Dakota Electric, one of more than 900 cooperatives making up NRECA, was recognized with this national award for significant contributions to the communities it serves. Items that were highlighted during the presentation included providing financial donations and volunteers to local nonprofits and community organizations and helping bring the first all electric school bus to Minnesota, along with Great River Energy and Schmitty and Sons.

directors on stage with award

Dakota Electric’s board members accept the Cooperative Purpose award at the NRECA annual meeting: NRECA CEO Jim Matheson (left) and (former) board president Phil Carson (right); representing Dakota Electric’s board from left to right: Jack DeYoe, Margaret Schreiner, Chair David Jones and Janet Lekson.

“Innovative projects like this require outstanding leadership and an impressive ability to leverage new partnerships to improve lives. Dakota Electric clearly has both,” former NRECA President Phil Carson said.

The award application highlighted all the ways in which Dakota Electric and its employees are involved in the community. Some of the items mentioned included employees serving meals to local Veterans and volunteering with Meals on Wheels, supporting environmental programs, making tree donations and rallying volunteers to work at a local park each year. Employees are also involved in various community organizations such as Rotary, chambers and foundation boards.

Foundational to cooperatives are seven cooperative principles. After receiving the award on behalf of Dakota Electric, Board Chair David Jones highlighted the seventh one.

“Concern for the community is very important to us,” Jones said. “Our employees and board members are active in the local communities, and Dakota Electric supports the efforts of many organizations working to improve the quality of life in this area. We are proud of the contribution we have made in the community and are honored that we have been recognized in this way.”

NRECA represents more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, public power districts, and public utility districts in the United States. The Arlington, Va.-based national service organization oversees cooperative employee benefits plans; carries out federal government relations activities; conducts management and director training; and spearheads communications, advocacy, and public relations initiatives.