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Writing a UCEMC Cares Grant

Grant photo

     It’s easier than you think!                         

     The first thing you need to know about writing a UCEMC Cares grant is that there is very little writing involved. The downloadable and user-friendly CARES grant application makes it an easy process. Answer the simple questions about your organization, agency, or non-profit, and that’s it!

     Organizations that receive funds aren’t required to have a formal 501 (c) status, but they do need to be operated as non-profit entities for non-profit activities. A bank account bearing the organization’s name and Tax ID number is essential to have on hand before applying for the grant. Unlike other awards that may require page after page of testimonials and descriptive explanations, the UCEMC Cares grant allows you to get straight to the point. 

     The UCEMC Cares Board of Directors meets the second Tuesday of each month and chooses the grant recipients from these applications at that time. The Cares board is made up of a group of volunteers – community leaders from each district. It’s their task to read your application and learn more about what your organization does for the community and how you’re doing it. They want to know how much money you’re requesting and exactly how you plan to use it. Do you receive other grants? You’ll be asked to list those. What needs will be addressed upon completion of this project? Do you have enthusiastic volunteers who will put in a good word for the organization’s work? The form asks for references, both inside and outside of your circle, who have witnessed the benefits the group brings to the community.

     There’s plenty of room for creativity on this application, so go ahead and express yourself! Getting the word out about your organization helps everyone. Here’s what’s good about that: if your organization isn’t awarded a grant this month, you may reapply the following month. There are many opportunities to get the financial help your group needs. Send in applications by the first of the month and remember that patience and consistency are essential when applying/re-applying for any grant.

     Grant money cannot be used for “capital improvements” on governmentally-funded buildings for permanent building or property renovations. These funds may not be used to support any candidate or political purpose, nor may they be used to pay energy bills or charges. Schools and churches are not eligible to receive funds; however, groups or initiatives within the school or church, such as chartered clubs, booster clubs, parent-teacher organizations, food banks, and youth groups are eligible. 

     Here are just a few of the examples of grants previously awarded to groups providing these services for the community:

     Books and supplies for a children’s library;

     Fees and scholarships for a children’s summer camp;

    Cheerleading and band uniforms;

    Cheerleading and band camp fees;

    Athletic and safety equipment such as helmets, pads, harnesses;

    Safety and firefighting equipment for volunteer fire departments;

    Equipment to aid special needs children who are learning to ride horses;

    Trip fees for students to attend leadership and academic conferences;

      Children, whose families can’t afford the high fees for summer camp, can now participate and join in the fun with their friends, thanks to a CARES grant. Special needs children who feel they will never play sports or ride a horse are experiencing the thrill of the game and the joy of inclusion, because of Cares. Those young football players are running for touchdowns with confidence because they know they’re wearing gear protecting them from harm. Our firefighters can now call for backup and know that their transmission can be heard thanks to the latest radio technology and a Cares grant. 

      When UCEMC members choose to “opt-in” to the Cares program and round-up their bill each month, that small change can add up to significant change for the community with your help. 

      Thank you for all that you do to make the Upper Cumberland one of the safest, kindest communities in the nation. Please contact us through UCEMC’s corporate office if you have any questions about Cares grants or the Cares program. 








Historical Marker Dedicated at Train Crash Site

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On the night of April 24, 1949, ten members of a Smith County family died when Jesse Bennett pulled his fully-loaded pick-up truck into the path of a fast-moving Tennessee Central freight train near the intersection of Lancaster Highway and Stewart’s Bend Lane. The family had just left a church revival.

Killed were Jesse Bennett, 50; his wife Mattie, 45; their three young sons: Melvin, 8, Douglas, 12, and U.L., 10, Littie and Paulie Dickens, both 24, Kathryn Dickens, 1, W.E. Bennett, 49, and Linnie Gibbs, 17. An eleventh passenger, Ruth Robinson, 15, suffered severe injuries but was the only survivor of the fiery crash.

 The story made national headlines, and in the days following the accident, more than 7,000 people traveled to tiny Gordonsville, Tennessee to attend the mass funeral.     

 Today, this historical plaque marks the site and tells the tragic story for generations to come thanks to the efforts of the Smith County Leadership Opportunity Class of 2018 who chose the marker as their community service project.  

 The Leadership Class applied for and received a UCEMC Cares grant for a portion of the funding. “This commemorative plaque helps the entire community, and this is the kind of project that can benefit from a Cares grant,” says Cares board chair Terry Montgomery. “The pennies provided by UCEMC members who round-up their bill to the nearest dollar, add up to thousands of dollars in grants that make all the difference to organizations dedicated to historical and educational endeavors in the area. 

Bennett family descendants and community leaders joined members of the Smith County Leadership Opportunity Class of 2018 for a dedication ceremony at the Gordonsville site on Sunday, July 7.                

