For 10 years, Jackson Electric Membership Corporation’s (EMC) members have steadily contributed pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters by rounding up their electric bills to the next dollar amount. And that spare change has added up in a very big way, resulting in $10,226,411 in charitable grants that have helped local organizations and people in need, with all of it going into 10 northeast Georgia counties.
“When the cooperative offered its members the opportunity to participate in the Operation Round Up program and set up the Jackson EMC Foundation to help members channel their contributions where it was needed, I don’t think anyone had any idea that it would have such a tremendous impact. As the foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary, I’m so proud to have played a part in this extraordinary effort,” said foundation board Chair Beauty P. Baldwin, who has served on the board since its creation.
“Our members’ generosity has truly exceeded everyone’s expectations. They came together and created an amazing tool for doing good in their own communities, and that’s what cooperatives are all about – working together to do something you can’t do by yourself,” said President/CEO Chip Jakins.
Operation Round Up® collected its first spare change in October 2005, the same month the Jackson EMC Foundation awarded its first grants – nearly $54,400 to seven organizations that included such nonprofits as Good News Clinics in Gainesville, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and a forerunner of the Hi-Hope Service Center, along with three individuals. Since then the Foundation has distributed 1,012 grants to organizations and 319 to individuals. Broken down into major categories, the Foundation has funded:
- Social Services $3,797,308
- Health & Human Services $1,864,618
- Shelter $1,569,440
- Education $1,543,508
- Food $ 552,500
- Other $ 42,979
- Individuals $ 856,058
On average, Jackson EMC members who participate in Operation Round Up contribute $6 per year, none contributing more than $11.88. Grants are available to any organization that serves one or more of the 10 counties where Jackson EMC operates (Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Gwinnett, Franklin, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison and Oglethorpe) or any individual living in those counties. Applicants do not need to be members of the cooperative. Grants are awarded monthly by a foundation board of directors made up of local citizens who volunteer their time.
Jackson EMC will be honoring its members’ $10 million contribution through September 2016 with special communications and events throughout the year.
For more information about the Jackson EMC Foundation, and about how the cooperative’s members’ contributions to Operation Round Up are improving communities, visit www.jacksonemc.com/foundation.