When Burke-Divide Electric members pay their electric bills each month, they are doing much more than just buying electricity. They are also giving back to their community.
In 2010, Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative began a charitable giving program called Operation Round Up intended to benefit organizations and communities across the cooperative’s service territory. Since the program began, 98 grants totaling more than $80,000 have been awarded to area organizations.
Through Operation Round Up, cooperative members “round up” their electric bills to the next whole dollar each month with the extra pennies going to the Operation Round Up fund. Burke-Divide Electric employees also contribute to the Operation fund by “rounding down” their paychecks each month.
At Burke-Divide Electric, Operation Round Up operates as the Burke-Divide Electric Trust. Five cooperative members, selected by the board of directors, serve on the Trust board and meet throughout the year to review applications and determine where funds will be donated.
Together, by giving a few pennies each month, Burke-Divide Electric members can make a big impact on life in our area.
Grants are awarded in March and September.
Operation Round Up Application Deadlines:
September 15, 2022
March 15, 2023
2022 Operation Round Up Grant Recipients
- Burke County Fair Association, $2,000, bathroom repairs
- Divide County Public Library, $500, Jessie Veeder Scofield presentation
- Columbus Rural Fire Protection District, $1,500, fire hall addition
2021 Operation Round Up Grant Recipients
10 Operation Round Up grants, totaling $8,425, were awarded to the following area organizations in 2021:
- Tolley Fire Department, $2,000, Gator and trailer
- Lake County Historical Society, $675, Heartland Church roof replacement
- Burke County Roughriders 4-H Club, $675, Horsemanship equipment
- Prairie Tumbleweeds, $675, Gymnastics equipment and mats
- Crosby Park District, $675, Summer water and bicycle safety program
- Stony Run Sportsmen’s Club, $1,000, clubhouse repairs at Northgate Dam
- Baukol Noonan Sportsman Club, $1,000, RV outlets at Noonan Trout Pond
- Prairie Tumbleweeds, $575, water fountain replacement
- Powers Lake Child Care Association, $575, new appliances
- City of Columbus, $575, exercise equipment for community building
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Operation Round Up?
Operation Round Up is a program that will be funded by Burke-Divide Electric members who "round up" their monthly electric bills to the next dollar and co-op employees who "round down" their monthly paychecks. Funds will be awarded to community-based, non-profit organizations within the cooperative's service area.
Where did the idea originate?
The idea for Operation Round Up was originally developed at a South Carolina electric cooperative, Palmetto Electric Cooperative, in 1989. The program's success prompted other cooperatives across the country to adopt the same program.
How does it work?
A member participating in Operation Round Up with an electric bill of $38.63 would actually pay $39. The extra 37 cents is placed into the Operation Round Up fund. On average, a member donates 50 cents a month, or $6 a year. The most any member would donate is 99 cents a month, or less than $12 a year. But with hundreds of electric cooperative members participating, the pennies quickly add up. Members may also choose to contribute additional amounts each month.
Employees of Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative will also participate in the program by "rounding down" their paychecks.
Who can apply for funds?
Non-profit and community organizations are eligible to apply for Operation Round Up funds. Funds will be disbursed in the general service area of Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative solely for charitable, educational, scientific, health or safety purposes. Organizations must be exempt from federal income tax under s501 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Funds cannot be used for political purposes.
Who decides where the money goes?
A board of three trustees, selected by the Board of Directors, will review Operation Round Up applications during the year and determine where the funds will be donated.
Am I required to participate?
Members are not required to participate. Members wishing to have their account removed from the Operation Round Up program can simply call the cooperative at (701) 939-6671 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.