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Cooperative Foundation Donates Over $600K in Gifts This Year
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 12/04/2012

The educational arm of Cooperative Network has closed out a record year in 2012, setting milestones for total assets, contributions from member cooperatives, and gifts awarded. During the recent Federated Youth Foundation annual meeting held in conjunction with Cooperative Network's conference in La Crosse, the group announced that total assets exceeded $2 million for the first time and contributions from member cooperatives reached $661,099--an increase of almost 10 percent over the prior year's giving.

Leaders of the FYF says that the generosity resulted in the disbursement of 541 scholarships and 133 charitable contributions totaling $601,072. That breaks the previous record set back in 2008 by almost $40,000.

Among FYF-sponsored educational efforts was a successful 5th-grade cooperative education curriculum launched last year in the Medford School District. This garnered a 2012 National Community Service Award for Taylor Electric Cooperative from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The two-day curriculum--for use by substitute teachers paid and trained by the sponsoring co-ops--culminates with a hands-on exercise in which students working in small groups create 30-second radio announcements about cooperatives for broadcast by local radio stations.

FYF president and Taylor Electric board chairman Brian Kulas, a retired educator who conceived the program and steered its development, said it has expanded this year to include more schools in Taylor Electric's service area. He added that other area cooperatives have joined the six that originally sponsored the program.

Kulas noted that Bayfield Electric has led a group of Bayfield-area cooperatives establishing a similar program in the Mellen School District, with plans to expand into the Ashland School District. In addition, Kulas has met with a number of co-ops interested in starting their own programs and has offered to visit other co-op boards and provide guidance as needed.

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