Basin Electric is an electric co-op that is committed to serving its communities.

A not-for-profit company, it operates on seven cooperative principles, one of which is a concern for community, which means it is always looking for ways to give back.

Woven into the culture

Giving back is woven into Basin Electric’s culture. Basin’s Backyard Garden, a community garden located at its Headquarters building in Bismarck, North Dakota, is maintained by its employees. All the produce it yields is donated to local food pantries and other charities as a way to help others.

Basin Electric employees also commit to volunteering in the community. They take part in projects from large home and charity renovation projects to packing food for children and senior citizens to helping out at the local soup kitchen twice every month. It all goes back to its commitment to the communities it serves.

Basin Electric also frequently raises funds for organizations such as United Way and other charities its employees are passionate about. Every Friday, employees at Headquarters pay to wear jeans, and the proceeds go to various charities chosen by the employees. This summer through its Casual for a Cause program, employees donated a total of $23,000 to be able to wear jeans for the summer months. Proceeds benefited two hunger-related charities. Overall, Basin Electric donates about $1.7 million per year to local charities.

From the ground up

Basin Electric was also instrumental in the creation of the now independent charity Brave the Shave, which began when a handful of employees shaved their heads to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer research. Today, the event has grown exponentially, and events are held across three states. Money is raised to support not only pediatric cancer research but also area families who are dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis.

Giving Hearts Day – A day for all passions

Basin Electric paired with Giving Hearts Day in 2018 for the first time after an employee shared news of the event with management. Seeing that Giving Hearts Day fit Basin Electric’s community-focused culture, it began helping spread awareness about Giving Hearts Day across the region.

Jennifer Holen, Charitable Giving Coordinator at Basin Electric, said she loves that “people can be passionate about anything and find a way to support that cause through Giving Hearts Day.”

The “wraparound” approach

On Giving Hearts Day, the Basin Electric team wore Giving Hearts Day gear and employees could also wear jeans if they donated to a participating charity. The Basin Electric Headquarters building was also lit up with red lights. Information about Giving Hearts Day was posted both on its corporate and several employees’ individual social media accounts to promote the event, raise awareness, and inspire individuals to become Giving Hearts by making donations. A tip jar was also placed in its coffee shop as another way to collect donations.

Basin Electric even helped some charities with their Giving Hearts Day eligibility prior to the event by donating $4,000 to each charity.

Jennifer calls this approach to Giving Hearts Day a “wraparound” approach, doing a little of everything from support to promotion.

Purpose to impact

Basin Electric is looking forward to Giving Hearts Day 2019. They hope to make the day bigger and better for its team members and the community, because “the Giving Hearts Day philosophy fits with our philosophy,” Jennifer said.

Giving Hearts Day will provide Basin Electric team members another opportunity to learn about the goal of Giving Hearts Day and their ability to make a big impact in one day.

Stay tuned for another business story next week, and remember to live with purpose!

Together, we can become the most generous region on the planet.


Derek Hatzenbuhler

Author Derek Hatzenbuhler

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