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PPC. Even if you take that out of the equation, our first responders have the tools they need to protect their communities and themselves as they perform a very dangerous job.” Another way the Foundation board members


increase the value of Operation Round Up donations is by seeking out and engaging community volunteers— people and groups willing to perform the physical labor with materials supplied with Operation Round Up funds. It’s about maximizing the use of every penny, but as anyone who has ever volunteered will tell you, these lives are enriched by the experience as well. More than 80 percent of OEC members


participate in Operation Round Up. While OEC didn’t author the program—the credit goes to South


Carolina’s Palmetto Electric Cooperative—it was the first in the state, and among the first nationally, to adopt the initiative. Today, about 250 electric co-ops nationwide run Operation Round Up programs. “For more than 75 years the electric cooperative


business model has served as a valuable instrument to improve the quality of life in the communities in which they serve,” said Max Meek, OEC’s CEO. “It is absolutely fitting, given our history and our focus, that co-ops remain deeply committed to the current and future health and prosperity of their service areas. “It’s been extremely rewarding to see them build


a national philanthropic movement—real change— from pocket change.”


Photos, clockwise from far left: A $1,500 check in 2011 to the Norman Police Department provided child safety seats to low-income and economically disadvantaged families in Cleveland, McClain and Oklahoma counties; In 2009, $10,000 was awarded to Firstep, a substance abuse rehabilitation center, to build a new women’s dormitory: Jim Brown delivers a check in 2006 to pay for a facilities upgrade at the Noble Senior Citizens Center; Sunny Stuart takes a look under the hood of a fire truck at a new engine, courtesy of an Operation Round Up grant in 2006.


OEC Foundation board diligence contributes to Operation Round Up’s continued success


Representatives from each of OEC’s nine districts and a member-at-large make up the 10-member board


of the OEC Foundation. Tey are diverse in race and gender and professional experience. Each of them brings a distinct perspective and knowledge base to the table when they gather to evaluate grant requests and make decisions on funding. Teir consistent diligence and long-time dedication contribute to the program’s success. “Tey sacrifice more than their time to ensure the members’ contributions go to worthwhile endeavors,” said


Max Meek, OEC’s CEO. “Tere are many times one or more of them gets personally involved in a project. We are extremely lucky and proud to have this board associated with and working on behalf of the co-op.” Tree of the directors—Jim Brown, Vivian Gibson and Lloyd Gramling—are founding members of the board. Another senior board member is Jerry McCracken, the member-at-large. In late 1994, Jerry agreed to serve as a volunteer liason to validate, at the board's request, applicants' needs. He still uses his training and experience as a disaster relief worker to assess situations and gather information that helps the board with funding decisions.


OEC Foundation board members: (seated, left to right) Vivian Gibson, president; Joyce Wallace; Jamey Allen; Beckie Turner; (standing, left to right) Lloyd Gramling, vice president; Leroy Bayliff; Jerry McCracken, Jim Brown, secretary; and Sunny Stuart, treasurer. Lynne Miller is not pictured.


News Magazine 7


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