2021 Concern for Community Grant Recipients Selected

9 projects ranging from a memory lab to a new rodeo arena will receive a funding boost thanks to more than $36,000 in awards from Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative’s Concern for Community grant program.

“I often say that we’re not in the business of selling electricity, we’re in the business of powering rural lifestyles,” said Mark Scheibe, Heartland CEO. “Part of that is supporting the communities our consumer-members live in and around. This grant program is a great way to do just that.”

The Concern for Community program provides grants of up to $5,000 for capital improvement projects throughout the Heartland service area, which covers parts of 12 counties in eastern Kansas.

Grant recipients for 2021 are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Bourbon County Fair Association will receive $5,000 for a new furnace and roof repairs at the 4-H building in Fort Scott.
  • Castaways Animal Shelter & Sanctuary east of Chanute will receive $200 for equipment to furnish its animal boarding area.
  • The Learning Center, an alternative school program operated by Interlocal 637 and located in Girard, will receive $5,000 for a soft pour playground surface to help complete their playground renovation project.
  • The Learning Tree Institute at Greenbush will receive $4,963 to build a ramp and pathways in the education service center’s simulated rainforest to make the environment and learning stations accessible to people of all abilities.
  • Library District #2 of Linn County will receive $5,000 for a memory lab at the La Cygne library. The memory lab will include equipment for creating digital copies of physical media such as photos, VHS tapes, cassettes, and more.
  • Neosho County Fair Association will receive $5,000 to go toward construction of a new rodeo arena at the Neosho County fairgrounds.
  • Saint Paul Mission Township Fire Department Auxiliary, Inc., will receive $5,000 to purchase handheld radios to complete the fire department’s communications upgrades.
  • Tri-Valley Developmental Services, Inc., will receive $1,300 for an automated external defibrillator at its Chanute service center.
  • Wesley United Methodist Church Iola will receive $5,000 to go toward construction of transitional housing for Allen County residents in need.

As a non-profit, member-owned cooperative, Heartland issues capital credits to members each year, but sometimes those capital credits go unclaimed. Because those monies were intended to be returned to the communities from which they came, Heartland's Board of Directors decided to use those unclaimed funds for community grants and started the Concern for Community program in 2019.

Applications were accepted from September 1 through 30. Applications were reviewed and approved by the Heartland board in October, and funds will be disbursed in early November.

About Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. powers rural lifestyles throughout more than 11,000 locations in southeast and eastern Kansas. Heartland’s service area includes consumer-members in 12 counties, including Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Labette, Linn, Miami, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties.

Heartland REC traces its roots back to three original rural electric cooperatives: Cooperative Electric Power & Light Company, Sugar Valley Electric Cooperative Association, and Sekan Electric Cooperative Association. Cooperative Electric Power & Light Company joined with Sugar Valley in 1975 to form United Electric Cooperative; United Electric Cooperative joined with Sekan Electric Cooperative Association in 1996 to form Heartland.