Many electric cooperatives have bill round up programs that generate funds to contribute back to the communities they serve. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Cloverland Electric’s President and CEO, Mike Heise, decided it was an ideal time to establish a program for the cooperative to enable employees and members to give back to the Eastern Upper Peninsula communities it serves. Cloverland Cares officially launched as a separate non-profit entity with the specific focus to support school meal programs*, food banks and scholarships and received a jump-start with funding through a $10,000 grant from CoBank’s Sharing Success program.
“There’s a great need to provide meals to those who are struggling to put food on the table,” said Heise. “In addition, to support advanced education in the E.U.P., we also want to support Lake Superior State University, Bay Mills Community College and Les Cheneaux Culinary School by awarding need-based scholarships to members and sons/daughters of our members. Alpena Community College’s utility tech program is also included to help promote careers in trades like many career paths we have at our cooperative.”
Starting this fall, Cloverland’s members can opt-in to round up their monthly bill payments to contribute to Cloverland Cares. Funding for fall grant requests will be designated specifically for food banks and scholarships and divided equally among Cloverland’s three districts. *On August 31, 2020, the USDA announced an extension of its summer meal program that will provide free meals to students through December 31, 2020.
Members have three ways to contribute: 1) rounding up their monthly bill to the nearest dollar; 2) designating a specific monthly donation; 3) designating a one-time donation. To contribute to Cloverland Cares, members can contact member services (1-800-562-4953) or opt-in to participate online or with the SmartHub app (choose Bill & Pay / Round Up, then follow prompts).
Cloverland Cares has two annual grant cycles: Fall (deadline: September 30) and Spring (deadline: March 31). Grant requests are currently being accepted for the 2020 fall cycle for food banks and scholarships. The application is available on Cloverland.com.