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Ashe County Community Grants Awarded
(Back l-r): Mike D’Angiolillo, Pond Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Inc., Whitney Miller and Becky Pearson, Ashe Memorial Hospital for Ashe Community Paramedic Program; Carol Griffith, Ashe County Farmers Market; Sue Bailey, Riverview Community Center; Robert Poe, Ashe County Rescue Squad; James Young and David Boone, Blue Ridge Energy’s Board of Directors; April Blevins, District Manager of Blue Ridge Energy’s Ashe office.
Ashe County citizens will benefit from six grants totaling $54,200 awarded recently to local helping agencies from Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation for the most recent grant cycle.
The grants are examples of why Blue Ridge Energy established the Members Foundation in 2007 to support the work of community organizations providing services that are vital to the quality of life for the cooperative’s members. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded over $1.5 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 $140,000 was awarded to 16 different organizations across the Blue Ridge Energy service area for this grant cycle. Local Ashe County agencies receiving grant awards include:
- Ashe County Farmers Market - $6,000 to help fund an expansion of the current structure to accommodate the growing vendor spaces and increased volume of visitors;
- Ashe County Rescue Squad – $10,000 to help purchase an ARGO, a 6-wheel amphibious vehicle used to rescue people in remote areas;
- Ashe Community Paramedic Program – $10,000 to help fund a program that will improve access to health care for residents living in rural and remote areas of the County by expanding the role of qualified Paramedics;
- Ashe Services for Aging, Inc. DBA Generations Ashe, Inc. – $3,200 to help fund Camp Generations, a weeklong summer camp for rising middle school students;
- Pond Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Inc. – $10,000 to help purchase a power stretcher for the ambulance;
- Riverview Community Center – $15,000 to replace gas heaters in the gymnasium to support gym activities during the winter months.
During 2022, 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. For 2023, a special campaign, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, has raised additional funds because of increased heating needs due to extremely cold temperatures. 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 an annual contribution from profits of the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energy, LLC, and RidgeLink, LLC. Over 22,000 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 Tasha Rountree, director of community relations, at 828-759-8994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Ridge Energy is a cooperative utility serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes, and Alexander counties. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com.