Dakota Electric Association named Kids ‘n Kinship, Apple Valley, as the local 2009 Touchstone Energy Community Award winner. Angel Foundation, Minneapolis, and Minnesota Valley Humane Society’s Pet Visitation program, Burnsville, were named runners-up, and each of the three applicants received a plaque and a check for $500.

“Dakota Electric is proud to be able to recognize these organizations doing great work in our local communities,” said Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “As a member-owned cooperative, we are committed to our local communities and this is a way to encourage and honor those who are like-minded.”

Kids ‘n Kinship (www.kidsnkinship.org) connects adult mentors with children who are in need of a positive role model in their lives. The organization serves about 170 children each year and currently has a waiting list of more than 75 youth. More than 400 people are involved in some aspect of this program.

The Angel Foundation (www.mnangel.org) provides financial assistance for cancer patients’ non-medical basic needs expenses and provides education and support for families. The organization has granted more than $1.5 million to more than 2,500 cancer patients since 2001. It has served 299 cancer patients in Dakota County, granting more than $202,000 locally.

The Pet Visitation program of the Minnesota Valley Humane Society (www.mvhspets.org) provides animal ambassadors that visit area nursing homes and care centers each month. The animal ambassadors visit an estimated 3,000 elderly each year, providing encouragement, emotional stimulation and relief from loneliness.

The Touchstone Energy Community Award recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community.

Kids ‘n Kinship’s award application will be submitted for the 2010 statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. The statewide award recipient will be selected from local award winners throughout Minnesota and will receive $1,000. The Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award will be announced in March, during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul. Dakota Electric’s applicant, Cheerful Givers, Eagan, won the 2009 statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award.