Powering Progress | OEC News

Powering Positive Change: Over $69,000 Granted to Build Stronger, United Communities

In August, the OEC Foundation board of directors approved $69,150 in grants to several local organizations and families, a significant contribution to the welfare of the community. The lifeblood of this initiative is the thousands of members who voluntarily round up their electric bills to the nearest dollar. These funds fuel Operation Round Up (ORU), a noble program aimed at supporting deserving causes throughout the areas the cooperative serves.

“OEC is distinct—being member-owned means we’re all about giving back,” said Dr. Jacob Smith, D.O. of Norman, a newer ORU board member who succeeded the last founding board member, Vivian Gibson, upon her retirement. “To know that every penny we collect is channeled back into the community is a profound joy.”

BREAKING DOWN THE BENEFICIARIES

Amber-Pocasset Special Athletes received $2,500, aiding the athletes in participating in the Special Olympics. Norman Assistance League was granted $10,000 for their Operation School Bell program.

Dibble Volunteer Fire Department received $4,000, directed towards purchasing equipment for their new truck and ensuring their PPE is up to standard.

Meals on Wheels of Norman, Inc. was allocated $10,000 to bolster their free meal service.

Transition House, Inc. garnered $10,000 to support the needs of their residential clients.

On the individual front, grants aided members with vision care, procuring medical equipment and assisting with tornado damage cleanup.

With roughly 80% of members choosing to round up their bills, the cumulative yearly donation is an average of $6 per member. This seemingly small contribution has facilitated a variety of programs and causes over the years.

Donna McCrory of Noble and other dedicated members of the Foundation board ensure that each application is meticulously reviewed. The objective is to ensure that the funded projects and organizations leave a lasting positive impact on the community. OEC remains deeply committed to endorsing these invaluable initiatives.

“These grants don’t just assist larger organizations in extending their outreach; they actively breathe life into communities, supporting individuals in challenging situations,” said Beckie Turner, OEC Foundation past president. “The ripple effect of each donation, regardless of its size, is genuinely heartwarming to observe.”

Over its 27-year trajectory, ORU has disbursed over $5 million in grants to myriad local nonprofit entities, individuals and families. These establishments are pillars in their communities, offering essential services ranging from meals and clothing to holiday gifts.

However, the influence of ORU’s contributions is not restricted to the direct beneficiaries. By bolstering these organizations, ORU fortifies community unity and establishes robust support structures. This multiplier effect ensures that ORU’s efforts continue to foster resilient and interconnected communities.

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