Basin Electric donates to Bismarck chapter of the Sertoma Club to help kids in need

From left to right: Sertoma Club members Larry Hill; Anne Bry; Ademola Coker; Brendan Kennedy, Basin Electric desktop applications analyst I; Kevin Dykema; Jason Schmidt; and Jen Holen, Basin Electric charitable giving administrator.

As a commitment to the communities in which its members and employees live and work, Basin Electric recently donated $5,000 to the Sertoma Club in Bismarck, North Dakota, for their spring bowling fundraiser. The donation helped cover the cost of new hearing aid systems for two children in need. 

The Sertoma Club is an international organization dedicated to community service and outreach. The word Sertoma is an abbreviation for “Service to Mankind,” and the club’s main goal is to provide awareness, support, and funding for youth hearing health and speech. The Bismarck chapter also provides support for a variety of other local charities and outreach programs as well as Sertoma Park in Bismarck (named after the club). 

Brendan Kennedy, Basin Electric desktop applications analyst I, sits on the board of the Bismarck chapter. “The board facilitates fundraising, determines the use of our funds, and the scheduling of the club’s activities,” Kennedy says. “We often have a guest speaker at our weekly meetings from community organizations or outreach programs who provide information on their work and opportunities for additional outreach.” 

The Sertoma Club reviews applications for local kids to receive hearing and speech assistance when they are not covered by medical insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. The need determination is provided by a healthcare partner, along with a background check to validate their situation. “We often only receive one or two of these complete hearing aid requests a year, so it is unusual for our club to receive multiple hearing aid system applications so close together,” Kennedy says. 

Regular fundraising would not have completely sponsored two children to receive new hearing aid systems, originally priced at $6,400 each. “Our club’s healthcare liaison was able to negotiate a discount that made each child’s complete hearing aid replacement only $5,200,” Kennedy says. “With Basin Electric’s donation, we were able to authorize the purchase of these new systems for both kids, a six-year-old boy who has been using the same hearing aids since he was one, and an eight-year-old girl with a two-year-old hearing aid system that has never fully functioned properly, often cutting out and not receiving sound properly.” 

Between Basin Electric’s donation and the discount on the hearing aids, the board was also able to approve support for a third child to receive 10 sessions of speech therapy, which is the club’s most common application, for a total cost of roughly $800. Basin Electric’s donation accounted for about 50% of the total amount raised for the fundraiser. 

Kennedy says he feels great joy and pride in the ability to help others and to provide social awareness for those who need additional assistance. “I believe that the most fulfilling way to spend my free time is to enrich others’ lives and experiences, and to help them grow and advance their quality of life.”

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