Concern for community is ingrained in the culture of every cooperative. People cared enough about their hometowns to string wires across vast stretches of countryside 80 years ago. They did it because their communities were worth investing in. That is still true today. The descendants of cooperative founders are supporting school programs and hunger relief organizations while assuring abused children have a safe place to stay. These are just a few of the important causes cooperatives support.
Read on to learn how Great River Energy and its member-owner cooperatives are living the cooperative principle of concern for community.
Every penny counts
Members of many electric cooperatives can elect to round up their electric bills with the extra change going people in need.
Through the Operation Round Up program, a few cents are placed in a trust fund every month. A board of members oversees the fund, allocating contributions to deserving community organizations.
Those pennies add up, too. Many cooperatives have given more than $1 million through the Operation Round Up program.
As a business model, cooperatives are wired to support the community. As a company, Great River Energy empowers employees to help in communities where we have work locations and member-owner cooperatives. Employees regularly rally their peers to raise funds or dedicate time to important causes. Over time, that culture of community adds up to a meaningful and lasting impact.
2% — Portion of Great River Energy’s income donated to community causes.
140 — Lives that will benefit from the 46 units of blood donated by Great River Energy employees during the Community Giving Campaign.
560 — Hours volunteered by employees during a Habitat for Humanity project in Maple Grove, Minn.
2,000 — Pounds of turkey donated the week of Thanksgiving to food pantries near Great River Energy locations.
$50,000 — Donated to relief efforts in the Carolinas following Hurricane Florence.
“Electric cooperatives are one family. When any membership – anywhere – is in crisis, we all have a responsibility to help.”
—Great River Energy President and Chief Executive Officer David Saggau
Co-op bank invests in Minnesota members
Great River Energy’s longtime financial partner CoBank regularly throws its support behind causes important to cooperatives. Through its Sharing Success charitable contribution program, CoBank has matched Great River Energy contributions to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, The Maple Grove Veterans Memorial and disaster relief organizations in northern, central and southwest Minnesota.
“CoBank is a cooperative, too,” said Treasury Services Manager Tim Faulkner. “Like Great River Energy and our member-owner cooperatives, they also look for ways to invest in the sustainability of cooperative communities.”
Community Giving Campaign
Great River Energy employees demonstrated their generosity and compassion for supporting local communities through payroll contributions, blood donations and raffles during this year’s Community Giving Campaign. A total of $99,106 will be distributed to local organizations in the coming year, which will make a significant impact in those communities.
Reminders of home
More than 250 deployed troops will receive care packages filled with snacks, entertainment and other essentials thanks to Great River Energy volunteers. Each package will also include a letter of gratitude from an employee. These military-focused volunteer events are part of Great River Energy’s support of the armed forces and veteran employees. Great River Energy was named a Yellow Ribbon Company in 2017 because of its support of veterans and company policies that support military employees.