West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) is celebrating National Cooperative Month, along with 40,000 other cooperative businesses serving more than 120 million people nationwide. “Cooperatives Commit” is the theme of this year’s celebration, when cooperatives across the nation engage in efforts to make more people aware of the advantages of the cooperative business model.
As member-owned and member-controlled businesses, cooperatives commit to meeting the needs of their members and communities, rather than generating returns for distant investors.
“This year’s theme is right on target, because co-ops commit in so many ways to meeting the needs of their members and building stronger communities,” says Terry Mullen, Manager of Marketing & Communications.
Cooperatives Commit to Community
The seventh cooperative principle is Concern for Community. Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through employee involvement in local organizations, charitable contributions to community efforts and support for schools. The cooperative’s Youth Tour & Scholarship program is one of the many examples of this principle. Each year, high school juniors whose parents or guardians are members of the cooperative have the opportunity to visit Tallahassee for the Youth Tour program. These students go on to compete for two all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C. and four
scholarships to Chipola College. The purpose of the program is to get students out of the classroom
and familiarize them with the utility that brings electricity to their lives. Students also get a first-hand look
at the activities of state and federal governments. 61301001
Another way your cooperative has demonstrated its commitment to the communities it serves is by providing educational opportunities for local teachers through scholarships to the Empower Education Workshop. This hands-on energy exploration workshop was co-hosted by WFEC and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative to equip educators to present a balanced approach to electric generation and distribution with fun, up-to-date resources and curriculum. The conference also provided attendees an opportunity to network with other teachers, sharing ideas and building lifelong connections. The workshop’s curriculum was developed by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project whose mission is to equip today’s teachers, students and future leaders with knowledge and work skills, train teachers to teach energy from a balanced perspective and promote an energy conscious and educated society by creating networks of educators, students, business, government and community leaders.
Cooperatives Commit to Jobs
Cooperatives generate jobs in their communities, keep profits local and pay local taxes to help support
community services. Cooperatives often take part in community improvement programs, ensuring
that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience.
Cooperatives Commit to Trust
Most co-ops strive to adhere to seven key cooperative principles, which combine to help build trust
between the co-op, its members and the community. For example, the first principle is Voluntary and Open
Membership, which means that we are a voluntary organization open to all people to use our services and
willing to accept the responsibility of membership. The second principle, Democratic Member Control, gives
members a voice in the cooperative’s policies and decisions. 24506002
“Our cooperative delivers electricity to 28,000 meters in our four-county service area of Northwest Florida,” says Russell Dunaway, Executive Vice President & CEO. “Delivering safe, reliable, affordable power is our top priority, but we are also invested in our communities because we are locally owned and operated.
Revenue generated by West Florida Electric goes back to Main Street, not Wall Street.”