Watauga County Community Helping Agencies Receive Foundation Grants

Last Updated on January 31, 2022 8:12 am

Lenoir, North Carolina (January 27, 2022) – Watauga County citizens will benefit from eight grants worth $56,500, awarded recently to local helping agencies from Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation for the 2021 grant cycle.

The grants are examples of why the cooperative established the Members Foundation in 2007 to support the work of community organizations providing services that improve the quality of life for the cooperative’s members. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded over $1.4 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 $142,510 was awarded to 23 different organizations across the Blue Ridge service area for the 2021 grant cycle. Local Watauga County agencies receiving grant awards include:

  • ·         Children’s Council of Watauga County– $5,000 to assist in providing family support services in times of need to stabilize the family environment and parenting support;
  • ·         Community Care Clinic – $5,000 to assist in providing care for patients with mental health issues, that include trauma processing, substance abuse counseling, tobacco use cessation, and more;
  • ·         Friends of Watauga County Public Library – $3,000 to support the library in building and updating literacy collections, with a focus in decodable books for emergent, struggling, and dyslexic readers;
  • ·         Hunger & Health Coalition – $3,500 to assist in stocking inventory in the Coalition’s pantry to provide fresh food for the community members they serve;
  • ·         LIFE Village, Inc. – $5,000 to aid in the expansion and support of an affordable housing option in Boone that will promote and foster an inclusive community for adults with autism and other challenges to live, learn and grow;
  • ·         Mountain Alliance, Inc. – $5,000 to support the “School’s Out” after school academic program that provides an inclusive, welcoming, supervised setting for teenagers at Watauga High School;
  • ·         OASIS, Inc. – $5,000 to support the only free and confidential Emergency Shelter Program in Watauga and Avery counties, for victims and children fleeing intimate partner violence or sex trafficking;
  • ·         Western Youth Network – $25,000 to help the after-school program in Ashe and Alleghany county provide students with daily care, that will include: one-on-one tutoring, nutrition education, healthy snacks, and many other opportunities to engage in resilience-building strategies.

During 2021, the Foundation also provided crisis funding assistance to more than 990 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 annual contributions from profits of the cooperative’s subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Energy, LLC and RidgeLink. Over 25,000 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

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