Walton EMC Grants Make Giant Impact on Local Schools Almost $370,000 distributed this year

MONROE, Ga. – It’s no secret that teachers – who often spend their own money in the classroom – could use more funds to help students learn and succeed.

Since 2016, Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) has pitched in to help local educators accomplish their learning goals through its School EmPOWERment Grant program. The cooperative just completed the 2023-24 round of grant distributions across its 10-county service area.

59 public and private schools received 70 grants totaling almost $370,000 for programs spanning technology to literacy to fine arts and more. Grants ranged from $264 to $20,300 with the average being $5,243. “Many of these grants touch every student in the school that receives them,” said Walton EMC CEO Ron Marshall.

Dove Creek Middle Agriculture Teacher Brandon Walker received a $20,300 grant to build an animal science instructional facility. “This new facility will enhance our animal science pathway,” said Walker. “Students are always looking for hands-on opportunities. This will provide them with a great experience, including animal science labs. We rely on financial aid from businesses like Walton EMC.”

The grant money giveaway – almost $2.7 million since the program began eight years ago – doesn’t affect customer-owners’ power bills. That’s because the funds come from unclaimed refunds due to former customers whom the co-op can’t find.

After Walton EMC publishes lists of these customers in their newsletter and on their website, places newspaper legal ads and exhausts all attempts to find the
owners, Georgia law allows the money to be used for community benefit.

“Our first priority as an electric co-op is providing safe, dependable and affordable electric power,” said Marshall. “Serving our community runs a close second. Our School EmPOWERment Grant program is a perfect example of how we bring community service to life.”

2023-24 Walton EMC School EmPOWERment Grants Fast Facts

Total distribution: $367,044

Average grant: $5,243

Number of grants: 70

Schools receiving grants: 59

Total since beginning of program: $2,668,720

Source of money: unclaimed refunds

2023-24 Walton EMC School EmPOWERment Grant Photo Gallery


This year’s grants by county are:

Barrow County – $8,278

  • Arts and Innovation Magnet Program – $4,682, Ashley Bailey, Innovation Garden Renovation/Expansion
  • Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy – $3,596, Sherelle Patisaul, Elevate the Experience

Clarke County – $5,130

  • Whit Davis Elementary – $5,130, Lauren Knowlton, Bringing Digital Literacy Access

Gwinnett County – $130,868

  • Bay Creek Middle – $7,248, Betsy Mitchell, Hannaly Bennett, Live, Laugh, Learn
  • Brookwood Elementary – $5,000, Karleen Reynolds, Media Center Shelving
  • Couch Middle – $10,000, Genine Bonbay, Media Center Makeover
  • Five Forks Middle – $3,000, Monica Brown, Spanish Language Books
  • Five Forks Middle – $2,000, Tracy Hudspeth, Bucky Bites
  • Grace Snell Middle – $2,100, Lauren Dauge, Breaking Out of Traditional Learning
  • Grayson Elementary – $9,000, Heather Abner, Media Center Makeover
  • Gwin Oaks Elementary – $7,800, Sabine Stoffle, Fourth Grade SMART Boards
  • Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology – $10,000, Courtney Cox, Immersive Science Research Experience
  • Harbins Elementary – $2,500, Melissa Barth, Dream Big and Achieve Your Le-goals!
  • Head Elementary – $8,641, Shann Griffith, Lights! Camera! Action!
  • Knight Elementary – $8,700, Christine Christopher, Rosi Beckman, Playground Project
  • Lilburn Elementary – $14,367, Maura Goggins, Playground Addition
  • Parkview High – $5,379, Carla Hamilton, Student-Run Embroidery Enterprise
  • Pharr Elementary – $5,000, Sarah Powell, Diversifying and Developing Our Collection
  • Pharr Elementary – $3,080, Rebecca Smith, A New Gameplan for the Music Room
  • Rosebud Elementary – $5,009, Starry Price, Outdoor Learning and Exploration
  • Shiloh High – $5,000, Keila McGuary, Shiloh High School Orchestra
  • Shiloh High – $1,800, Rachel Ciceron, Creating Sustainability
  • Starling Elementary School – $3,477, Mickie Lewis, Kid Producers Use Technology
  • Trickum Middle School – $3,419, Ashley James Whithear, Screen Printing
  • Trickum Middle School – $4,348, Kelsey Blesson, Unequal Heating, Heat Transfer and Density
  • W.J. Cooper Elementary School – $4,000, Geneva Bugg, Tiger Streaks 

