FARMINGTON, Minn. (Dec. 19, 2008) — Dakota Electric Association named Cheerful Givers, Eagan, as the local 2008 Touchstone Energy Community Award winner. Dakota Woodlands, Eagan, and Hope for Tomorrow, Burnsville, were named runners-up, and each of the three applicants received a plaque and a check for $500.

“As a member-owned cooperative, Dakota Electric values the local community,” said Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “The Touchstone Energy Community Award provides a way for us to honor just a few of the many people and organizations that do so much for our local communities.”

Cheerful Givers (www.cheerfulgivers.org) has made an impact locally by providing birthday gift bags for children who may not otherwise receive a gift on their birthdays. The organization expects to donate more than 44,000 gift bags in 2008 and has provided more than 277,000 gift bags since its inception. The bags are made up by volunteers and distributed through food shelves, shelters and human service agencies around Minnesota.

Dakota Woodlands provides housing and human services to homeless women and children in Dakota County. The organization helps families achieve residential stability, become more economically stable and improve their educational status and health. Hope for Tomorrow provides mentoring to area youth and has more than 150 business, educational and community leaders serving as mentors. The mentoring has proven to help the youth improve their view of self, others and the world around them.
The Touchstone Energy Community Award recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community.

“Dakota County and the surrounding area is fortunate to have many individuals, groups and corporate citizens who are willing to donate time and hard work to make our communities better,” Miller said.

Cheerful Givers award application will be submitted for consideration in the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. The statewide award recipient will be selected from local award winners throughout Minnesota. The winner will receive $1,000 for their non-profit community project. The Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award will be announced in March, during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul.