Operation Round Up

About Operation Round Up

The circle of giving—you give and you receive. That is the philosophy behind Sioux Valley Energy's Operation Round Up program. Since the year 2000, members and employees have awarded more than $1.5-Million to worthwhile causes throughout the cooperative's service territory. The concept is easy, participating members agree to have their electric bill rounded up to the next highest dollar and that money is collected for Operation Round Up. Many Sioux Valley Energy employees also help by deducting a small amount from their paychecks. Nearly 75 percent of our members and employees participate in the program.

Operation Round Up is administered by a non-profit trust, the Sioux Valley Energy Customers' Trust, which was initiated in the fall of 2000. The purpose of the trust is to acquire, accumulate and disburse funds for charitable and educational purposes as permitted by Section 501 (c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Your community, your school, and/or your nonprofit organization may be eligible for funding. Each quarter, the Board of Directors, volunteer representatives of each county, to review grant applications and make awards based on criteria guidelines of the Trust. Not all proposals are funded, and not all applications are funded at the full funding request.

The region served by the Trust includes the seven-county Sioux Valley Energy service area, as well as adjacent neighborhoods within the outer boundaries of the cooperatives service area. Money must also be spent within these boundaries. The electrical service area includes Rock and Pipestone counties in Minnesota, and Brookings, part of Kingsbury, Lake, Moody, and Minnehaha counties in South Dakota.

The major funding categories of the Sioux Valley Energy Customers' Trust include lending assistance to community service projects, economic development programs, education and youth initiatives, and emergency energy assistance. These funds are also available, should the need arise, to provide disaster relief.

Examples of the types of organizations who have received funding in the past are daycare associations, schools, nursing homes, sports clubs, vocational schools, youth groups, scholarship programs, humanity programs, fire departments, cities, special needs for individuals, and senior dining programs.

Sioux Valley Energyscholarships
Brandon Valley School District Odyssey of the Mindfunding to be used for registration, housing, lodging, and travel expenses to attend tournament in Ames IA
Brookings BackPack Programfunding to purchase food to distribute to children living in food insecure households
Brookings County Farm Service Agencyfunding for expenses for "Ag Women's Day"
Calumet Playersfunding to cover expenses for the production of "The Little Mermaid"
Center of Hopefunding to be used to help the Bike-To-Work program
Chester/Colman Baseballfunding for uniforms, league fees, umpires, equipment etc to start a teener team
City of Colmanfunding to purchase playground equipment
Crooks Flag Football Leaguefunding to install new scoreboards
Elkton School Districtfunding to purchase iPads and protective cases
Ewert Recreation Centerfunding to purchase a key log and also for staff training
Habitat for Humanityfunding for the purchase of construction materials to build one Habitat Home in partnership with the CTE Academy
Hartford Area Sports and Recfunding to purchase bleachers
Hartford Sparx Softball Teamfunding to purchase new uniforms and tournament entry fee
Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnershipfunding would be used to support ICAP's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program
Madison Dawgs Travel Ballfunding for start-up expenses for a new baseball team for purchasing
Madison Elementary Schoolfunding to purchase cubby units for student's daily supplies
McCrossan Boys Ranchfunding to purchase displays and archive products for the New McCrossan Center which will be breaking ground this summer
Prairie Valley Reading Councilfunding to be used for mileage, accommodations, and program costs for the Daryl Cobb author visit in April 2018
Rock Ranchfunding to be used for riders who may not be able to afford lessons and also funding to continue to market the Rock Ranch
Rolling Thunder Chapter 2funding for replacement of poles for a sign on Hwy 77
South Dakota B.A.S.S. Nationfunding to be used for youth tournaments and events, conservation & environmental project, & to defray expenses as an organization
SD FFA Foundationfunding to purchase FFA jackets and to provide leadership retreat scholarships
The Community Outreachfunding to help with the Utility Assistance Fund
West Central Education Foundationfunding for innovative educational activities for early childhood, preschool and K-12 students within the school district
West Sioux II 4-H Clubfunding to purchase supplies for 4-H members to make an electrical project

The Sioux Valley Energy Customers' Trust Board of Directors meets quarterly in the months of March, June, September, and December. Applications must be received by the 20th of the month preceding the board meeting. For example, in order to be considered at the December meeting, your application must be received no later than November 20th.