Are your tax exemption certificates up to date?

Church Steeple

           Churches are tax-exempt entities under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

UCEMC is required to maintain exemption certificates as long as sales continue to your non-profit organization and sales tax is not collected. Sales tax exemption certificates are proof for UCEMC and your organization that your electric bill should be tax-free. Please contact us if this information needs updating in our files. Don’t have a document on file with us? Download the appropriate application from the Tennessee Department of Revenue here.


Delegates Return from Washington Youth Tour

UCEMC Delegates enjoyed stopping by President Thomas Jefferson’s historic home Monticello on their way to Washington D.C.   L-R: Tally Kelly of Gordonsville High, Livingston Academy’s Samantha Maulding,  Leanne Marcy of Jackson Co. High, Taylor Phann of Upperman High, and Kalista Negaard of Smith Co. High.  

Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates have returned from a week of touring our nation’s capital, exhausted but excited to be home to share their many stories and photos with family and friends. The Washington Youth Tour is an annual event sponsored by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and the state’s 23 electric co-ops. It provides these young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and cooperatives, and develop their leadership skills. Students were selected for the trip by writing short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives – Connecting Communities” that explain how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power. 

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Tristan Nixon Wins TVA Power Play Scholarship

     UCEMC is proud to announce that Smith County High School senior Tristan Nixon, daughter of Mike and Michele Nixon of Carthage, has been awarded the TVA Power Play Scholarship for 2019. Tristan was one of 30 students receiving the $4,000.00 scholarship for their winning essays outlining professional goals and how they plan to be of service to the community after college graduation. Tristan, shown here with UCEMC General Manager Jimmy Gregory, was honored by TVA at a special luncheon on May 6.

      In her essay, Tristan wrote about her childhood dream of becoming a forensic scientist for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

    “This scholarship will help me to achieve my dreams of ensuring the safety of the residents of the Tennessee Valley,” she revealed.  “The difference that I hope to make is that the people of the Tennessee Valley will sleep a little more safely and soundly at night knowing that the TBI is watching over them.”

     Tristan plans to attend MTSU this fall to begin her journey. The TVA Power Play Scholarship Association hopes the young adults who receive these scholarships will “become tomorrow’s guiding lights by investing their time and talent in community development, personal growth, and team accomplishments.” We look forward to sharing in this young woman’s many victories in the coming years. Congratulations Tristan!


UCEMC Auction

Friday, May 17 – 1:00 p.m. 320 Celina Hwy. Livingston, TN.

The Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation will auction these vehicles at our UCEMC Livingston Office. These items will be sold AS IS and WHERE IS. All mileage is approximate. Buyers must deliver cash or a good check on the day of the sale. Announcements made on the day of the sale will supersede this ad.


Welcome to the New UCEMC.Com!

This month, we’re happy to announce the launch of our newly redesigned official website On behalf of all of us here at Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, we welcome you!

We feel that while our old website served us well for many years, technology continues to develop and with this redesign, we’re employing the most current tools to provide you with up-to-the-minute account news and information and the best possible service for both residential and business members.

Accept no substitutes

Make sure your browser confirms that you are on the official website of UCEMC. Several so-called bill pay websites exist that have apparently hijacked our logo and contact information, leading you to believe that you can safely and securely pay your UCEMC electric bill on their site. Beware of these impostors! Check out the complete story “Scam Alert”  and learn how to avoid these third-party websites. If you use one of these bill pay websites, your electric bill could be paid late – if it’s paid at all – and you’ll be charged a hefty fee for “allowing” them to pay your electric bill. You also run the risk of having your service disconnected if your payment through one of these bill pay sites is delinquent. Click on Pay My Bill on to safely and securely pay your bill on time with confidence.

Get acquainted with

Our new site has a modern layout and design and is optimized to view in multiple devices for your convenience. Enjoy the beautiful Upper Cumberland scenery on the top of the pages while you peruse the handy navigation bar for options. The drop-down menu from MY UCEMC provides you with every option from service requests for your residence or business to safety tips and the forms and documents to download. Check out our Safety Demonstration Trailer video while you’re here.  In a hurry and need to pay your bill quickly? Clicking on PAY MY BILL will take you directly to the secure customer portal. Frequently Asked Billing Questions are also in this menu.  Tips to help you save on your bill in the coldest winter or the hottest summer will help you get your home ready for anything Mother Nature has in store. Keep up with the latest news and Upper Cumberland happenings by visiting our NEWSROOM. Did you hear about that scam targeting electric cooperative members in our area? Read more here about how the scam works and what you need to do to keep your information safe.

