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Sawnee EMC foundation tops $1M mark
Customers praised for round-up effort
Sawnee EMC board member Lamar Sexton talks about his experience working with the corporation, which recently marked a milestone in philanthropy. - photo by Autumn McBride


Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation's charitable foundation has crossed what officials hailed as a major milestone.

During an awards presentation Friday to area charitable organizations, the Sawnee foundation surpassed the $1 million threshold in donations.

"We're very, very proud of this occasion," said Blake House, vice president of member services. "In 2003, we adopted the Operation Round Up program and today we've crossed the $1 million mark."

Through the program, Sawnee EMC customers can volunteer to have their monthly power bills rounded up to the nearest whole dollar amount.

The difference then goes to the foundation, which uses the money to provide donations to nonprofit organizations, as well as Bright Ideas grants to educators and scholarships to graduating seniors.

"People [donate to Operation Round Up] on their own free will, which makes this $1 million mark so impressive," added Michael Goodroe, Sawnee president and chief executive officer.

"We're glad to put this money to good use in our service area counties."

In 2010, Sawnee EMC customers gave more than $114,000 to the program, which when combined with funding from an earlier period allowed the foundation to give more than $180,000 to charities, teachers and students.

Among Friday's recipients was Kelly Price of the Forsyth County school system. She received a Bright Ideas grant for nearly $1,500 to fund science olympiad programs for several schools.

She said assistance from groups such as Sawnee EMC is "vital" for school programs.

Betsy Connell of Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia accepted a check for $2,000, which she said will be used to buy a new ice machine at Camp Lanier.

The site, which is off Pilgrim Mill Road, holds various day and weekend camps during the summer.

The final Forsyth County grant recipient Friday was Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.

Director Janet Walden said the donation of nearly $5,000 will be used to update technology used by the organization, which provides court advocates for children involved in abuse and neglect cases.

Seven other groups from neighboring counties also received grants Friday.