Supporting our employees and communities through donations, volunteer efforts, financial support and gifts.

The Cooperative Response Center Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation formed for the purpose of helping those in need through financial gift giving programs. At this time, the foundation houses CRC’s scholarship program, a general fund to support community outreach, as well as the M.E.L. Hardship Grant, named after Michelle LaVelle, a long-term CRC employee who passed away in 2022.

CRC Foundation

Similar to the contributions made to the M.E.L. Hardship Fund, employees may donate a portion of their biweekly paychecks to be saved in a fund to support community needs approved by the foundation’s board of directors. Donors from outside of CRC may also make donations to this fund.

Since 2009, CRC has annually awarded scholarships to seniors attending high schools, both public and private, in the communities in which it works: Austin, Minnesota, Dunlap, Tennessee, Abilene, Texas, and Kirksville, Missouri. Typically awarded in May each year, CRC will gift at least eight $1,500 scholarships to local students. To learn more about CRC’s scholarship program or if you are a student interested in applying for the scholarship, visit the Scholarship section of CRC’s website. 

The M.E.L. Hardship Grant is a mechanism developed to give assistance to CRC employees in times of financial distress. The fund relies on donations from employees, fundraisers, and CRC matching funds to be used as a way for employees to help each other in times of need. The grant is designed to provide short-term, emergency support to CRC employees who are facing a serious financial hardship as a result of certain unforeseen and unpreventable circumstances.

M.E.L. Hardship Grant is administered by a group of peers who determine if anonymous requests match the established criteria for a distribution from the fund. The grant is considered a gift and is not expected to be reimbursed. Since the grant is administered within the Cooperative Response Center Foundation, CRC’s 501(c)(3) organization, all grants will remain nontaxable to the recipients.

About CRC Foundation

The CRC Foundation was created and formed in 2023 and officially launched on January 1, 2024. The seven-member board meets regularly to manage the operations of the non-profit foundation which focuses on support for CRC employees and for people and organizations in the communities in which CRC works. For more information about the foundation or if you would like to make a donation, contact


501(c)(3) Determination Letter                 Form 990-PF               2nd Quarter 2024 Report


Board Members

Michelle Rodriguez, President

Randie Waltz, Vice-President

Kristy Mueske, Secretary/Treasurer

Julie Schramek, Director

Kelly McAnally, Director

Paul Thompson, Director

Shawna Johnson, Director

The M.E.L. Hardship Grant is named after Michelle E. LaVelle, a twenty-eight year employee of CRC. Michelle started her career at CRC as a customer service representative (CSR) and, over the years, taking on new positions such as dispatcher, contact center supervisor, and central station manager. Her hard work and dedication finally led her to the position of Service Excellence Director, a role that she cherished and excelled in. Throughout her time at CRC, she built lasting relationships with both our members and our staff.

Michelle tragically passed away in a traffic accident in November 2022. The M.E.L. Hardship Grant is a fitting tribute to her life and will ensure that her legacy of kindness will continue to uplift and support her colleagues at CRC for years to come. It is with great sadness that we mourn Michelle's passing, but we are honored to be able to celebrate her legacy through M.E.L. Hardship Grant. We will forever be grateful for her contributions to CRC, its membership, and employees.