MVEA Members Give $3.1 Million Back to the Community - July 2023 CCL CEO Article
By Ruth Marks, MVEA CEO
Opt-in to Operation Round Up® to Help Your Neighbors in Need
This month I am proud to provide a spotlight on a Mountain View Electric Association program that shows how much we can accomplish when we work together to help our co-op communities and members in need.
Through the generosity of members who round up their electric bill to the nearest dollar, MVEA is able to give back over $100,000 each year to the co-op community through Operation Round Up. Pennies really do add up to great things at MVEA.
Operation Round Up is a community-focused program, unique to electric co-ops, that assists charitable organizations, communities with special needs, and MVEA co-op members who have suffered from loss, personal disaster, or medical emergencies. The average member contribution is 50 cents a month or $6 per year, but members never donate over $11.88 per year. This amount may not seem like much, but when multiplied by the over 26,000 MVEA accounts that are enrolled in the program, the fund can turn a little bit of spare change into a BIG difference.
In fact, the program reached a major milestone at the end of 2022 by giving back over $3 million since its inception in 1999. While the amount given back to the co-op community and the number of members who participate is a great point of pride for MVEA, in recent years we have seen participation decline a bit. In the wake of COVID-19 and with the economic instability that has followed, we understand that some of those who contributed before may have opted-out in recent years. We also know that program participation is impacted when members, who have opted-in for many years, move out of our service territory.
If you are not currently enrolled in the program and feel compelled to put your pennies to work for a greater good, opting into the program is an easy process. Simply log in to your SmartHub® account and check a box or call MVEA at (800) 388-9881 and one of our Member Service Representatives will be happy to help.
While we can help you opt-in to the program, MVEA is not involved in the distribution or awarding of funds. The program is administered by a volunteer Operation Round Up Board of Directors, which is an independent board of community leaders that grants funds according to the program’s policies. Funds collected stay right here in MVEA’s service territory and are used for the benefit of our members. Funds are not used to pay electric bills or for political or religious purposes. The program is always voluntary, and members may opt out of contributing at any time.
Out of respect for privacy, we don’t name MVEA members who apply for Operation Round Up funds, but these grants have been vital in helping our friends and neighbors recover from hardships.
In addition to helping individual co-op members through times of hardship, the fund plays an important role in assisting charitable organizations.
- Tri-Lakes Cares, the Fresh Start Center, and other local pantries use funds to help stave off hunger and food insecurity.
- Stable Strides, a local therapeutic riding center, provides scholarships to individuals with special needs.
- Emergency Incident Support, a volunteer organization that has used grant funds to provide food, shelter, rehydration and replenishment to local first responders during wildland fires.
These are just three examples, from a long list of organizations, that put Operation Round Up funds to work to help our co-op community thrive.
I want to personally thank the MVEA members who round-up their bill through Operation Round Up. I also want to encourage members to opt-in to help your co-op community or to apply for a grant if you are in need.
To learn more about Operation Round Up or to join other members in rounding up your bill, visit www.mvea.coop/round-up.