Commitment to Community
Community is people. It’s their health and well-being, their quality of life and opportunities.
When it comes to community, Basin Electric and its employees place high priority on ensuring every need is addressed.
In fact, employees demonstrate year after year their deep commitment to their communities. One example continues to be Brave the Shave. Employees, businesses and citizens stepped up in a big way once again in 2015 raising money to help families battling childhood cancer. During the campaign, more than $440,000 was raised and more than 360 people braved the shave. Money raised went to St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund childhood cancer research and fellowships.
What started in 2008 as an internal charitable initiative has grown to a region-wide event where local businesses and Basin Electric’s facilities in various states have come together to help children and families in their fight against cancer. In eight years, more than $1.9 million has been raised by communities in the region.
Basin Electric is also helping Bismarck-Mandan at-risk youth. For the past 10 years, the cooperative has supported Charles Hall Youth Services in its efforts to help at-risk youth make a successful transition from a troubled adolescence to mature adulthood.
Some of Basin Electric’s other charitable efforts are home grown – right between the beans and the cabbage in Basin’s Backyard Garden.
Now in its second year, the garden volunteers have donated more than 1,000 pounds of vegetables to local food pantries. At the beginning of the year, students from Highland Acres Elementary School in Bismarck helped plant the garden, and mid-summer, preschoolers with New Discovery Montessori Center visited to learn about gardening.
The garden has provided a connection to one of the area’s newest cooperatives, the BisMan Community Food Co-op. In 2015, Basin Electric provided the organizers with $50,000 in preferred equity to help them reach their goal of $900,000 – the amount needed to open a cooperative grocery store. At the end of September, the food co-op reached their goal. They plan to open in spring 2016. It’s another example of co-ops helping co-ops.
The United Way chapters throughout Basin Electric’s service area also receive strong support from the cooperative and its employees. For two years in a row, Basin Electric has been honored by the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way as the top corporate contributor to its fundraising campaign. Employee pledges, combined with Basin Electric’s 100 percent match and various fundraisers at the facilities, totaled more than $240,000 in 2015.
In addition to monetary support, employees support the United Way with people power. For more than a decade, Headquarters employees have volunteered their time during United Way’s Day of Caring. This year, which marked the 16th annual Day of Caring, more than 30 volunteers from Basin Electric braved the 100-degree temperature and helped at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch.
In addition to employee’s dollars and time, Basin Electric’s Charitable Giving Program offers direct financial impact to the rural communities it serves. Each year, one-third of the charitable giving budget is set aside for member matching donations. In 2015, for the first time, Basin Electric distributed 100 percent of the budget for member matches. Fifty-four co-ops from eight states in the cooperative’s service area participated in the program to help Basin Electric distribute more than $480,000 to their communities.
As members work to support the priorities of their communities, Basin Electric is right there beside them helping to make the projects successful.
Some of Basin Electric’s largest requests in 2015 have gone toward medical centers in rural communities. The cooperative dedicated $250,000 over five years – with the support of Class C member Roughrider Electric Cooperative – to the renovation of the Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen, ND, an area where Basin Electric employs more than 1,000 people.
Basin Electric also made a member match with Slope Electric Cooperative for West River Health Services – $100,000 over five years.
These are just a few examples of the many ways Basin Electric, its employees and members are directly impacting the health, well-being, quality of life and opportunities within their communities.
People helping people. It’s quite simply the essence of cooperatives.