For the family members

Are your students looking for an interesting term paper subject? By clicking on ABOUT in the navigation bar, they can enjoy the historic video and learn about UCEMC’s history and its people while testing their knowledge about all things electric with our Safety Quiz. The young artist can find an “outlet” for their creativity by downloading our Safety Hounds coloring book.  Each fall, high school juniors in the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership service area can score a scholarship and a trip to Washington D.C. for their winning composition skills. Learn more about the Washington Youth Tour here. Be the first to know about career opportunities at UCEMC by looking under the Careers tab, and while you’re here, read up on the bylaws, rules, and regulations of the cooperative and learn about your neighbors who sit on the cooperative’s board of directors.

Get organized

The new website structure is more organized and uses thematic associations and a search bar to assist in navigation.  Now, you may go to any page to choose from various menus leading to content that interests you. There’s something for everyone!

Seeing is believing

We’re focusing on multimedia with this new website. Images, videos, and other multimedia content are emphasized to maximize the impact of our messaging and to make your visit to the website more enjoyable. We’re still evolving and soon, social media will be a big part of this website experience. Be sure to watch the UCEMC Cares video to learn about how your pennies can add up to positive change in the community. Sign up to “Round-Up” your bill to the nearest dollar to make the Upper Cumberland the best place to live and grow.

Local People. Local Power.

We encourage you to explore the new site and while much has changed, many of the resources that we have provided over the years are still part of the new site. Thanks to everyone who has given us feedback on the site design, helping to create the more connected, organized and user-friendly UCEMC website you see today.


Vigilance is Key to Co-existing with Nesting Osprey

Carthage, TN.   The Ospreys are back in the Upper Cumberland and while these protected raptors are a majestic and pleasing sight for birdwatchers, their dried-wood nests can mean chaos for UCEMC power line maintenance crews in the area.

Ospreys, also known as fish hawks or river hawks, prefer to build their nests high above their ideal fishing spot – primarily on power poles near the water – on Cordell Hull Lake, the Caney Fork and Cumberland Rivers. The Osprey is one of the largest birds of prey in North America with a wingspan of more than five feet.

NEWSFLASH – Meet the new Ospreys Babe…

Meet The Opsrey Babe

“These huge nests are not made out of little twigs, but of hefty sticks and tree limbs that could start a fire, knock out power to thousands of customers, or when damp and in contact with the line, possibly electrocute the Osprey,” explains Chris Saling, UCEMC’s District Manager in Gainesboro.

Closeup Osprey Nest

In the spring, Saling and his crew walk a fine line to co-exist with the Osprey while preventing the power outages caused by the massive nests. “Just in the last couple of weeks, nests have caused two outages; one near Granville and another near the Zinc mine. We have twelve active nests on our poles already with more expected each week.”

Adult Ospreys mate for life and return to the familiar area where they were hatched to raise their young.

Huge Osprey Nest

In an effort to outwit the Osprey – and protect it from electrocution – UCEMC crews are installing anti-perching devices on poles where nests are underway. The plastic sleeves bounce when the bird lands on the device, causing an unsteady surface on the power lines.

Empty, old, or partially built nests can be safely relocated nearby. A nest containing the eggs of this protected bird cannot be moved by orders of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

“The key to this battle every year is to find the nest when the first stick is dropped and before the eggs are laid,” Saling adds. “We work with the TWRA and keep out a watchful eye to stay ahead of the game. A male and female Osprey can complete their construction and be sitting on eggs in three days.” On Friday, April 5th, the Osprey featured in the DTC live Osprey camera, proudly showed-off her first egg to viewers.

Ospreys Perched on Utility Pole

Phantom Load

Did you know that there’s a vampire in your home 24/7? Many electronics continue to use energy even after they’re turned off. If they remain plugged in after use, it’s what we call phantom load and it costs the average member more than $100 a year.


It sounds scary and indeed it is. Vampires are lurking around your home at this moment, sucking power from appliances and other plugged-in devices which continue to use power from electrical outlets even when they are turned off!

According to the Department of Energy, the average household has approximately 40 energy vampires in their home costing more than $100 a year. You can ward off energy-wasting vampires with these tips:


Hair dryers, curling irons and electric shavers left plugged into the wall while not in use can still drain electricity. Be safe and savvy by unplugging those devices when you’re done.


Make a habit of unplugging all unnecessary kitchen appliances including the coffee maker, microwave, toaster oven, blender, and other unused appliances.

Living Room

Older, set-top cable boxes and DVRs are the scariest vampires since they constantly drain 25-45 watts of energy when not in use. Try hooking up your entertainment center and other electronics to a power strip to easily switch off the entire system when you’re not using it. Exception: If you’re planning to record a show, your cable box must be on. Be sure to power down your video game console when it’s “game over.”

Home Office

The computer and printer still use energy when they’re idle. Plug your devices into a power strip and flip it off when you leave the room.


Once the cell phone or tablet is powered up, unplug the charger to avoid wasting energy.

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