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Spare Change Changes Lives

  • Posted: 03.29.2018
Operation Round Up Logo

Six bucks isn't a lot of money-it's about what you would pay for a meal at a fast food restaurant. But $6 equals the average amount members pay for the year to support the charitable community program administrated by your Cooperative.

As do many electric cooperatives across the country, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative utilizes the Operation Round Up® program to gather voluntary contributions from participating members by "rounding up" their monthly power bill to the next dollar, with the difference going to support area charities.

When we launched Operation Round Up back in 2001, members needed to voluntarily "opt-in" by sending in forms and such. Unfortunately, this method of participating is somewhat burdensome and is reflected in only a few hundred member-owners who have signed up.

Over the last 17 years, we've given community groups and folks in need only $21,600. In 2017, we only had one grant to the Lakes Area Extrication & Rescue Unit for $1,000.

We want it to be easy for you to help change the lives in our communities. Sure, donating $6 over the course of a year may seem like a little thing. But if all the 12,700 members of Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative are chipping in that is when things start to get exciting.

The extra pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters then flow into the Iowa Lakes Electric Member-Owners Charitable Foundation. The Foundation is managed by an independent board of directors made up of member-owners from each of our eight counties. Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative's board of directors elects the Foundation directors, who are governed by the Foundation's bylaws to distribute grants to worthy local organizations as well as fellow members who've fallen on hard times. All this, through spare change.

Therefore, starting with your June billing statement, member-owners' bills will automatically be rounded up to the next whole dollar amount. Let's say your bill is $82.90. It would be rounded up to $83, and the 10 cents would go into the Foundation. If you wish to decline participation, which is strictly voluntary, please call us at 800-225-4532.

A little change can change a lot. About 250 local electric cooperatives nationwide currently run Operation Round Up programs. All told, member-owners at these co-ops have raised more than $100 million since the idea was started by a South Carolina electric cooperative in 1989.

Member-owners will be joined by the employee team as they will volunteer to round down their monthly paychecks. To our member-owners who make Operation Round Up possible, thank you! Together, we can use a little pocket change to change our community.