Operation Round Up
In January 1997 Cuivre River Electric Cooperative launched a community outreach program to collect pennies in the hope of generating funds for unmet family and community needs. The program — Operation Round Up — has accomplished that and more.
This month the cooperative celebrates the program's 20th year and a new milestone. Since those first pennies were rounded up in January 1997, more than $5 million has been awarded to local families, individuals and community organizations.
"When we began, we never envisioned even one million dollars," says General Manager/CEO Dan L. Brown. "Yet here we are. We have reached a milestone beyond our dreams. Operation Round Up has touched thousands of lives in a positive way." He is amazed and grateful to Cuivre River members who continue month after month, year after year, to support Operation Round Up.
He and Cecil Hupper, Manager of Member Services at the time, learned about this type of program in the mid 1990s and worked to bring the concept to the Cuivre River Board of Directors. With board approval an effort was soon underway to organize the non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation and get the program up and running.
Members fund the program by paying the Operation Round Up amount on their electric bill each month. The average yearly donation is $6 per member. All contributions are tax-deductible, and go directly to the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust.
“Each month our members donate more than $25,000 through Operation Round Up,” says Lonnie Tucker, Operation Round Up coordinator. “One hundred percent of the funds are used to help people in the Cuivre River area,” he adds. Recipients are not required to be members.
Funds target the specific areas of health, community and emergency services, home weatherization, education, scholarships, and youth.
“Operation Round Up has really struck a nerve in the hearts of many of us who work with the program,” says Trust Board Chairman Jim Mayes. “It presents such a wonderful opportunity for caring people to accomplish good things of great magnitude by pooling even the most meager resources – pennies,” adds Mayes.
Since the program’s inception the Trust has provided:
- 1,149 grants of $1,940,877.24 to community service providers,
- 1,466 grants totaling $1,255,953.26 to individuals and families with medical and health needs,
- 158 grants of $190,668.85 to emergency services providers,
- 168 grants of $130,050.40 to local schools for educational materials and equipment,
- 2,025 scholarships equaling $984,000.00 to undergraduate students attending accredited universities or technical schools and for continuing education,
- 199 grants of $221,772.56 for weatherization to help provide long-term energy and home efficiency solutions for low-income and elderly individuals, and
- 549 grants of $308,836.19 to support local youth activities which promote good citizenship and help develop strong, healthy communities.
Operation Round Up funds are administered each month by the seven member volunteer Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board. Current trustees include Chairman Jim Mayes, Vice Chairman Melissa Hollander, Treasurer Frank Klaas, Secretary Doug Steinmeyer, John Deutch, Joyce Hollaway and Linda Whalen.
“These volunteers give their time and talent to make a difference in the lives of so many individuals, families and organizations,” says Mary Jane Clark, Manager of Communications.
Trustees are community volunteers who are chosen for their proven, personal commitment to help others, and their awareness of community needs and resources. They are appointed by the Cuivre River Electric Cooperative Board of Directors to the seven-member Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board. They include Cuivre River members and nonmembers.
For additional information or to request an Operation Round Up application visit www.cuivre.com or call (800) 392-3709, ext. 4830, 4837 or 4838.
Terms of the first trustees were staggered to provide a continuum of leadership. Subsequent trustees may serve two consecutive three-year terms.
The following 31 volunteer trustees have helped Operation Round Up pennies serve far beyond their face value.
The Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board includes a total of seven trustees including three trustees from St. Charles County, two from Lincoln/Pike County and two from Warren County.
St. Charles County:
Ben Blanton*, 1997-2000
Lloyd Hackbarth, 1997-2001
Phyllis Schneider*, 1997-2002
Brian Bredensteiner*, 2001-2006
Dr. Richard Place (d), 2002 - 2007
Billy Collier*, 2003-2008
Don Schappe*, 2007-2012
Jim Pitman, 2008-2013
Diane Saale, 2009 (partial)
Nancy Matheny, 2009-2014
Melissa Hollander, 2013 to present
Frank Klaas, 2014 to present
Doug Steinmeyer, 2015 to present
(Pike County included)
Ray Davis (d), 1997-2002
Dorothy Henke, 1997 (partial)
Louise Mayes, 1997-2000
Julie Wayman, 2001-2006
Dale Black, 2003-2008
Melba Houston, 2007-2012
Bob Hall, 2009-2014
Jim Mayes*, 2013 to present
Linda Whalen, 2015 to present
(Montgomery County included)
Julie Schneider, 1997-2001
Gladys Ball (d), 1997-2002
Pat Breeden, 2002-2005
Jill Smoot, 2003-2008
Cindy Gladden, 2005-2010
Dan Elliott*, 2009-2014
Elise Homeyer, 2011-2016
Joyce Hollaway, 2015 to present
John Deutch, 2017 new trustee
* Served as Chairman
Operation Round Up
Operation Round Up is a community outreach program funded by Cuivre River Electric Cooperative members through the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust. CREC members contribute by "rounding up" their electric bill payments each month.
Operation Round Up Mission
The goal of Operation Round Up is to help individuals, families and communities address unmet needs in the areas of health, youth, education, home weatherization, community and emergency services. Funds can be used to:
- Help families cope with emergencies, illnesses, and special medical needs.
- Help low-income and elderly neighbors reduce the burden of home energy bills with long term solutions that improve their home's efficiency.
- Help schools and neighbors with limited resources improve educational opportunities.
- Assist community youth organizations and activities which promote good citizenship for strong, healthy communities.
- Aid community and emergency service providers in their efforts to improve the quality of life for our less fortunate neighbors, and support each community's health, safety and well-being.
Funds may NOT be used for:
- Electricity, Propane/Gas, Telephone/Cable/Satellite/Internet bills
- Mortgage/Rent deposits or payments, Real estate/Personal property taxes
- Home/Renter's insurance payments
- Automobile expenses
- Credit card payments
Operation Round Up Grant Applications
There are four applications designed to meet a variety of needs for eligible applicants. The deadline is the last day of each month except for scholarships. Grant applications are available at Cuivre River Electric Cooperative offices or can be downloaded by selecting one of the links below.
*Bright Future grants are for schools only.
Scholarship deadline is May 1, 2017. The names of the scholarship recipients will be posted on Cuivre River Electric Cooperative's website, Facebook and Twitter accounts on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 2 PM.
The Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board meets on the second Thursday of each month to review the completed Operation Round Up application received the prior month. Operation Round Up applications may be mailed or hand-delivered to any Cuivre River Electric office.