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Cotton Electric Receives Beacon Award

OKLAHOMA CITY Okla_ Cotton Electric members were recognized for their generosity during the Beacon Awards event July 11 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.

Presented by The Journal Record, this was the sixth year of the event that recognizes and honors businesses that play instrumental roles in supporting nonprofit programs that help Oklahomans in need.

Twenty-five honorees in six categories were recognized, with an overall winner named in each category. Cotton Electric was named the overall winner in the Philanthropic Impact of a Medium-sized Business for the financial support the co-op members provide for organizations and individuals in southwest Oklahoma through the Operation Round Up (ORU) program.

"We are honored to accept this award on behalf of the members of Cotton Electric. The Operation Round Up program is successful because of their kindness and generosity and is a true testament to the power of cooperation," said Jennifer Meason, Cotton Electric vice president of marketing.

ORU is a program designed to provide financial assistance to worthwhile individuals and organizations. Under the program, voluntary contributions from nearly 13,000 co-op members are collected when their monthly bills are "rounded up" to the next highest dollar. The funds collected through ORU are administered by the Cotton Electric Charitable Foundation and its five directors

The foundation has issued more than 280 grants since its inception in 2004. Grant recipients are local people and community organizations spread throughout the eight-county territory served by Cotton Electric Cooperative.

"Grant amounts have ranged from $100 to organizations for event and school supplies to $10,000 for building improvements," Meason said, pointing out that the average grant is $2,300.

"While 19 grants have gone to individuals and their families who were struggling with overwhelming medical expenses," Meason said "all other grants have helped a variety of organizations that serve large segments of communities in categories that include schools and youth programs, community services and public safety, senior citizens and volunteer fire departments. Some grants were used to purchase first-time or replacement equipment."

Most grants are used to purchase durable goods that will benefit those served by an organization for many years.

Co-op members contributed more than $44,000 through the program during the 2012-‘13 fiscal year and have contributed more than $680,800 since the program began nine years ago.

"The program provides a relatively simple way for the members of the cooperative to contribute to projects and causes within the area," Meason said. "Often, those who benefit from the grants are the very people who contribute to Operation Round Up. Their small contributions, pooled with small contributions from many others, add up to significant and powerful amounts. Funds are returned to members and their community through the grants."

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