Walton EMC grants make giant impact on local schools

Almost $370,000 distributed this year

Walton EMC employees Kathy Joiner (fourth from left), Kathy Ivie (center), and Marsha Shumate (third from right) present teachers, students and Monroe Elementary School Principal Zeester Swint a $10,000 School EmPOWERment Grant. The funds will allow the school to purchase new picture books and non-fiction books to boost literacy and reading skills among students. The new books will enhance Monroe Elementary’s teaching materials and help foster students’ love of reading. Contributed photo

MONROE, Ga. – It’s no secret that teachers – who often spend their own money in the classroom – could use more funds to help students learn and succeed.

Since 2016, Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) has pitched in to help local educators accomplish their learning goals through its School EmPOWERment Grant program. The cooperative just completed the 2023-24 round of grant distributions across its 10-county service area.

59 public and private schools received 70 grants totaling almost $370,000 for programs spanning technology to literacy to fine arts and more. Grants ranged from $264 to $20,300 with the average being $5,243. “Many of these grants touch every student in the school that receives them,” said Walton EMC CEO Ron Marshall.

Dove Creek Middle Agriculture Teacher Brandon Walker received a $20,300 grant to build an animal science instructional facility. “This new facility will enhance our animal science pathway,” said Walker. “Students are always looking for hands-on opportunities. This will provide them with a great experience, including animal science labs. We rely on financial aid from businesses like Walton EMC.”

The grant money giveaway – almost $2.7 million since the program began eight years ago – doesn’t affect customer-owners’ power bills. That’s because the funds come from unclaimed refunds due to former customers whom the co-op can’t find.

After Walton EMC publishes lists of these customers in their newsletter and on their website, places newspaper legal ads and exhausts all attempts to find the owners, Georgia law allows the money to be used for community benefit.

“Our first priority as an electric co-op is providing safe, dependable and affordable electric power,” said Marshall. “Serving our community runs a close second. Our School EmPOWERment Grant program is a perfect example of how we bring community service to life.”

2023-24 Walton EMC School EmPOWERment Grants Fast Facts
Total distribution: $367,044
Average grant: $5,243
Number of grants: 70
Schools receiving grants: 59
Total since beginning of program: $2,668,720
Source of money: unclaimed refunds

This year’s 26 grants to 20 schools in Walton County totaling $109,680 are:

•Atha Road Elementary School – $3,300, Kristina Jones, Nearpod Flocabulary Program
•Carver Middle School – $5,000, Courtney Lowe, Non-Fiction Books
•George Walton Academy – $2,500, Denise Schnieders, Can’t Escape Learning
•Harmony Elementary School – $814, Meredith Estes, Book Clubs
•Harmony Elementary School – $264, Heather Fischer, GrammarFlip
•Loganville Christian Academy – $8,750, Barney Johnson, Physics Laboratory
•Loganville Elementary School – $620, Joy Vivian, Melanie Bartram, Jennifer Mask, Playground Sign
•Loganville High School – $5,000, Shelley Shelnutt, Playground Equipment
•Loganville Middle School – $4,500, Elizabeth Hamilton, PBIS Program
•Monroe Area High School – $3,500, Jamie Nichols, Jami Cash, Canes Adulting Day
•Monroe Area High School – $9,005, Matthew Ehlers, Welder Replacement
•Monroe Area High School – $5,000, Blake McCullers, PA System for Athletic Fields
•Monroe Elementary School – $10,000 ,Zeester Swint, Picture and Non-Fiction Books
•Sharon Elementary School – $4,000, Casey Kozozemski, PBIS Banner Updates
•Social Circle High School – $8,014, Ashley Wilson, Outdoor Learning Area
•Social Circle Middle School – $2,500, Molly Tyree, A Renewing of Resources
•Social Circle Primary School – $5,000, Kimberly Russell, Storybook Stars
•Victory Baptist School – $5,250, Cory Lawrence, Classroom Projectors
•Victory Baptist School – $5,250, Cory Lawrence, Munner Media Center
•Walker Park Elementary School – $2,500, Karen Mitchell, EmPOWERing Entrepreneurs
•Walker Park Elementary School – $2,000, Whitney Cornman, Science Matters
•Walnut Grove Elementary School – $3,000, Libby Haulk, Vending Machine Books
•Walnut Grove Elementary School – $2,000, Virginia Hughes, Ozobots to the Rescue
•Walnut Grove High School – $3,913, Kaitlin Merck, Flutes and Clarinets
•Youth Elementary School – $4,000, Jarrod Tyler, Musical Chromebooks
•Youth Middle School – $4,000, Carla Peck, PBIS Rewarding Positive Behavior

Walton EMC is an innovative, customer-owned and -focused electric utility serving accounts in 10 Northeast Georgia counties between Atlanta and Athens. In its long history of meeting customer-owners’ needs, the cooperative established successful natural gas and security subsidiaries as well as nationally recognized residential and commercial solar initiatives. For more information, visit waltonemc.com.

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