Do you have a vision to re-energize your community? Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives wants to help you get that plan off the ground.

The application period is open through Nov. 1 for Touchstone Energy’s first Co-op Community Contest. Three prize packages will be awarded in the form of consulting services with national experts designed to help co-ops develop plans for community and economic growth. Each package includes at least a two-day on-site consultation and up to five consulting conference calls. The value of each prize is $20,000.

“The goal of the contest is to position co-ops as sparkplugs in their communities,” said Scott Bialick, Touchstone Energy’s senior program manager of business development.

For the first award, McClure Engineering Co.’s Zach Mannheimer will work with a co-op on a “creative placemaking” plan by identifying a specific area of the community that needs improvement, outlining a business model and tapping local leadership. Josh Nowell and Jim and Mallorie Rasberry, whose downtown revitalization efforts are featured on HGTV’s “Home Town,” will help the winner of the second award develop a specific project as a springboard for further community involvement. And the recipient of the third award will work with Acceleration by Design’s Lorie Vincent on a basic economic development planning process.

In addition, the three winners will receive a supplemental marketing plan from Golden Shovel Agency.

Even if co-ops are in the beginning stages of mobilizing community support, “just entering the contest will get the wheels turning and help co-ops put their focus on paper,” said Bialick. “This is our core value of Commitment to Community come to life.”

Here’s what you need to know to apply:

Entry requirements: Only employees of a Touchstone Energy member system can apply. Entrants can apply for all three awards and submit up to five different communities for each package.

How to enter: Apply online at www.coopcommunity.com/contest.

Winner selection: A panel of economic development experts, including the prize package consultants, will rank and determine winners on several criteria, such as the degree of community engagement, dedication of staff and resources, and community vision and creativity.

Important dates: The deadline is Nov. 1, 2019, and winners will be announced in mid-December.

For more information: Contact Scott Bialick, Scott.Bialick@nreca.coop, 703-907-5627.

Sign up for a Sept. 16 webinar on the application process.

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