The Watauga County Community Foundation (WCCF) has awarded its 2014 Spirit of Philanthropy Award to the Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation. This award honors "perseverance and commitment to improving local quality of life through efforts directed at creating a better and brighter tomorrow."

Accepting the award at the annual luncheon Nov. 13 was Doug Johnson, CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation. “It is an honor for our Foundation to receive this recognition," he said. "The Foundation has been a successful program that our board, employees and especially our members have supported in many different ways." He added that though relatively young, the Foundation has been able to reach out to help thousands of families in the High Country.

Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation was founded in 2007 to meet the growing needs of those members who were struggling to stay warm in the winter. “Through our Operation Round Up program, more than 20,000 of our members are contributing an average of just fifty cents per month,” Johnson said. “These individual contributions add up to allow us to return every penny to help families in need and to award community grants to other local organizations providing assistance in other ways to those in need.”

According to Ryan Postlethwait, WCCF board president, Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation was selected as this year’s Spirit of Philanthropy recipient based on more than just the amount of monetary assistance they provide in their communities. “Doug Johnson has instilled a service commitment in all of Blue Ridge Electric and its employees,” he said. “The employees and board of directors are very active in their communities — from volunteering their time and talents to many different organizations to serving on local boards and in elected positions.”

The WCCF is an affiliate of the statewide North Carolina Community Foundation (NCCF). WCCF was created in 1993 and has 28 endowment funds with total assets of nearly $3 million.  Over the past 20 years, WCCF’s 28 endowment funds have distributed nearly $975,000 in grants and scholarships supporting local nonprofits and students. In 2014, WCCF distributed nearly $100,000 in grants and scholarships.

For information contact John Francis, NCCF regional associate, at 336-745-1739, or email him.

Blue Ridge Electric is a cooperative utility serving some 74,000 members in Watauga, Caldwell, Ashe and Alleghany counties. The Blue Ridge Electric Members Foundation builds on the cooperative’s commitment to members and local communities and is funded through the Operation Round Up Learn more under the Community tab at

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