Morgan County – $23,800

  • Morgan County Elementary School – $1,700, Katherine Edwards, Little Free Libraries
  • Morgan County High School – $6,100, Briana Stoops, Welding Fume Extraction System
  • Morgan County Middle School – $5,000, Karisa Seymour, Band Instruments
  • Morgan County Middle School – $6,000, Amanda Hartley, Outdoor Agrilab
  • Morgan County Primary School – $5,000, Kimberly Durden, Digital Piano Upgrade

Oconee County – $89,288

  • Athens Academy – $4,491, Julie Boyd, Upper School Science Advancement
  • Colham Ferry Elementary – $6,529, Colby Moremen, Growing Minds, Roots and Life
  • Dove Creek Elementary School – $6,400, Heather Bui, Kelli Radford, Samantha Napierala, Empowering Emergent Readers
  • Dove Creek Middle School – $20,300, Brandon Walker, Animal Science Facility
  • High Shoals Elementary – $7,073, Morgan Carden, K-3 Science of Reading
  • Malcom Bridge Elementary School – $7,500, Britany Boucher, Melody Rice, Julie Payne, The Book Box
  • Malcom Bridge Middle School – $2,011, Jessica Johnston, Art Room Flexible Seating
  • North Oconee High School – $1,500, Kevin Stewart, APE For You and Me
  • Oconee County Elementary School – $5,302, S. Fancher, Media Center Tables and Chairs
  • Oconee County Middle School – $9,390, Casey Radford, Getting Engaged with Reading
  • Oconee County Primary School – $7,529, Paige Bowen, Paulette Moon, Remarkable Behavior Vends a Good Book
  • Rocky Branch Elementary School – $5,000, Charlotte Rice, Erin Smith, Katie McCourtie, Closing Gaps Through Guided Reading

Walton County – $109,680

  • Atha Road Elementary School – $3,300, Kristina Jones, Nearpod Flocabulary Program
  • Carver Middle School – $5,000, Courtney Lowe, Non-Fiction Books
  • George Walton Academy – $2,500, Denise Schnieders, Can’t Escape Learning
  • Harmony Elementary School – $814, Meredith Estes, Book Clubs
  • Harmony Elementary School – $264, Heather Fischer, GrammarFlip
  • Loganville Christian Academy – $8,750, Barney Johnson, Physics Laboratory
  • Loganville Elementary School – $620, Joy Vivian, Melanie Bartram, Jennifer Mask, Playground Sign
  • Loganville High School – $5,000, Shelley Shelnutt, Playground Equipment
  • Loganville Middle School – $4,500, Elizabeth Hamilton, PBIS Program
  • Monroe Area High School – $3,500, Jamie Nichols, Jami Cash, Canes Adulting Day
  • Monroe Area High School – $9,005, Matthew Ehlers, Welder Replacement
  • Monroe Area High School – $5,000, Blake McCullers, PA System for Athletic Fields
  • Monroe Elementary School – $10,000, Zeester Swint, Picture and Non-Fiction Books
  • Sharon Elementary School – $4,000, Casey Kozozemski, PBIS Banner Updates
  • Social Circle High School – $8,014, Ashley Wilson, Outdoor Learning Area
  • Social Circle Middle School – $2,500, Molly Tyree, A Renewing of Resources
  • Social Circle Primary School – $5,000, Kimberly Russell, Storybook Stars
  • Victory Baptist School – $5,250, Cory Lawrence, Classroom Projectors
  • Victory Baptist School – $5,250, Cory Lawrence, Munner Media Center
  • Walker Park Elementary School – $2,500, Karen Mitchell, EmPOWERing Entrepreneurs
  • Walker Park Elementary School – $2,000, Whitney Cornman, Science Matters
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School – $3,000, Libby Haulk, Vending Machine Books
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School – $2,000, Virginia Hughes, Ozobots to the Rescue
  • Walnut Grove High School – $3,913, Kaitlin Merck, Flutes and Clarinets
  • Westminster Christian Academy – $6,263, Tiffany Rasmussen, Steve Crouse, A Journey into the Robotics World!
  • Youth Elementary School – $4,000, Jarrod Tyler, Musical Chromebooks
  • Youth Middle School – $4,000, Carla Peck, PBIS Rewarding Positive Behavior

Walton EMC is an innovative, customer-owned and -focused electric utility serving accounts in 10 Northeast Georgia counties between Atlanta and Athens. In its long history of meeting customer-owners’ needs, the cooperative established successful natural gas and security subsidiaries as well as nationally recognized residential and commercial solar initiatives. For more information, visit waltonemc.com.

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Please visit flickr.com/waltonemc for grant photos from your local schools.

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