If you are a Sioux Valley Energy customer and participate in Operation Round Up, thank you for your generosity. Participation in Operation Round Up is voluntary, but as one Sioux Valley Energy customer explains, the impact is worth every penny.

If you are a customer who currently is not participating in the program but would like to join, just indicate on your next billing that you would like to participate in Operation Round Up, sign up online or call 1-800-234-1960. You too can help make a difference.

Board of Directors

Greg BendaLakeChair
Joyce DeClerkMoodyVice-chair
Ann VostadBrookingsSecretary
Jeff ThompsonMinnehaha
Jennifer StrattonRock
Alvina HarveyAt-large
Connie HillardPipestone

Can I FAX an application?

Yes, you can FAX an application to 605-256-1693.

Do I have to participate in Operation Round Up?

The Operation Round Up program is voluntary. Each new customer is automatically signed up to participate, but any customer who wishes not to participate may notify us in one of the three ways.

  1. Respond by using our web site: www.siouxvalleyenergy.com
  2. Call our office at 1-800-234-1960, or
  3. Sign and return a form in their "new member" packet

How many cooperatives participate in Operation Round Up?

There are currently over 150 cooperatives across the country participating in this program including 21 in Minnesota and two in South Dakota.

How much can a person receive from the Operation Round Up Program?

Individuals are eligible to receive up to $2,500/year and groups, organizations, or charities are eligible to receive up to $10,000 annually.

How much will Operation Round Up cost a customer?

The average customer will contribute $6.00/year; the most they can contribute is $11.88/year. These dollars are tax deductible. The total amount you have contributed during the year will be reflected on your December electric bill.

How was the decision made for Sioux Valley Energy to participate in Operation Round Up?

The information was first presented to the Member Advisory Committee for their reaction before it was presented to the Sioux Valley Energy Board of Directors. Focus groups discussed the proposal and recommendations were made for implementation of the program. The Sioux Valley Energy Board of Directors voted to accept the recommendations and proceeded with the program.

What is Operation Round Up?

Operation Round Up gathers voluntary contributions from participating cooperative customers by "rounding up" their monthly bills to the next dollar resulting in an average donation of roughly $6 per year, which is distributed to worthy local causes. Small change indeed. But multiplied by our 25,000 customers, it is "small change that changes lives." Every donation is made to applicants right in our own local area, and nearly all of the contributions go to the needy, not to the administrative costs of running the program. What is most rewarding about the concept of Operation Round Up is that it is an extension of the concept of neighbor helping neighbor that built our electric cooperative.

When are applications due at the Sioux Valley Energy office?

All applications received by the 20th of the month preceding a Board meeting will be considered at the next Board meeting. For example, an application received at the Sioux Valley Energy office by February 20th will be reviewed for funding at the March Board meeting.

Completed applications should be mailed to:

Sioux Valley Energy Customers' Trust
PO Box 216
Colman, SD 57017

When are projects eligible for funding?

Whenever possible, requests for funding should be for projects that will be completed within 12-months following the grant application. Requests for funding for projects that have already been completed will be given less priority.

Where are the funds kept?

The Operation Round Up funds are kept in a trust fund and are dispersed as directed by the Operation Round Up board.

Who can apply for Operation Round Up funds?

Individuals and non-profit organizations within the Sioux Valley Energy service area may apply.

Who controls the funds that Operation Round Up generates?

The Operation Round Up is a separate entity with its own board consisting of leaders within the community. The Sioux Valley Energy Board of Directors appoints one director from each of the following counties: Minnehaha, Moody, Lake, Brookings, Rock, Pipestone and the at-large director.

Who will benefit from the Operation Round Up program?

The Operation Round Up program is intended to benefit people and organizations within the Sioux Valley Energy service area. Operation Round Up funds may be used for community service projects, economic development, education and youth programs, environmental projects, emergency energy assistance and disaster relief.

