A Gift to the Unenergized World

Adams Electric Cooperative Line Foreman Pat Boylen high-fives an appreciative Dominican mother during a 2007 volunteer trip.

There’s an irresistible photo on NRECA.coop of a Dominican mother high-fiving a co-op lineman while her children look on. Now, cooperative lender CoBank has helped guarantee many more such joyful occasions by donating $250,000 to the NRECA International Foundation, the largest single corporate gift in the foundation’s history.

The donation “will help accelerate the pace of electrification around the globe, where more than 1 billion people are without access to electricity,” said NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson in February at the  NRECA Annual Meeting in Orlando.

Added CoBank CEO Robert Engel: “Electrification is one of the most critical steps on the path to sustainable economic growth for emerging economies, and it is a privilege to partner with NRECA International in this important work.”

Also speaking at the annual International Luncheon was foundation executive director Marc Breslaw, who added: “Each one of you here today can play a part in our dream. It begins with power but results in education, improved health, economic opportunity, and safety for women and children in rural areas throughout the world.”

NRECA International’s work has taken it to 42 countries over the last 50 years, including Bangladesh,  Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. It has pioneered low-cost line design and construction, developed generation resources, including renewables, and instituted training programs for all aspects of utility operations.

CoBank provides loans and other financial services to agribusinesses and to rural power, water, and  communications providers in all 50 states.

This story was originally published in RE Magazine.