Small Change Can Make a Big Difference
The Power of Change Program is a community outreach program funded by Ravalli Electric Cooperative (REC) co-op members. Members contribute by rounding up their electric bill payments each month to the nearest dollar. The “change” collected from rounding up bills is used to help fund local organizations in need.
Power of Change Mission
The goal of the Power of Change program is to help local organizations and communities address unmet needs in the areas of youth, education, public safety, health, community and emergency services to name a few.
Requests for Funding
All requests must be made by filling out an application. All applications will be considered. Requests are reviewed by the Power of Change Board on a quarterly basis where funds will be decided and later distributed. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the large amount of donation requests our program receives, applicants may only submit a donation request one time within a 12 month time period.
Few programs anywhere can boast the life-changing impact that the Power of Change program can make upon the lives of people in Ravalli County.
To date, other participating cooperative members throughout the nation have given over $50 million back into their communities by simply allowing their monthly electric bills to be rounded-up to the nearest dollar.
The money generated from participation in programs all over the country has helped communities in many different ways. For example, Emergency Response Agencies have been granted funds to purchase equipment necessary to answer swiftly the call of duty. Youth organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs and 4-H, have received grants that have allowed them to buy recreational equipment and supplies for their activities. 100% of the funds collected through this program will be used in support of local organizations in need.
The way it works is quite simple. If a member’s electric bill is $64.17 and the bill is rounded up to $65, then $0.83 would be allocated to the Power of Change program. There are no costs associated with running the program and 100% of the funds are distributed back into Ravalli County.
The average yearly donation to Power of Change by a participating member is less than $6. At most, a member will donate $11.88 for the entire year.
All members will be auto enrolled to start the program. This is a voluntary program however, and members can opt-out at any time by calling the office at (406) 961-3001.
A 5 member volunteer board of directors governs the Power of Change program. This board is made up of REC members and operates independent of the cooperative’s board. The Power of Change board meet quarterly to evaluate applications and decide which organizations will receive funds.
The Power of Change program is a chance for REC members to help make a difference in their communities for just a few cents each month.
Application Deadline: March 11, 2024
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the large amount of donation requests our program receives, applicants may only submit a donation request one time within a 12 month time period.
Power of Change Donation Recipients
The following are an example of some of the many donations the program has made:
Laundry Love Hamilton
Funds to provide tokens and laundry soap for free laundry service to homeless and low income families in need in the Bitterroot Valley. Laundry Love Hamilton is a non-profit organization that has a mission to offer the homeless and low income individuals an opportunity to wash their laundry and bedding for free at Fast and Fluffy in Hamilton,MT.
Summit Career Center
Funds to purchase a new laptop for their Auto/CAD program, and additional computer desks and chairs for their classrooms. Summit Career Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people find and start new careers that will help improve their quality of life. They offer tuition free personal and professional training programs to help people succeed and achieve life long goals and careers.
Linda Massa Youth Home Hamilton
Funds to purchase new mattresses and toppers for the youth beds. The staff at the youth home care for children who are facing abuse, neglect, emotional trauma and substance abuse problems. The mission of Youth Homes is “to help every youth feel safe, have a sense of belonging and find a place to call home.”
Bitterroot Valley Military Program
Funds to purchase 2 inflatable rafts to teach water safety, leadership, and teamwork with cadets in training. The (BVMP) is a veteran staffed program focused on leadership, citizenship through community service, self-discipline, and living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle while developing physical fitness, and essential life skills.
Total donations to date: $156,920.50
Frequently Asked Questions
The program was started by a small electric co-op in South Carolina in 1989. The idea of rounding up the co-op member's electric bill to the next dollar and use the combined funds to do good work in your community. Since then, the program has been adopted by more than 260 electric co-ops nationwide and has raised more then $50 million for co-op communities. REC's Board of Trustees elected to start the charitable giving program in 2019.
Your monthly electric bill is rounded up to the nearest dollar amount. All REC Members are automatically enrolled in the program and will remain enrolled until they request to be removed from it. Members can opt out at any time by calling the office at (406) 961-3001.
The Power of Change program is designed to generate and collect voluntary donations that are used to benefit organizations in Ravalli County for the purpose of improving the quality of life of our members and their communities. Monies accumulated will be placed into a trust fund. Applications to receive these funds will be completed and reviewed by the Power of Change Board at which time the funds will be dispersed.
The average annual giving is $6 per member, but the most anyone can give is $11.88 per year. Your monthly billing statement will indicate how much is being donated, and you will see an annual total of funds dated as your contributions are tax deductible.
We believe our members would want this program to have as much positive impact in the community as possible. Based on the experiences of other electric co-ops that participate in a round up program, the best way to have a successful program is to include everyone from the start.
We have completed a campaign through multiple communication channels to inform our membership of this program and why we are implementing it. During this time, members have also been informed that participation is voluntary and any member can decline or opt out of the program at any time.
Yes, members may join or rejoin the Power of Change program at any time.
Yes, you may contribute additional fund to the program at any time.
The program is run by a volunteer committee made up of 5 REC members. The board reviews applications and makes decisions regarding approval and funding levels within the guidelines of the Power of Change bylaws.
Any organization within Ravalli County may apply for funding. Based on the program guidelines this includes: non-profits, community-based or volunteer organizations, educational, civic organizations, and emergency response agencies to name a few.
Applications from organizations should be targeted to specific projects or program support. Funds will not be distributed to individuals, political groups, fundraisers, churches or religious organizations.
A list of funds distributed will be available on our website , featured periodically in our monthly Rural Montana Magazine and other communication channels.
No, there are other programs available for people needing assistance with utility bills.
No, those eligible to apply for funds include groups and organizations located within Ravalli County. Applicants need not be members of REC to apply.
Yes, all donations made to the Power of Change program are tax -exempt. Your December electric bill will show your total contribution for the year.
Yes, our cooperative Attorney has reviewed the bylaws of the Power of Change program and filed all of the documentation to implement the program. In addition, all campaigning of the program has been done through several communication channels to inform our membership of the program and their option to participate or choose not to participate.