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Ashe Community Helping Agencies Receive Foundation Grants
(Back row l-r): Tasha Rountree, Blue Ridge Energy Ashe district manager; Janet Millsaps, Reaching Avery Ministry; David Boone, Blue Ridge board member; Melody Rector, Shoes For Kids; James Young, Blue Ridge board member, Lee Denny, Pond Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue.
Ashe County citizens will benefit from five grants worth $48,000 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. Local Ashe County agencies receiving grant awards include:
- Pond Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue - $11,000 to assist in the purchase of a set of hydraulic rescue extrication tools;
- Ashe Medication Assistance Program - $15,000 to support the free medication program for patients who are uninsured or underinsured;
- Ashe Really Cares - $2,000 to support food distribution to those in need;
- Shoes For Kids - $10,000 to help purchase quality shoes for closets in 14 Ashe County locations;
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina – $10,000 to help fund the implementation of a software data tracking program designed to better serve the needs of the communities in 18 counties of Northwest North Carolina.
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 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.