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Since the beginning of COVID-19, Blue Ridge Energy made the decision to suspend disconnects, waive late fees and offer special payment plans to assist our members and customers during this difficult time. While the decision had already been made to extend these special circumstances, Gov. Cooper also issued a new Executive Order 142 on May 30. We encourage everyone (including Flexpay members) to continue paying your energy bill to avoid a large balance at the end of this crisis. Call us at 1-800-451-5474 to set up a special payment plan or ask us about crisis assistance from the In This Together Relief Fund.
Caldwell Community Helping Agencies Receive Foundation Grants
(Back row l-r): April Austin, Caldwell Senior Center; Kelly Melton, Blue Ridge board member; John Francis, Helping Hands Clinic; Tyler Reese, Caldwell district manager; Virginia Hoyle, Caldwell Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc.; Blue Ridge Board Vice President, David Eggers; Brian Thomason, South Caldwell Christian Ministries
Caldwell County citizens will benefit from 10 grants worth $48,356 awarded recently to local helping agencies from Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation for the 2019 grant cycle.
The grants are examples of why the cooperative established the Members Foundation in 2007 to support the work of community organizations providing services that improve the quality of life for the cooperative’s members. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded over $1.3 million in community grants. Projects in the areas of health, wellness, education, youth, and economic and community development are the Foundation’s priorities for support.
A grand total of $173,000 was awarded to 30 different organizations across the Blue Ridge service area for the 2019 grant cycle. Local Caldwell County agencies receiving grant awards include:
- Caldwell County Yokefellow, Inc. - $9,000 to assist in the relocation of the loading dock at the new Yokefellow service center;
- Helping Hands Clinic - $4,000 to help continue funding the needed medication and lab services at the clinic;
- Caldwell Senior Center – $3,500 to support the ongoing program of Medicare counseling and enrollments;
- Caldwell Memorial Hospital Foundation - $3,000 to assist in the purchase of safety furnishings and equipment for the designated adolescent secure holding suite in the newly expanded Emergency Department;
- The Caldwell House - $3,000 to help update the residents’ kitchen and to purchase a commercial washer and dryer;
- Kings Creek Volunteer Fire Department - $2,856 to upgrade the emergency management radio system;
- Patterson School Foundation - $9,000 to upgrade the electrical system in the Palmyra Hall building which will be used to host community events;
- Town of Hudson/HUB - $9,000 to aid in transforming the Hudson Uptown Building (HUB) into HUB Station that will serve as a business and art development center;
- Caldwell Opportunities, Inc. - $2,500 to help build a sheltered outdoor area for clients;
- South Caldwell Christian Ministries - $2,500 to help purchase food for mobile pantries that operate once a month to take food to churches and schools.
During 2019, the Foundation also provided crisis funding assistance to more than 1,000 Blue Ridge Energy members in need of emergency help to pay their electric and fuel bills. While crisis assistance is funded by the Foundation, local helping agencies evaluate needs and determine who qualifies for assistance.
Funding for Foundation grants and crisis assistance comes from members participating in Blue Ridge Energy’s Operation Round Up® and Operation Round Up Plus® programs as well as a annual contributions from profits of the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energy, LLC and Ridgelink. Over 25,000 members are either rounding up their monthly electric bill with Operation Round Up or adding a dollar or more with Operation Round Up Plus. Members also contribute by donating some or all of their annual capital credits.
Anyone with questions about the Foundation, or agencies interested in applying for grants, may contact Grey Scheer, director of community relations, at 828-759-8994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Ridge Energy is a cooperative utility serving some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com.