4-County donates to local organizations

Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

The 4-County Electric Power Association Foundation awarded over $47,000 in donations to local organizations Monday afternoon.

Since February 2015, 4-County has rounded up willing customers’ utility bills to the nearest dollar and donated the proceeds to local nonprofits every other month. Since the Foundation’s commencement, 4-County has distributed nearly $850,000 to community organizations.

“There are seven main cooperative principles and one of them is concern for the community,” 4-County CEO Brian Clark said. “Having said that, this foundation rounds up people’s bills and gives them back to applicants that are approved by the board.”

The 4-County Foundation board is made up of members of the community.

“They get no compensation. It is all charity work and they go through these applications and vet them with a fine-toothed comb and determine how much of the request they will fulfill,” Clark said. “And they have the duty of managing what the needs of the community are along with the money they have. And they do a really good job with that.”

The board met Monday afternoon to go over this month’s requests, which add up to approximately $123,000.

“We have $70,000 to play with so the board has to do some real good diligence in determining how much money to give back to the community,” Clark said.

“The world we live in today, most things that seem too good to be usually are, this is not the case with this. This is genuine,” Clark added.

Local nonprofits can apply with the requirement that the donation goes toward educational purposes, health and human services purposes or catastrophic intervention.

“One of the many rules that we have is you can only be rewarded once a year. So if you get a check, you can’t apply a few months later. You have to wait for a year before you can apply again,” Clark said.

Nine area organizations benefited from the donations Monday, including Adaton/Self Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Central Oktibbeha Volunteer Fire Department, Salvation Army Starkville and the Starkville Area Arts Council. Salvation Army Starkville received $5,100 in donations and plans to use the money for Christmas meals.

“We’ll use these funds to provide food boxes for our angel tree families,” Salvation Army Starkville Service Center Manager Katie Walker said. “And we have some senior citizens that we serve and we’ll be able to help them at Christmas as well.”

“This is our third year in a row to receive our funds from 4-County Foundation and so this helps us provide something beyond some canned goods,” Walker said.

Walker said the donation will provide Christmas meals for approximately 80 families.

“We’re thankful for 4-County,” Walker said. “We’re very thankful they’re willing to help us meet needs of people who probably utilize their services.”

Another local organization, Adaton/ Self Creek Volunteer Fire Department, was rewarded close to $5,000 for life-saving equipment, a pump and a hose.

Adaton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lynn Crow said part of the funds will go toward funding a cutter spreader combination similar to the Jaws of Life.

“We’re going to buy another cutter spreader unit to help us with bad wrecks or multiple wrecks with cars so we can work two cars at the same time,” Crow said. “Or if it’s a bad wreck where we need to get them out quickly, we can work on both cars at the same time.”

Clark said he believes giving back and serving is important for a community.

“If we all pitch in and give back and serve, we’ll all be better off,” Clark said. “Find somebody this holiday season to help because there are a lot of people struggling. And you yourself might be struggling but you can do something simple to help someone else.”