Watauga Community Helping Agencies Receive Foundation Grants

Last Updated on January 25, 2023 12:48 pm

Boone, North Carolina (January 25, 2023) – Watauga County citizens will benefit from two grants worth $15,000 awarded recently to local helping agencies from Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation for the most recent 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 $1.5 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 $140,000 was awarded to 16 different organizations across the Blue Ridge Energy service area for this grant cycle. Local Watauga County agencies receiving grant awards include:

  • Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc. – $5,000 to help provide support for family and early education programs;
  • High Country Caregivers – $10,000 to assist in funding a camp experience for at-risk teens being cared for by grandparents.

During 2022, the Foundation also provided crisis funding assistance to more than 1,000 Blue Ridge Energy members in need of emergency help to pay their electric and fuel bills. While crisis assistance is funded by the Foundation, 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 as well as an annual contribution from profits of the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energy, LLC, and RidgeLink, LLC. Over 22,000 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

Blue Ridge Energy is a cooperative utility serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes, and Alexander counties. For more information, visit

(1-r): Heidi Ragan, District Manager of Blue Ridge Energy’s Watauga office; Tom Trexler, Blue Ridge Energy’s Board of Directors; Rhonda Russell and Elisha Childers of Children’s Council of Watauga County; Caroline Johnson and Marty Wilson of High Country Caregivers Foundation; J. B. Lawrence, Blue Ridge Energy’s Board of Directors.

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