Member Moment: Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association

Member Moment” highlights one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives and how it uniquely demonstrates what it means to be a cooperative.

In the middle of the Heartland Lakes near Itasca State Park sits Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association (IM), one of Great River Energy’s 28 member-owner cooperatives.

Each year the area welcomes people from all over the country visiting its pristine lakes and beautiful Northwoods to connect with nature, family and tradition.

Itasca Mantrap annual meeting

A group of Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association employees gather for a photo at a recent annual meeting.

Although tourism is a main driver in the area, IM has many unique year-round members. A few of those members are local, family-owned businesses such as Double “B”ee Honey – an apiary that provides raw honey – and Carter’s Red Wagon Farm, which raises non-GMO produce using organic methods. In addition, IM serves Lamb Weston, a manufacturer of innovative frozen potato products that are sold to restaurants and retailers around the world.

Collaborating with Great River Energy

IM has worked with Great River Energy in many ways. The two cooperatives, along with the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, recently provided a loan to KI Developers for the construction of the Crystal Brook Senior Living Community in Park Rapids, Minnesota.

The facility opened its doors in November 2018 and provides one-or two-bedroom independent and assisted living apartments, along with suites in the memory care wing.

Concern for community

A hallmark of all electric cooperatives is their commitment to the communities they serve. One of many ways that IM demonstrates this commitment is through its Operation Round Up program, which encourages members to round up their electric bill to the next dollar with all funds awarded to local organizations.

Not only has IM donated more than $880,000 to local nonprofits from Operation Round Up, but employees live the cooperative values by volunteering in their communities by serving as coaches, board members, volunteer firefighters, Rotarians and more.

IM employees also give back to the community by visiting schools, businesses and organizations to teach electrical safety, participating in GreenTouch, donating trees during Arbor Day, sending students to the Youth Tour and participating in the Play Ball! Twins Clinic.