Rounding up gives charities much more

Rounding up is not a new thing by any means. A worker who puts in seven hours and 50 minutes calls it eight, a player who averages 16.8 points per game calls it 17 and someone who makes $29,750 says they make $30,000.

People round up because whole numbers are easier to say and simpler to understand. The numbers accumulated in Jackson EMC's Operation Roundup Program are easy to comprehend, a fairly simple plan contributing greatly to charitable causes in both Gwinnett and Barrow.

Using this program, in which the bills of Jackson EMC customers are rounded up to the nearest dollar, the company has awarded nearly $150,000 in grants in Gwinnett County and nearly $40,000 in Barrow. That it costs the average consumer just $6 extra per year speaks to the effectiveness of the simple plan.

A plan that has made the following grants in Gwinnett:

•$15,000 to Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett

•$15,000 to the Norcross Cooperative Ministry

•$15,000 to the Hebron Community Health Center

•$15,000 to Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services

•$15,000 to the Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center in Norcross

•$15,000 to Family Promise, Snellville

•$15,000 to the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry

•$13,000 for the Gwinnett County Association for Retarded Citizens

•$10,000 to the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children in Lilburn

•$6,500 to Mercy Tree Ministries in Buford

•$5,000 to the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry

•$3,000 to the Lilburn Cooperative Ministry

•$3,000 to the Special Needs School of Gwinnett

And the following in Barrow:

•$15,000 to the Piedmont Regional Library System

•$15,000 to Peace Place Inc.

• $9,100 to the Boys & Girls Club of Barrow County

The program serves the counties in Jackson EMC's coverage area - which also includes Banks, Clarke, Franklin, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison and Oglethorpe. The Jackson EMC Foundation was created to disperse the funds, which can be applied for by going to the company's Web site at jacksonemc.com, which are usually limited to $15,000 for organizations and $3,500 for individuals.

New members are automatically enrolled in the program but can choose to opt out. Jackson EMC hopes those cases are rare, estimating that participation by 75 percent of its customers would lead to grant money of $770,000 a year, a major roundup indeed.