There are two definitions of the word cooperative and we love both! The noun means a farm, business or other organization that is owned and run jointly by its members who share the profits or benefits. The adjective means involving mutual assistance in working toward a common goal. We believe both accurately describe what our cooperative is all about! In fact, our vision statement describes our commitment to the meaning of a cooperative: Wheatland Electric Cooperative will continue to improve the quality of life of our members and the communities we serve by providing services that are safe, reliable and competitively priced.
Cooperative members receive several benefits from membership. The first being capital credits earned by every member and based on the amount of electrical use. Our board of directors evaluates the financial condition of our co-op at the end of the year to determine if we can retire capital credits, the funds (margins) remaining after expenses are paid. These margins are allocated back to our members. Capital credits are also used to invest in infrastructure to ensure we are providing you with the safest, most reliable and cost-effective electricity.
Another benefit for residential members is the opportunity to apply for our HVAC Rebate Program. If you are considering replacing your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, look into this program first to learn about the rebates you could qualify for. Don't miss out on this opportunity to be rewarded for an energy-efficient purchase! Details can be found at weci.net/hvac-rebates.
Each year, Wheatland Electric sends up to four students on all-expense-paid trips to Washinton D.C. or Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to participate in Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp and the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. High school juniors, whose primary residence is in Wheatland Electric's service territory, are nominated by their high school guidance counselor. They then write an essay, take a test and are interviewed by a three-judge panel. Wheatland strongly believes in educating our next generation and helping them further hone leadership skills and these tours are an excellent way to further that goal.
Wheatland Electric works with many other organizations to accomplish common goals. This year as a member of both the Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc., and Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, we broke ground in partnership with other organizations on the 20-MW Johnson Corner Solar Project in Johnson City, which will be the largest solar facility in the state upon completion in 2020. This new facility will power more than 4,900 homes across central and western Kansas and provide another diverse fuel-generation source.
This month, we will be visiting numerous communities for our sixth annual Cram the Van food drive, allowing us to re-stock food banks before the holidays in the many communities we serve. Over the past five years, we have collected more than 32 tons (64,773 pounds) of food donations thank to you, our members! We couldn't have this much success without your generosity, and we are grateful for your help in making Cram the Van such a huge success and for helping so many.
In 2019, though our Sharing Success Program, we presented $11,000 in grants to non-profits in the communities we serve. This year's recipients were the Caldwell Opera House, Agora Inc. in Wichita County, Quilts of Valor in Syracuse, the Circles program in Great Bend, Scott City Elementary School, Real Men Real Leaders in Garden City, the Harper Art Association, the Barton County Fair Association, Wichita County Community Foundation, the Scott City Takedown Club, and the Child Abuse Prevention Education organization in Great Bend. In total, Wheatland Electric, in partnership with Co-Bank, has given back nearly $85,000 to the communities we serve through our Sharing Success Program.
On Sept 13, Wheatland Electric partnered with Victory Electric Cooperative to host the Co-ops Care Charity Golf Tournament in Garden City. All proceeds from this event benefited Wheatland Electric's Cram the Van efforts and Friends of Wright Park Zoo in Dodge City. thirty teams raised money for these two worthy causes.
This year, we hosted two Co-ops Vote events in our offices - one in April in Harper and another event in Garden City in late July. Co-ops Vote is a program in which Wheatland collaborates with Kansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. to host. The mission is to inform both our members and electoral candidates about issues important to America's electric o-ops and the communities they serve. Issues Wheatland Electric educates and informs about range from the continued need for affordable and reiable electricity to broadband access and other rural economic development issues.
Wheatland Electric takes great pride in our efforts and our hope is that your, as a member of our cooperative, also take pride in the many activities and organizations our co-op supports. As always, if you have questions about our co-op or the programs described above, please reach out to your local office and ask to speak with a member services team member. We are here for you!