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Concern for community
Meet Eric, the mojo behind our mission
Eric leads the annual effort in his department to gather the most food for local pantries, and co-workers raised enough money to buy 13,540 food items -- the bulk of the more than 18,000 items given by employees at New Madrid Power Plant the week before Thanksgiving. Eric's efforts led to his co-workers' nominating him and Associated's recognizing him with its prestigious Excel Community Advocate Award. Eric, who joined the cooperative in 2005, responded that he doesn’t give to get recognition. “If you have to boast, you’re doing it for the wrong reason,” he said, and added it’s a team effort. “I like the guys I work with. For a lot of weeks and months, we spend more time with each other working than with our families.”
Caring for community goes to co-ops' core principles
Cooperatives operate by seven core principles, and concern for community is one of those. It's long been part of the culture at Associated, and the cooperative and employees together and individually, and at all locations, are generous with their time and gifts to help others. Recipients of their generosity range from nonprofit organizations to families in need during the holidays, teen parents trying to get their diplomas or children in need of warm coats.
At Associated, we know we're an integral part of the communities we serve. In addition to our mission being to provide affordable, reliable electricity that enhances quality of life, we provide economic development and energy efficiency programs to members and sponsor a variety of local and regional events.
Here are just a few examples of how Associated is committed to our communities:
United Way Pacesetter
In communities across southwest Missouri, the lives of thousands of children, adults and families are made better thanks to the services of United Way's diverse member agencies. Associated Electric’s contribution to United Way gives people hope for a better life. United Way agencies help people learn to read, feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, protect families and children from violence, restore hope after a disaster or illness, and renew faith for a brighter tomorrow.
Annually, Associated employees, led by an employee committee, have made the cooperative a pacesetter in fundraising. In the Springfield community in 2019, Associated was the third largest contributing company in United Way's 14-county area. Employees also participate in the annual Day of Caring, helping area agencies clean, tend gardens, paint and more.
In 2020, Associated gave funds it had set aside for employee events, not held due to the COVID pandemic, to the United Way and other charitable causes.
Charitable matching funds program
To support our employees' involvement in the community, we offer a matching funds program to enhance employee giving. Employees who donate to support qualified 501(c)3 public charities are eligible for matching support up to $100 from the cooperative.
Giving back to our community
Associated’s contributions committees at all locations support a diverse mix of local charitable/service organizations that create and support relations that reflect the following corporate values: family/community, education/technology, environment and rural heritage and lifestyle.
Relay for Life
Associated supports the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life Campaign. This event gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Employees at Associated partner with the Relay for Life staff to bring people in the community together in a moving and fun atmosphere.
You feel good about helping people out. There are a lot of things we do at the plant that if Associated didn’t allow us to do wouldn’t get done. Management has been very understanding and supportive of the things we do to make our donations successful.Sharon Rustemeyer, Thomas Hill Energy Center
What leads to United Way campaign success?
Associated’s support is paramount. “It’s definitely a top-down initiative and continues to be so. It’s also part of Associated’s culture, from serving members to serving the community."
-- Lynette Myers, co-chairperson, and named one of United Way's "Employee Campaign Managers of the Year"