The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in Minnesota recognized Dakota Electric Association’s community involvement efforts by naming it the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization for 2011.

Professionals in the community who recognized the cooperative’s generosity over the years nominated Dakota Electric for this award. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Dakota Electric takes the seventh cooperative principle seriously as it shows support for community through employee volunteer efforts and contributions.

While the cooperative doesn’t have a large budget for donations, it does stretch what it has to spread the donations around its service territory, providing support for youth clubs, sporting activities, school districts, non-profit organizations, health and human services, emergency responders, special fundraising activities and more.

 

Mike Ferber, president, Fundraising Solutions; Dakota Electric board member Janet Lekson; Dakota Electric president & CEO Greg Miller; AFP president Heidi Droegemueller; Dakota Electric board chair Jim Sheldon.

Dakota Electric makes up for its small donations budget by supporting community efforts in other ways. Employees and board members spend time serving chambers of commerce, Rotary clubs and various non-profits and community organizations. Dakota Electric’s President and CEO Greg Miller volunteers with the foundations of the Minnesota Zoo and Dakota County Technical College.

Each year, through the company’s internal “Dakota Cares” campaign, employees donate approximately $20,000 to local charities through the United Way, Community Health Charities and a local food shelf. Dakota Electric’s community outreach touches individuals and groups throughout its service area.

“We do what we can to be involved in the community,” Miller said. “While we are not a large company that donates a lot of money, we are happy to be recognized for our faithful support to local organizations.”

AFP gives this annual award to organizations that have demonstrated outstanding commitment through financial support and by giving encouragement and motivation to others to take leadership roles toward philanthropy and community involvement.

Dakota Electric not only provides volunteers and donations to organizations but encourages community involvement by recognizing area leaders with its Township Officers Award, celebrating non-profits through the Touchstone Energy Community Award, training future leaders by sending youth to Washington D.C. and providing opportunities for its members to be generous with their time and finances through programs such as GreenTouch and Helping Neighbors.

“It is quite an honor to be recognized for doing something that we enjoy and has been part of our DNA from the beginning,” Miller said “Cooperatives have always been about supporting their local communities and making their corner of the world a better place. We are happy to have been selected for this prestigious honor.”

“Each of the honorees has demonstrated exceptional leadership and generosity of time and resources to encourage and advance philanthropy in our community,” AFP president Heidi Droegemueller said. “We salute their efforts to change our world for the better and applaud their selfless giving.”