Operation Round Up looking to serve more in Gwinnett

It's hard to believe that in these harsh economic times Jackson EMC is having a hard time giving away money. But that's what is happening - at least in Gwinnett County.

Over the last three years, the Jackson EMC Foundation has awarded more than 400 grants through Operation Round Up. Foundation officials would like to see more of those grants land in Gwinnett.

Operation Round Up is a program that rounds up the electric bills of participating customers and then disperses those funds to civic and charitable organizations and individuals in need. The average netted from each customer is only about $6 per year but that has enabled the foundation to award more than $3 million in grants over the last three years.

Gwinnett participation is high and foundation officials would like to see more grant money return to Gwinnett County.

"We know from talking with various community representatives that a need exists in Gwinnett for services that benefit less fortunate residents and projects that improve the community for its residents," said Jackson EMC Foundation Coordinator Lori Worley. "We would like to see Gwinnett benefit from the funding that is available, but to do that we need to have applications coming in."

Jackson EMC is a cooperative that provides electricity to 204,000 members in 10 northeast Georgia counties. Half of those customers are in Gwinnett and a large percentage contributes to the voluntary Round Up program.

Hope Clinic in Lawrenceville, Rainbow Village in Norcross and the Lilburn Cooperative Ministry are among the 44 Gwinnett organizations receiving these grants. Since late 2005, 85 grants have been made to individuals and organizations in Gwinnett for a total of $816,426. Still, there's room for more, Worley said.

Civic and charitable organizations in the 10-county Jackson EMC service can apply quickly and easily.

Worley said any civic or charitable organization serving one or more of the counties serviced by Jackson EMC (Clarke, Banks, Barrow, Franklin, Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison and Oglethorpe) is eligible to apply for up to $15,000 in Foundation funding. Individuals in those counties may also apply for grants, up to $3,500. Applicants do not need to be a member of Jackson EMC.

More information and applications can be found online on the "Your Community" page at www.jacksonemc.com.