Caldwell County Helping Agencies Receive Foundation Grants

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 5:40 pm

Caldwell County citizens will benefit from 10 grants worth $55,000 awarded recently to local helping agencies from Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation for the 2023 grant cycle.

The grants are examples of why Blue Ridge Energy established the Members Foundation in 2007 to support the work of community organizations providing services that are vital to the quality of life for the cooperative’s members. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded over $1.7 million in community grants. Projects in the areas of health, wellness, education, youth, and economic and community development are the Foundation’s priorities for support.

A grand total of $130,000 was awarded to 22 organizations across the Blue Ridge Energy service area for the 2023 grant cycle. Local Caldwell County agencies receiving grant awards include:

  • Western North Carolina Sculpture Center – a $10,000 grant will help install an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) compliant restroom in the Stoney Gymnasium on the grounds of the Patterson Science Center, which is now home to the Western North Carolina Sculpture Center;
  • Caldwell Pregnancy Care Center – a $9,000 grant will assist in installing a heating and cooling system in the newly opened office in Granite Falls;
  • Caldwell Opportunities – $5,000 to assist in the upgrade of the insulation in the facility that provides a day program for adults with intellectual developmental disabilities;
  • Children's Advocacy Center of Caldwell County, Inc., dba “Robin's Nest”– $5,000 grant to help continue the critical counseling services to child victims of sexual and physical abuse;
  • Helping Hands Clinic – $5,000 for the clinic to have access to an interpreter to better serve the Spanish-speaking patients; 
  • Caldwell Arts Council – $3,000 to help fund Caldwell Junior Appalachian Musicians (Caldwell JAM), a program open to all youth in grades K-12 regardless of whether they attend public schools, private schools, or are homeschooled;
  • Big House Family Ministry – $2,000 to help provide trauma-informed and attachment-based childcare providers to support and encourage foster families in the region;
  • Caldwell County Lions Activities Association – $1,000 to support the cost of providing 30 screening events in Caldwell County as part of the Unifour Children’s Sight Project;
  • The Foundation of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Inc. – $10,000 to support the new Caldwell County Middle School Career Exploration Project, which aims to increase student awareness of local, regional career and educational opportunities;
  • Western Piedmont Symphony – this multi-county grant of $5,000 will help purchase percussion equipment for the Youth Symphony program. 

During 2023, the Foundation also provided crisis funding assistance to more than 1,200 Blue Ridge Energy members needing emergency help to pay their electric and fuel bills. While the Foundation funds crisis assistance, local helping agencies evaluate needs and determine who qualifies for assistance.

Funding for Foundation grants and crisis assistance comes from members participating in Blue Ridge Energy’s Operation Round Up® and Operation Round Up Plus® programs, and an annual contribution from profits of the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energy, Propane and Fuels, LLC, and RidgeLink, LLC. Over 23,500 members are either rounding up their monthly electric bill with Operation Round Up or adding a dollar or more with Operation Round Up Plus. Members also contribute by donating some or all of their annual capital credits.

Anyone with questions about the Foundation or agencies interested in applying for grants may contact Tasha Rountree, director of community relations, at 828-759-8994 or

front row l-r): Julie Curry, Caldwell Opportunities, Inc.; Marla Christie, Foundation of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute; Shellie Bowlin, Robin’s Nest; David Freeman, Caldwell County Lions Activities Association; Liza Plaster, Western North Carolina Sculpture Center; Avery Bumgarner, Western Piedmont Symphony; Brittany Bonn, Helping Hands Clinic; Brenda Stevens, Big House Family Ministry; (back row l-r): Rebecca Davis, Caldwell Pregnancy Care Center; Kristin Austin, Caldwell Opportunities, Inc.; Dr. Mark Poarch, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute; Jeff Joines, Kelly Melton, and David Eggers, Blue Ridge Energy Board of Directors; Glendora Yarbrough, Caldwell Pregnancy Care Center; Wayne Parson, Caldwell County Lions Activities Association; Joe Bigley, Western North Carolina Sculpture Center; Tyler Reese, Blue Ridge Energy Caldwell District Manager holding check on behalf of Caldwell Arts Council

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