Rounding up for their communities

Minnkota members have provided nearly $7.9 million to charitable causes through Operation Round Up®.


Emily Windjue


April 19, 2023

Operation Round Up is a program that allows electric cooperatives across the country the chance to make a difference in their communities, and several of Minnkota’s members are proud participants. This program offers the cooperative’s member-consumers the option to round up their electricity bill to the nearest whole dollar. The cents collected are put into a fund and then used to create grants, scholarships and other donations that qualifying organizations can apply for throughout the year.

Operation Round Up has been able to fund a vast array of organizations through participating cooperatives in the region. Over the years, here are some of the most memorable donations made by our member cooperatives.

Cass County Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $3,3950,110

Cass County Electric’s Operation Round Up program has supported The Memory Café of the Red River Valley. Any person who is experiencing mild to moderate memory loss can go to the café with their care partners to enjoy a safe, supportive and welcoming environment. The Memory Café is a place to create joyful moments for someone living with memory loss.

The Memory Café is a non-profit located in Fargo, N.D.
Beltrami Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $566,129

One of the first grants ever awarded by Beltrami Electric’s Operation Round Up program was to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office K-9 grant. In November 2021, the fund helped the department welcome RIP, a Belgian Malinois, to its ranks. RIP has been assisting the department in both operations and narcotic detection.

RIP and his handler Deputy Tony Hanson
Nodak Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $1,071,811

Nodak Electric’s Operation Round Up board of directors meets quarterly to consider applications and award funds. One memorable donation was made to Clara Beaton, a young girl with different learning abilities. The donation was able to assist in the cost of getting Clara an interactive whiteboard to help her participate in the classroom more effectively.

Clara Beaton and her new interactive whiteboard
Red Lake Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $647,991

One of the 1,043 grants given by Red Lake’s Operation Round Up program was to Middle River Veterans Outdoors. The grant helped sponsor a youth waterfowl hunt, a veterans ice fishing trip and a range of other hunting events for veterans.

Middle River Veterans Outdoors’ mission is to improve the lives of veterans through hunting and fishing adventures and provide opportunities for local youth to hunt waterfowl
Wild Rice Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $199,368

Wild Rice’s Operation Round Up program made its first contributions in 1996. One organization that has received donations over the years is the Polk County Mounted Posse, an all-volunteer organization. This organization’s main duty includes search and rescue since its horses can cover more ground than a person on foot. The funds from Operation Round Up have helped the group purchase floatation devices, wireless solar packs, radio chest harnesses and other necessary items.

Roseau Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $258,206

Roseau Electric was honored to help the City of Grygla with its ice rink project by allocating funds from Operation Round Up. The Brian Olson Memorial Arena, named after a community member who tragically passed away in a car accident, used the grant to renovate the community arena, which included a new lighting project.

Clearwater-Polk Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $654,847

Hunger doesn’t end on Friday, which is why Clearwater-Polk’s Operation Round Up board decided to allocate funds to support the United Way’s Backpack Buddies program. Backpack Buddies ensures that students go home over the weekend with easy-to-prepare food. Bags are packed with entrees, snacks, veggies, fruit and even high-protein items.

Volunteers help pack bags with everything a child could eat for a weekend or school vacation.
North Star Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donations of $312,430

A total of 133 local charities have benefited from North Star’s Operation Round Up program. Its program board of directors works hard to spread the dollars throughout the entire community. A few local organizations that have received funds include local food shelf organizations, community fire departments and emergency responder organizations.

PKM Electric Cooperative: Lifetime donation of $2322,887

PKM Electric uses its Operation Round Up dollars a little differently than other Minnkota member cooperatives. Every year, 10 or 11 scholarships are created for high school seniors in its service territory. These scholarships are around $1,000 and help support students with their financial needs while attending colleges like North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, Northland Community and Technical College and so many more.

Carter Vasek, East Grand Forks, U of M – Twin Cities (scholarship recipient)

If you are interested in participating in Operation Round Up, contact your local electric cooperative today!


Get Our Monthly Newsletter, Directly Into Your Inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form