Veterans ERG. “Our troops make sacrifices every day to protect our country, and we are grateful for the opportunity to show our appreciation.”

Great River Energy’s Women’s ERG also held a care package assembly event of its own. Members put together approximately 250 self-care kits for women who use services provided by Dress for Success, which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and developmental tools to help them thrive in work and life.

Employees supported children in need by donating items for Toys for Tots.

Families receive turkeys, toys for the holidays

One of the cooperative’s longest-running traditions continued this year as all employees were once again offered a holiday turkey. Turkeys that went unclaimed were then donated to several local food banks so that other families could complete their holiday meals. More than 2,700 pounds of turkey were distributed among communities where Great River Energy has employees and facilities, including Elk River and Big Lake.

The cooperative also supported the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program with a drive at two of its Minnesota facilities. Employees were encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys — such as action figures, dolls, baby toys and puzzles — for children in need.

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