Editorial: Giving Back

Editorial: Giving Back

Marshal AlbrightOne of the most important values we live by at Cass County Electric Cooperative (CCEC) is giving back to the communities we serve. We fulfill this commitment by volunteering to support local events and non-profits and assisting in the administration of a membership-supported foundation called Operation Round Up.

Employees volunteer their time to be on local boards, committees, rural fire departments and to support numerous local fund raising efforts. Employees volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bell; deliver Meals on Wheels, donate to the FirstLink Giving Tree of Hope & Toys for Tots, participate in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, decorate trees for Fraser’s Festival of Trees, and volunteer at the Emergency Food Pantry and the Great Plains Food Bank. This is not a complete list of everything we are involved in to give back to our communities, but it gives you a taste of what we do.

Operation Round Up is a program supported by the members of CCEC, and it works by rounding up the electric bills of each participating cooperative member to the nearest dollar. On average, each member’s voluntary contribution is about 44 cents per month. These extra few cents are placed into the care of the Cass County Electric Cooperative Foundation. A volunteer independent board of directors, comprised of CCEC members, accepts applications and awards grants to individuals in need and to help support nonprofit organizations. Grants are issued only to nonprofits dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region. Individual grants are awarded on a case-by-case basis for emergencies and self-sufficiency needs. Since inception in 1993, members have contributed $2.6 million into the foundation and have paid out $2.5 million in grants with the remaining funds yet to be paid out.

More than 80 percent of CCEC’s members are involved with the program, which currently raises more than $170,000 each year. Many CCEC employees participate in a program we call Operation Round Down, which rounds our paychecks down to the nearest dollar. These funds are also added to the Cass County Electric Cooperative Foundation. If you are not participating in Operation Round Up and would like to, please visit our web site for more information about the program.

We also put a special focus on youth development programs. Cass County Electric Cooperative, with matching funds from one of our bankers, supports Dollars for Scholars by donating $13,000 annually to support scholarships to 13 high schools throughout our service territory.

We sponsor up to two students that join more than 1,500 students from all across America to take part in the Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., organized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. As part of the experience, students meet U.S. Representatives and Senators. They get to watch history come alive as they explore the museums, memorials and monuments with students from across North Dakota. Each year we announce an essay topic in October and accept essays submitted for judging until January 31.

We also participate in the Health, Tech and Trade Expo which is held each year for 9th grade high school students to explore different careers and education opportunities. CCEC participates in the expo to show students potential career paths in the energy industry.

Cass County Electric Cooperative is a community-minded, local company that is committed to giving back. A special thank you to all members that participate in the Operation Round Up program.