Diverse Power receives elite education award

Published 7:23 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Georgia Retired Educators Association (GREA) recently presented its Education Contributor Award to Georgia’s 41 electric membership corporations (EMCs), including Diverse Power, signifying GREA’s highest level of recognition for non-educators.

“The award is presented in recognition of and in deep appreciation for all that the electric co-ops have done over decades, individually and collectively, to enhance public education in Georgia,” said John Upchurch, treasurer of GREA. “The EMCs have earned our respect and appreciation.”

Upchurch applauded Georgia’s EMCs for being exceptionally supportive of education for decades and for donating significant sums, in-kind donations, services, volunteer assistance, expertise and advice on issues important to schools, teachers and students at all levels.

The Education Contributor Award is reserved for individuals and organizations that make significant, sustained and specific contributions at the highest levels. It has been presented only three times since GREA was founded 60 years ago.

The previous winners were Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A and the Chick-fil-A Foundation for their scholarship program; former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller and the Miller Institute Foundation in recognition of the HOPE Scholarship; and Robin Ferst, of Ferst Readers, for distributing free books to children in Georgia.

“That’s good company [to be in],” said Diverse Power President/CEO Wayne Livingston.

Throughout its 82-year history, Diverse Power has enhanced local education through its support of 4-H, FFA, school sports, ag-education, STEM initiatives and teen leadership programs such as the annual Washington Youth Tour and Georgia Cooperative Council Youth Leadership Camp. Diverse Power has served schools through Partners in Education and annually provides planners to teachers and pencils to students in schools within its service area.

Since 2002, Diverse Power has partnered with the Georgia High School Association to sponsor high school championship games, and Diverse Power employees have served on school councils, judged science fairs and supported local schools in a variety of ways.

Diverse Power’s impact on education has come through the Diverse Power Foundation, which has provided more than $2.1 million in scholarships and education grants since 2003. More than $1 million has been awarded as scholarships to 355 high school seniors bound for college, junior college or technical school. Simultaneously, more than $1.1 million has been awarded to area schools for innovative instruction and technology needs.

“Electric cooperatives were formed some 80 years ago to address a critical need — access to electricity in rural areas,” Livingston said. “That same concern for community continues today as we keep our eyes and ears open to local needs that go beyond providing power. Support for education is at the top of our list, and we are always looking for ways to help students, schools and teachers. Receiving the Education Contributor Award is a true honor.”