North Fork of the Blackfoot River

CHANGE-ing Lives Since 1989

Posted: March 1, 2021
Mark Hayden
Mark Hayden, GM

The Operation Round Up® (ORU) program was developed by Palmetto Electric Cooperative, of South Carolina, in 1989. The goal of the program, was to round-up their members’ electric bills, to the nearest dollar, and use the collective funds to benefit groups, events and organizations, that have a positive impact on cooperative members and their communities. Over the past three decades, more than 260 electric cooperatives, nationwide, have adopted the program and raised more than $50 million for their communities. These funds have helped thousands of non-profits, emergency response agencies and volunteer, educational, civic and community-based organizations.

There are seven cooperative principles that are the backbone to our daily operations. One of these core principles is Concern for Community, which is why MEC’s Board of Trustees voted to instate the Operation Round Up® charitable-giving program in 2021. For less than $1 a month, MEC members will have the power to change lives within their communities and beyond! By simply rounding their monthly bill to the nearest dollar, members can make a significant group impact. Every penny that is donated, will be pooled together, to be re-invested back into the community, to support hundreds of local non-profits, agencies and organizations. On average, participating members can expect to donate $6 per year, and at most, $11.88 per year.

To impact the greatest number of people, communities and organizations, and in an effort to give the Operation Round Up® program the best possible head start, MEC will automatically opt all members into the program on June 1, 2021. To be respectful of member finances, and those who don’t wish to participate, we are launching a three-month marketing campaign for members who would prefer to opt out, before the program begins. This campaign will offer members the opportunity to opt out in person, by email, over the phone or via mail. Operation Round Up® is 100% voluntary and MEC fully supports a members’ decision not to participate. Upon request, the Cooperative will offer a full refund to any member whose bill was rounded-up without their prior knowledge, or understanding of, the program.

Monthly billing statements will indicate the amount donated to Operation Round Up®, to-date. At the end of the year, members will see a total donation amount, as contributions are tax deductible. Members may contribute additional funds to the program, at any time, through their member portal, by calling our office at 406.541.4433 or emailing

The Operation Round Up® program will be run by a volunteer Board, comprised of up to seven MEC members. This Board will run independently of MEC’s member-elected Board of Trustees. Each month, donations will be placed into an Operation Round Up® trust fund. Quarterly, the ORU Board will meet to review and score applications, to determine which organizations, events and causes would benefit from these funds the most. Funds will be awarded to the selected recipients shortly after the quarterly ORU Board Meeting.

It may be “pocket change,” to many, but when you multiply small monthly donations by thousands of MEC members, it adds up in a BIG way. With your donations, we can impact thousands of lives, organizations and communities across Montana and Idaho. You have the power to CHANGE lives… please consider joining in our efforts.