Three Million Celebration
Community leaders and elected officials joined Cuivre River Electric Cooperative (CREC) and Community Trust Board representatives today as Operation Round Up, the program which funds the 501(c) 3 Trust, celebrates a new milestone. Since Cuivre River launched the program in 1997, cooperative members have donated more than $3 million, often just one penny at a time.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the Cuivre River Electric Cooperative and Operation Round Up, and the members who support this important cause should be proud,” Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement to mark the event. “In times of need, Missourians are always ready to step forward and offer their assistance to folks in every corner of our state. Operation Round Up is another example of the generosity and compassion that make Missouri such a special place to live, work and raise a family,” he adds.
“I am proud to support Cuivre River Electric Cooperative’s 2010 Operation Round Up,” Lt. Governor Peter Kinder said in a statement. “The program is a beacon of hope for many in our community. The services and support provided by Operation Round Up will have a lasting effect for many of our neighbors,” he adds.
Members donate by paying a “rounded up” amount ranging from one penny to 99 cents on their monthly electricity bills, totaling about $20,000 each month. “Each month all funds go right back into the community,” says Lonnie Tucker, Operation Round Up coordinator. An exception is scholarship funds reserved and awarded twice a year. “The average yearly contribution from one member household is about $6.00,” says Tucker. “Nearly 90% of eligible members participate.” He confirms that 100% of the contributions go directly to help others.
Operation Round Up was founded to help address unmet needs in the areas of health, youth, education, home weatherization, community and emergency services. These funds are available to help individuals, families and organizations in the CREC service area. “Operation Round Up has really struck a nerve in the hearts of many of us who work with the program,” says Trust Board Chairman Don Schappe. “It presents such a wonderful opportunity for caring people to accomplish good things of great magnitude by pooling even the most meager resources – pennies,” adds Schappe.
Grants since the program’s inception have been awarded to 1,819 families and individuals, 1,338 students (scholarships) and 793 organizations. Community service providers have received 35% of funds, 26% has provided health care assistance (medical bills, medication and therapy services), and 24% has provided scholarships and education program support. In addition, the needs of youth have received seven percent of funds, emergency service providers have received five percent, and three percent has helped provide long-term energy efficiency improvements through home weatherization.
Operation Round Up funds are administered each month by the seven member volunteer Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board: Chairman Don Schappe, Vice Chairman Melba Houston, Treasurer Bob Hall, Secretary Dan Elliott, Cindy Gladden, Nancy Matheny and Jim Pitman. “They give their time and talent to make a difference in the lives of so many individuals, families and organizations,” says Mary Jane Clark, Manager of Communications. The CREC Board appoints Trustees, chosen for their proven, personal commitment to help others, and their awareness of community needs and resources.
During a brief ceremony to thank donors and reflect on the program’s impact on local citizens, Cuivre River extended a special thank you to community agencies often called upon to help coordinate activities for families in need. Officials also thanked the media and civic groups which spread the word about the program and share personal stories of success and gratitude.
CREC was established by local residents in 1941 to provide electricity in portions of Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties where electricity was not available. The cooperative now serves more than 59,500 homes and businesses. For more information on Operation Round Up and Cuivre River Electric Cooperative visit www.cuivre.com or call 800-392-3709, ext. 230, 234 or 330.