Salvation Army pursues energy efficiency with help of grant

From left, Katherine Mead and pastor Steve Leppert receive a check from Cordova Electric Cooperative chair Joe Cook. (Nov. 18, 2021) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Cordova Electric Cooperative and CoBank have awarded $5,000 in grant funding both to the Salvation Army and to the Close Up Foundation. The grants were awarded at the CEC board’s Oct. 10 meeting, with checks changing hands during a Thursday, Nov. 18 ceremony at CEC’s offices.

The Salvation Army applied for grant funding to help fund the installation of energy-efficient heating and water systems at its First Street facility, a project with an estimated total cost of $23,916.

“Community-based support is crucial to The Salvation Army’s ongoing service and ministry in Cordova, so we are truly grateful to Cordova Electric Cooperative and CoBank for their generous donation,” said Jenni Ragland, service extension and emergency disaster services director for the Salvation Army’s Alaska division.

Previously, grant funding was used to purchase a commercial freezer for the facility, which has allowed the facility to receive items like frozen meat.

“The Salvation Army is an essential organization for Cordova, stretching every dollar that comes their way in assisting those most in need,” said Clay Koplin, CEO of CEC and mayor of Cordova. “The CEC Board of Directors recognizes and appreciates the Salvation Army’s contribution to the community and only regret that there weren’t more resources available to provide even more assistance to their efforts to upgrade their facility to support their work.”

The Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit civic education organization, also received funding to offset program fees for Cordova students.

CEC and CoBank’s assistance will allow students to visit Washington, D.C. and learn about the legislative process firsthand — an excursion that offers a tremendous opportunity but is expensive, costing about $3,000 per student, said Debra Adams, Close Up coordinator for the Cordova School District.

“[Students] spend a week interacting with other students from across the country, exploring historic monuments, and meeting with their legislators,” Adams said. “The most valuable part however, is that they come away with a better understanding of their civic role in the community.”

The foundation’s Washington, D.C. trip for Cordova students was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adams said.

The Salvation Army and the Close Up Foundation were selected for funding by the CEC board from among a group of five applicants.

CEC and CoBank have participated in an annual grant program since 2014, distributing about $100,000 to local organizations, according to HR executive assistant and HR Coordinator Leif Stavig. In 2020, CEC and CoBank donated $20,000 to the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department to purchase 13 custom-made protective suits.