Community Helping Agencies Receive Foundation Grants

LENOIR, NC (January 25, 2023) Caldwell County citizens will benefit from five grants worth $47,300 awarded recently to local helping agencies from Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation for the most recent grant cycle.

The grants are examples of why Blue Ridge Energy established the Members Foundation in 2007 to support the work of community organizations providing services that are vital to the quality of life for the cooperative’s members. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded over $1.5 million in community grants. Projects in the areas of health, wellness, education, youth, and economic and community development are the Foundation’s priorities for support.

(l-r): Jeff Joines, Blue Ridge Energy’s Board of Directors; Keith Hindman of Communities in Schools; Hannah Gibbs and Sarah Thomas of The Mitford Museum; Kelly Melton, Blue Ridge Energy’s Board of Directors; Stephen Watson and Chris Burks of Kings Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.; David Eggers, Blue Ridge Energy’s Board of Directors; Kerri McFalls and Jake Benfield of AMOREM; Bob Myers and Rebecca Myers and Sandra Watts (seated) of Fort Defiance.

A grand total of $140,000 was awarded to 16 different organizations across the Blue Ridge Energy service area for this grant cycle. Local Caldwell County agencies receiving grant awards include:

  • AMOREM, formerly Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care and Burke Hospice and Palliative Care – this multi-county grant of $25,000 will benefit Watauga, Ashe, and Avery, residents. The funds will assist in the construction of a freestanding patient care unit in their Boone facility to offer different levels of care that cannot be provided in the home, including pain management and respite care;
  • Communities in Schools – $1,800 to help support a project for 8th-grade students in the program. The project will connect students to mentors and local businesses and industries;
  • Fort Defiance, Inc. – $7,500 to assist in the upgrade of the heat and air system and to replace lighting and wiring in the picnic shelter to allow a more versatile use of the site;
  • Kings Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $10,000 to purchase a Hurst E3 combi tool to help free trapped victims from vehicles and machinery;
  • The Mitford Museum – $3,000 to help creatively market the museum to increase exposure and thus boost the local economy.

During 2022, the Foundation also provided crisis funding assistance to more than 1,000 Blue Ridge Energy members in need of emergency help to pay their electric and fuel bills. For 2023, a special campaign, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, has raised additional funds because of increased heating needs due to extremely cold temperatures. While crisis assistance is funded by the Foundation, local helping agencies evaluate needs and determine who qualifies for assistance.

Funding for Foundation grants and crisis assistance comes from members participating in Blue Ridge Energy’s Operation Round Up® and Operation Round Up Plus® programs as well as an annual contribution from profits of the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energy, LLC, and RidgeLink, LLC. Over 22,000 members are either rounding up their monthly electric bill with Operation Round Up or adding a dollar or more with Operation Round Up Plus. Members also contribute by donating some or all of their annual capital credits.

Anyone with questions about the Foundation, or agencies interested in applying for grants, may contact Tasha Rountree, director of community relations, at 828-759-8994 or

Blue Ridge Energy is a cooperative utility serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes, and Alexander counties. For more information, visit

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