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Through the contributions of Lake Country Power's participating members, the Operation Round Up® Electric Trust Board recently approved $50,800 in assistance to local community programs during its quarterly meeting.

The cooperative’s Trust Board reviewed and considered 47 grant applications and distributed funds to 44 projects and programs this past quarter. Since the program’s inception in October 2004, more than $2.9 million has been distributed to community-based projects and programs.

All funds generated through Operation Round Up® are set aside in a trust fund. A voluntary Trust Board of nine co-op members administers the trust. Of the funds collected through the program, 100 percent is distributed to charitable organizations through an application and selection process. The Trust Board uses special guidelines and policies when choosing recipients.

Most Recent Recipients

  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Walker – friends of the poor; help meet needs

  • Zion Love Project, Grand Rapids – quilts and supplies

  • Holy Trinity Quilters, Kettle River – project comfort

  • Common Threads/A Case for Smiles, Grand Rapids – pillowcases

  • Carlton Fire and Ambulance, Carlton – for refurbished chest compression device

  • Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Cook – Thanksgiving for 200+ people

  • Foster Love Closet, Grand Rapids – space rental, formula, diapers

  • Palo Volunteer Fire Department, Aurora – fire and rescue loose equipment replacement

  • TWC Caring Program (area clothing depot), Wright – Christmas caring project

  • Trinity Lutheran Quilters, Cook – quilts and supplies

  • Grand Lake Volunteer Fire Dept., Twig – equipment purchase, firefighter safety

  • Aitkin County Triad, McGregor – safety programs for seniors

  • Friends of Wirtanen Pioneer Farm, Makinen – Wirtanen Farm Fall Festival 2022

  • Barnum Area Community Club, Barnum – elementary school supply drive

  • Smart North, Deer River Community Tech Hub – serving underprivileged residents and students

  • Itasca County Historical Society, Grand Rapids – old time memory pictures for assisted living

  • Itasca Community Connect (AEOA), Grand Rapids – resources and education for seniors

  • United Methodist Church Quilters, Grand Rapids – quilts for community connect

  • Tower Soudan Civic Club, Tower – Operation Santa warm gifts drive

  • Long Lake Conservation Foundation, Palisade – wetland succession exploration

  • Boy Scout Troop 41, Grand Rapids – new tents for Troop 41

  • Quad City Quilting Sisters, Gilbert – quilts

  • Friends of the Parks, Cook – Veterans Riverfront Park project

  • Story Portage – local authors in the Ely food shelf

  • Wabana Chain of Lakes Association, Grand Rapids – historical display

  • Bethel Lutheran Church Women, Cloquet – mission quilts

  • Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry (Camps Vermilion/Hiawatha), summer youth camperships

  • Central Range Pickleball Club, Hibbing – construct pickleball courts

  • Salvation Army, Hibbing – diapers, personal items, food shelf

  • Salvation Army, Virginia – general operations support serving community

  • Gloria Dei Women/Caring Quilters, Virginia – quilt distribution

  • Well Being Development/Northern Lights Clubhouse, Ely – support mental and behavioral health illness

  • Town of French, Side Lake – EMS Department lead monitor

  • Jacobson Community Center Foundation, Jacobson – centennial celebration

  • Voyageurs Area Council, Hermantown – family fun days

  • Cromwell Area Community Club, Cromwell – tent for use at Harvest Fest

  • Open Door Coat Rack, Grand Rapids – outfit children with winter items

  • Grand Rapids Players Association, Grand Rapids – hardware purchases for play production

  • Faith in Action for Cass County, Hackensack – basic home repairs

  • Ely Winter Festival, Ely – snow sculpture symposium

  • Ely ArtWalk, Ely – 2023 Ely art walk

  • Historic State Theater, Ely – purchase laptop computer

  • Star of the North Figure Skating Club, Grand Rapids – club sponsorship

  • Patchwork Pals Plus, Remer – quilt supplies 

Smart North is a first-time non-profit recipient of Operation Round Up® funding. Over the past year, a grassroots group of Deer River area residents, educators and partners has been meeting to discuss issues among youth and brainstorm solutions. The Deer River community, including middle- and high-school students, is collaborating with Sabina Saksena, board chair of Smart North, to create a community tech hub.

The Deer River Community Tech Hub will be housed in the Goodall Resource Center as donated space by Deer River Essentia Health. The tech hub, opening in October, is available to students as an after-school service for grades 6 – 12. It will help grow students’ knowledge about digital skills including arts, creativity, 3D designs and printing, programming, and more.

“We are thrilled for the support from Operation Round Up®,” said Saksena. “This has been a grassroots movement between the community of Deer River and the Leech Lake Reservation and will reach hundreds of students with mentorship, training, preparation for high education and providing a wellness service for those with various barriers, such as being homeless.”    

Operation Round Up® is a charitable program unique to electric co-ops, which is designed to provide financial assistance to worthwhile activities and community projects by “rounding up” members’ electric bills to the nearest dollar. The average donation of each participating Lake Country Power member is less than $6 annually.

Among Lake Country Power’s 43,000 members, nearly 64 percent of all active electric accounts participate in the program through voluntary contributions. Interested members can opt into the Operation Round Up® program by calling the cooperative at 800-421-9959 or using an online form at