Concern for Community: A Defining Principle for Co-ops // October 2022 CEO Column

Daniel Carlisle // President/CEO & General Counsel

Celebrated nationwide during the month of October, National Co-op Month is an annual opportunity to look at the many aspects that make cooperatives unique.

Cooperatives are motivated by people and their needs, not by profit. The seven cooperative principles guide electric cooperatives to operate differently from other utilities, putting the needs of their members first. We base the way we conduct business on these seven cooperative principles:

  • Voluntary and Open Membership
  • Democratic Member Control
  • Members’ Economic Participation
  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Education, Training, and Information
  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives
  • Concern for Community

I would like to highlight the last principle, Concern for Community. As a cooperative, we are committed to improving the quality of life for our members and investing in the local communities we serve. Here are a few ways that TWEC is actively applying this principle locally.

Operation Round Up: Since 2002, members have raised and donated over $590,000 for more than 730 local community service projects.

Economic Development Loans: TWEC manages a USDA rural development loan fund that has provided loans to new and growing businesses in our area. 

Scholarships: Dozens of local students have benefitted from scholarships funded by unclaimed TWEC capital credits. 

Safety Presentations: Cooperative employees visit area elementary schools with an interactive simulator display and teach kids how to stay safe around electricity. 

Community Groups: Our TWEC employees and directors are active participants on local committees and boards to promote economic development in our area.

Local Investment:Local electric cooperatives are, in many cases, some of the most important economic drivers in a rural community. As a rural electric co-op, we utilize local vendors and service providers whenever possible.

Area Celebrations: TWEC sponsors local community celebrations and parades each year.  

Here at Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative, we are genuinely concerned about and invested in our local communities. Please know that we work hard every day to support and grow the communities we serve!