Frequently Asked Questions
What is Operation Round Up?
Operation Round-Up, is a program to generate and collect voluntary donations that are used to benefit organizations in FEC’s service area for the purpose of improving the quality of life of our members and their communities. FreeState Electric Cooperative’s Board of Trustees approved to start the charitable giving program. Its concept is an extension of the principle on which electric co-ops were build more than 75 years ago – neighbors helping neighbors to benefit the community in which they work and live.
How did it get started?
The program was created by Palmetto Electric Cooperative in South Carolina in 1989, and since then it has been adopted by more than 250 electric cooperatives nationwide. Since its introduction, Operation Round-UpÒ, has raised more than $50 million for Cooperative communities.
How does it work?
Your monthly FreeState Electric Bill is rounded up to the nearest dollar amount. All FEC members are automatically enrolled in the program and will remain in the program until they request to be removed from it. Members can opt out of the program by calling our office at 1-800-794-1989. Pre-Pay Program participants are not automatically enrolled in the program, but can participate by calling our office for options. The maximum a member would contribute to the program yearly would be $11.88. The average contribution per member per year would be $6.
How much can I expect to contribute each year?
The average annual giving is $6 per member, but the most anyone account can give each month is 99 cents – or a maximum of $11.88 per year. The monthly billing statement will indicate how much is being donated, and you will get an annual total of funds donated, as your contributions are tax deductible.
If I have more than one account, will each be rounded up?
Yes. Each account is auto-enrolled. If you wish to remove all of your accounts from the program, simply call us.
When does the program start?
All FEC members are automatically enrolled in Operation Round-Up,. If you do not wish to participate, please let us know by calling the office.
Why is FreeState automatically signing up all members?
We believe our members would want their Foundation to have as much positive impact in the community as possible. Based on the experience of other cooperatives that have introduced Operation Round-Up, we anticipate participation in the program to be between 75-90 percent. To ensure that our members understand what Operation Round-Up, is and why we’re implementing it, there was a communication campaign prior to the start of the program. During this period, members were provided a variety of easy methods to decline participation in Operation Round-Up.
If a member doesn't wish to participate now, can they join Operation Round Up in the future?
Yes, members may join or rejoin Operation Round-Up.
What is FreeState’s goal for this program?
Our goal is to improve the quality of life for the communities we serve. Cooperatives are governed by seven principles, the seventh principle being Concern for Community. Operation Round-UpÒ provides FEC with a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate and extend its commitment to its members and their communities. Operation Round-Up is an example of people coming together and pooling their resources to accomplish a greater good. Now, through Operation Round-UpÒ, local residents can come together to create change and provide assistance in their communities through a foundation – something they couldn't do individually on this scale.
What will Operation Round-Up cost the cooperative?
The cost to operate the Foundation will be minimal, and less than many of the other community engagement programs in which your cooperative is already involved. Involvement in civic groups, chambers of commerce, and Youth Tour are all examples of programs that demonstrate your cooperative is committed to the communities we serve and has been for decades. Operation Round-Up is just another program that demonstrates the cooperative difference to improve the communities in our service area.
Do other Cooperatives participate?
There are currently about 250 cooperatives participating in Operation Round Up nationally.
How much money will Operation Round-Up collect?
If 75 percent of FEC’s members participate in the program, an average of $7,000 a month will be contributed to Operation Round-Up. At this rate, more than $100,000 annually will be collected for the foundation.
How are requests for funding handled?
Organizations that seek funding from the foundation must complete a thorough application. Those applications will be reviewed by the member committee, which may request additional information or determine if personal visits are necessary for fact gathering. The committee then votes on all requests. Organizations may receive only one grant award from the foundation each year.
If you're not a member, can you still participate in Operation Round-Up?
No, only members of FEC can participate, since funds for Operation Round-Up come from rounding up members’ electric bills to the next dollar.
What is the FEC Foundation?
The FreeState Electric Cooperative Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization set up to represent the members of FEC and the funds collected through Operation Round Up® for charitable purposes. The mission of the Foundation is to distribute money collected from FEC members through Operation Round-Up to worthwhile, charitable and educational purposes that will improve lives and respond to immediate needs within the counties where the cooperative provides electric service.
Who can apply for funding from the Foundation?
Any organization in any of the counties served by FEC – Atchison, Osage, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Jackson, Jefferson, Douglas, Leavenworth, Pottawatomie. Based on Foundation guidelines, nonprofits, community-based or volunteer organizations, educational, civic organizations, shelters, and hospitals, may apply for grants.
What are the limitations on grant applications?
Applications from organizations should be targeted to specific project or program support. Key Focus areas covered by these grants can include education and youth, community need, or medical or disaster-related emergencies. Organizations may receive only one grant award from Operation Round-Up each year. The following will NOT be eligible for Operation Round-Up money: individuals; political groups; and organizations that discriminate.
Will schools and churches qualify to apply?
Programs at schools will qualify if they are outside the scope of traditional education and the institution’s normal budget. Programs for churches will be considered when there is a direct community impact involved in one of the key focus areas.
Will FEC continue to support organizations it has supported in the past?
Yes. FEC has sponsored a wide variety of organizations and programs in our community, and continues to support them.
Are contributions tax-deductible?
Yes. Each January bill will have a summary of donations for tax purposes.
How is the committee governed?
The committee is governed by five volunteers – any FEC member. Each committee member will serve on an annual basis. The committee reviews applications and makes decisions regarding approval and funding levels within the guidelines Foundation bylaws.