Kankakee Valley REMC Operation Round Up Trust started the new year with a big announcement. The philanthropic arm of the electric cooperative reached a major milestone of giving back one million dollars to local non-profit organizations. With the partnership of its members, the cooperative has funded hundreds of organizations, enabling them to continue making a difference in the community.
“The success of this program is because of our generous members who elect to participate by rounding up their electric bill each month,” stated Amanda Steeb, cooperative marketing director. Operation Round Up was founded on the cooperative principle of “concern for community” and adopted by Kankakee Valley REMC in 1999. “We don’t just talk about our concern for the community; we put action to our words,” stated Steeb. The result is spare change making a big difference.
Members who elect to participate round up their electric bills each month, donating between $6-$12 per year to the trust. With the over 70 percent member participation, the cooperative is able to support many causes and hundreds of organizations through the years. Operation Round Up is unique in that all fund deposited into the trust are returned to the community. There are no administrative fees and all board members volunteer their time to assist with the distribution of funds. They do this because they too are community members and are passionate about growing their communities.
Over the past 16 years, Operation Round Up has supported domestic violence shelters, funded activities for neighbors with development disabilities, provided activities and critical service for local seniors, provided lifesaving equipment for schools and emergency personnel, along with making sure that food pantries have the necessary food to provide nourishment to their residents.
“Each grant received by an organization is touching the lives and making a difference for members of that community,” stated Steeb.
Kankakee Valley REMC is just one of many cooperatives throughout the country that has adopted Operation Round Up and fostered the mission of giving back to community.
“Over 75 years ago a group of visionary farmers came together with a mission of bringing electricity to rural America. Working together they were able to make a difference in the lives of so many. The Operation Round Up organization is an extension of that mission; participating members coming together to make a difference and changing lives,” stated Steeb.