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People Fund has outstanding year, issues $82,000 in grants during 2014

The Lorain-Medina Rural Electric People Fund celebrated its 16th year in 2014. Since its inception in 1999, the fund has awarded $1,212,414 in grants. Recipients include churches, emergency responders and schools throughout the cooperative service area as well as individuals served by LMRE.

In 2014, the People Fund Board of Trustees issued 34 grants totaling $82,511.

Approximately one-third of the grants awarded in 2014 were issued to community organizations, including Lodi Community Church for its Back to School fair, Lorain County Junior Fair for lighting in the agricultural building, and the Lorain County Free Clinic for its prescription program.

The largest grant awarded in 2014 went to Herrick Memorial Library in Welllington to purchase materials for its annual summer reading program. "We host the reading program to keep children up on reading literacy while they are out of school for the summer," said Library Director Janet Hollingsworth after receiving the grant in January. "Students literacy is important not only in reading and writing but also in math and science."

First responders and emergency personnel also received numerous grants throughout the year. Spencer Fire Department received a $2,380 grant to purchase helmets and Wellington Fire District received $5,442 for the purchase of a radio tower repeater. Other departments received equipment like vehicle video systems, cardiac monitor and air packs.

The People Fund also awarded seven personal grants and five emergency grants in 2014. Personal grants went to members for a variety of reasons, including clothing, medical expenses, handicap accessibility and funeral expenses.

A nine-member board of trustees appointed by the cooperative's board of trustees reached and decides upon each grant request. Grants for individuals in need are capped at $3,000 per year, while organizational grants are limited to $10,000 per year.

"The LMRE People Fund was founded on the cooperative's strong sense of community throughout the membership, and one of the cooperative's guiding principles is 'Concern for Community,'" said People Fund Administrator Karen Farago.

"The cooperative and the People Fund board want members and community organizations to know we are here to assist them in their time of need."

How does someone apply for a grant?

An application must be requested from the LMRE People Fund's administrative assistant. The application must be completed and returned prior to the quarterly deadline. The application can be time-consuming, and it is recommended that applicants make their requests at least two weeks prior to the deadline.

Once the application has been received at the cooperative's office, a People Fund board member will contact the grant applicant and discuss the need for the request. The People Fund board member will then report to the full board at its quarterly meeting, and a decision will be made by the full board.

When are grants distributed?

Grants are reviewed and issued quarterly in January, April, July and October. The deadline for a grant application is the last day of the month in March, June, September and December. Applications can be obtained by calling the LMRE office.

Why is the People Fund important?

The People Fund program is successful because every penny is spent an enhancing the quality of life for residents from the LMRE service area. It's neighbors helping neighbors with spare change.

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