Williams’ $25,000 donation to benefit Claverack members
Officials with Williams present Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative representatives with a $25,000 check that the cooperative has used to create the Claverack Member Assistance Endowment Fund. The fund, established through the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains, will be used to provide payment assistance to low-income members struggling to keep up with their electric bills. On hand for the check presentation are, from left: James Luce, chairman of the Claverack board of directors; Matthew D. Shaffer, E&C project manager for Williams; Bobbi Kilmer, Claverack president and chief executive officer; Steve Allabaugh, Claverack director of engineering; Peter Quigg, president of the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains; Michael Atchie, Williams manager of public outreach; and Ty Christy, project developer for Williams.
A $25,000 donation from Williams has enabled Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative to create an endowment fund to assist cooperative members experiencing financial hardships.
The Claverack Member Assistance Endowment Fund, established through the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains, will be utilized to provide financial assistance to members of the cooperative facing difficulties paying their electric bills.
“This very generous donation from Williams will benefit Claverack and its members for many years to come,” said Claverack President & CEO Bobbi Kilmer. “We truly appreciate Williams’ generosity and commitment to the local community.”
Williams’ manager of public outreach, Michael Atchie, said the co-op was selected for the donation in appreciation of the positive working relationship that has developed between the two companies.
Claverack has extended electric lines and upgraded circuits in order to provide power to natural gas compressor stations Williams has constructed throughout the co-op’s service territory in recent years.
“Williams’ culture is to give something back to the communities where we live and work,” Atchie said. “We appreciate this opportunity to do something that will benefit the cooperative and its members. It’s indicative of the good relationship we’ve enjoyed with the organization.”
Kilmer said the co-op decided to utilize the donation from Williams as seed money for the creation of the endowment fund.
Claverack will be adding unclaimed capital credits monies to the fund for a period of years in order to achieve a self-sustaining source of funding. The cooperative would then be able to utilize up to 5 percent of the fund’s value for member assistance grants without the need to touch the fund’s principal.
The CEO added that Claverack doesn’t anticipate the need to tap into the endowment fund for a number of years because the co-op currently has adequate member assistance funding available to members experiencing financial hardships through its HOPE program and Operation Round-up.
Those programs are designed to provide assistance with electric bill payments to qualifying low-income members as well as those who have experienced unexpected financial hardships.
Operation Round-up is funded by cooperative members who voluntarily agree to have their monthly electric bill “rounded-up” to the next dollar amount. The round-up amount, which can be no more than 99 cents per month, is earmarked for member assistance. The HOPE program utilizes unclaimed capital credits refunds to provide financial assistance to qualified low-income members.
The idea behind the Claverack Member Assistance Endowment Fund is to provide for the continuation of member-assistance funding should the co-op experience a reduction in unclaimed capital credits in the future.
“We have an adequate supply of money now for our member assistance initiatives, but that may not be the case down the road,” Kilmer explained. “With the creation of the endowment fund, we are ensuring that we will always have financial assistance available to help qualified members who may be in jeopardy of losing their electric service due to non-payment.”
As with all community foundation endowments, the Claverack Member Assistance Endowment Fund can receive additional tax-deductible contributions from the general public. Contributions can be sent to the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains at 270 Lake Ave., Montrose, Pa., 18801 or made online at www.community-foundation.org.
In addition to its new Member Assistance Endowment, the cooperative also holds the Claverack Education Fund at the Community Foundation. The education fund helps support the Skills USA programs at the Northern Tier Career Center and the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center.
A member-owned, non-profit utility, Claverack serves approximately 18,000 consumers in Bradford, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Tioga, Lycoming, Sullivan, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.
Williams, with headquarters in Tulsa, Okla., is an energy infrastructure company focused on connecting North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays to growing markets for natural gas and natural gas liquids. Williams owns and operates midstream gathering and processing assets, and interstate natural gas pipelines.