Wild Rose REA is a not-for-profit cooperative that serves as an electrical utility, providing electric energy to its members. The cooperative is member owned, with the elected Board of Directors responsible for strategic direction, governance, financial oversight, and policy. With historical roots dating back to 1947 and a current membership exceeding 2,700, Wild Rose's electrical distribution system spans across five counties in Alberta. The cooperative holds a significant place in Alberta's history, originating from the cooperation and hard work of rural residents and playing a role in the formation of Rural Electrification Associations (REAs) in the region.
Wild Rose has demonstrated a strong commitment to its community through the awarding of over 80 Rural Roots Awards to clubs and organizations in the Barrhead and Westlock areas. Stuart Fox-Robinson, the CEO of Wild Rose, emphasizes the importance of giving back, citing the cooperative's historical roots as a driving force behind this commitment.
"If you look at our roots, we were formed by people living here in the 1940s because the powers that be would not provide service. We have relatives of the founding members that are on our board today and we serve some of the longest-residing generational families in our communities. It is very important that we give back because without our members, we don’t exist."
Fox-Robinson further highlighted Wild Rose’s essential role of community support, emphasizing that the cooperative operates at cost and any surplus funds are channeled back into the community. He stressed, "It’s so important to recognize that we live and work in the community and we want our community to prosper.”
The commitment to community giving is further exemplified through the support of numerous organizations, societies, clubs, and students; by donating thousands of dollars to foster community development; and through the Wild Rose scholarship program.
The scholarship plays a pivotal role in recognizing the academic achievements of children of Wild Rose members, providing encouragement and financial assistance for their pursuit of further education. By investing in the educational endeavors of the community's youth, Wild Rose demonstrates a holistic approach to community betterment, acknowledging the long-term significance of fostering advancement for the collective benefit of the community.
The CEO underscores the direct impact of Wild Rose's contributions on the community, noting that many staff members’ involvement extends beyond the workplace, with staff actively participating on various boards and in different community organizations, further reinforcing the cooperative's dedication to community prosperity.
Wild Rose sets itself apart from other energy providers with its mission-driven, non-profit approach and commitment to community service through energy savings and giving back. With this approach, Wild Rose has maintained a strong presence for over 75 years. They ensure that every member's voice – from homeowners and farmers to corporations and small businesses – is heard.
Fox-Robinson concludes, "Reach out to us. We want to understand your energy needs and explore how we can assist you. We are happy to talk with existing and prospective members. If you are an organization looking for donations or volunteers, or would like more information about our Rural Roots award, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We stand by a model that prioritizes people, and we are committed to operating in a way that genuinely caters to our community's needs."