Beltrami Electric Cooperative’s “Operation Round Up” Awards Grants To Area Nonprofits
More than 10 nonprofit organizations and businesses in the Bemidji area received grants today from Beltrami Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up. The program is designed to give its members a chance of working together to use small change to make a big impact on local communities.
“The Operation Round Up program was launched in 1989 by an electric cooperative in South Carolina. Since that time, thousands of cooperatives around the nation have adopted the program, and Beltrami Electric’s board chose to adopt the program in 2016, so we launched at that time,” said Beltrami Electric Marketing and Communication Specialist Angela Lyseng.
Five members of the community sit on the Operation Round Up trust board and work together to award grant funds quarterly.
“My purpose, and mostly the board’s purpose, is to go through the applications and try and figure out how much money we can give each individual applicant. We try and do our best with the money that we have – the money never covers the needs, so we just try and do our best to give them as much as we can,” said Beltrami Electric Cooperative Operation Round Up President Sharon Lembke.
The grant money comes from Beltrami Electric Co-op members, where about 80% of the participants allow their electric bill to be rounded to the next dollar.
“We operate at a balance budget, so anything extra, keeping things fresh and nice and within the facility, last year we had some more restrictions legislatively and through the Department of Veterans Affairs, so this year’s looking much better. But it’s especially important, adding the transportation, we can add services and we continue to evolve based on what the peoples needs are,” said Adult Day Services Executive Director April Collman.
Total available funds for today’s grant presentation was around $21,000, and 17 nonprofit organizations were in attendance.
To date, Beltrami Electric Cooperative has awarded grants to 335 different community projects with a total over $300,000.