Can I opt out of Operation Round Up?

Yes, just contact us at 1-800-234-1960 and et us know you would like to opt out of the program.

  1. Policy and Purpose: The Sioux Valley Energy Customers' Trust will be funded by Operation Round Up voluntary contributions from members of Sioux Valley Energy, employee contributions, and from other sources of funds available to the Trust. Operation Round Up contributions will be used primarily in the local area served by the Cooperative for charitable and educational purposes, including emergency energy assistance.

  2. Major Funding Categories: Although there are many worthy charitable and educational projects and community needs in our local area, the limited availability of funds requires us to establish funding priority categories as follows, with annual budget allocation ranges for each category:
    1. Community Service (20% to 40%)
      • Programs, projects, and organizations that are important components of a community's overall quality of life, with emphasis on public safety, health care, self-sufficiency, and basic human needs.
      • Programs and projects that enhance the cultural environment of communities in our local area.
    2. Economic Development (10% to 30%)
      • Programs and projects designed to promote greater economic stability by helping to expand and diversify local economies, with emphasis on business retention and expansion, new business development and tourism.
      • Programs and projects that encourage cooperation among regional and community economic development organizations.
      • Community leadership programs designed to improve problem-solving skills and empower people to become self-reliant in identifying solutions to local economic and social problems.
    3. Education and Youth (10% to 30%)
      • School scholarships and other programs and projects with an emphasis on math and science education and cooperative educational programs.
      • Programs that are designed to combat critical social problems affecting our children and youth, with an emphasis on children and teens at risk.
      • Programs and projects that promote wellness and encourage youth participation in athletics and physical fitness activities.
    4. Environment (5% to 15%)
      • Programs and projects that promote community recycling and natural resource preservation.
      • Community-based environmental quality education programs.
      • Environmentally sensitive agricultural research programs and projects.
    5. Emergency Energy Assistance (5% to 15%)
      • Community Action Programs, Heatshare and other local and statewide fuel funds established by an energy provider, the States of South Dakota and Minnesota or any other entity that collects and distributes money for low-income emergency energy assistance and meets the minimum criteria, including income eligibility criteria, for receiving money from the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Program's Incentive Fund for Leveraging Non-Federal Resources.
      • Funds distributed under this funding category shall comply with Minnesota Statutes Section 268.371, and South Dakota Statutes Section 1-36-20.
    6. Disaster Relief (5% to 15%): Programs and projects to provide disaster relief for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, clean-up and repairs and reconstruction in an emergency following an accident, a severe storm or other causes.
  3. Geographic Focus: Contributions will be focused geographically within the area served by the Cooperative and adjacent areas. Organizations which provide programs and benefits to people who live in this geographic area are eligible for funding consideration, even though the organization is located elsewhere.

  4. Funding Restrictions
    1. Contributions will generally be made only to non-profit organizations that have been granted tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(C) (3).
    2. Contributions will generally not be made for:
      • Lobbying, political and religious organizations
      • Veteran, fraternal, and labor organizations
      • Fund-raising dinners, raffles, and other events
      • Individuals (except school scholarships and disaster relief)
      • Capital fund campaigns
      • National fund drives
      • Advertising
  5. Evaluation Factors
    1. The following factors will be considered in the evaluation of all funding requests:
      • Potential benefit to area residents and the entire community
      • Level of community support for the program or project or the organization requesting the funds
      • Fiscal and administrative capability of the organization to deliver a quality service or program
      • Results that are predictable and can be evaluated.
    2. It shall be the responsibility of all Trust Directors to evaluate funding requests and allocate contributions to accomplish the purpose and intent of this policy and these guidelines.
  6. Project Timing
    1. Whenever possible, requests for funding should be for projects that will be completed within 12 months following the grant application. Requests for funding for projects that have already been completed will be given less priority.

Fill Out Application Form

After completing the application (found in the link below), attach the supporting documentation and mail to:

Sioux Valley Energy
PO Box 216
Colman, South Dakota 57017

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