Cooperating to fund and develop economic vitality across Iowa
Sunday, September 01, 2019
Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives’ community support goes far beyond the safe, reliable and affordable power they provide every day. Utility-sponsored Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) are a key tool providing statewide impact for community infrastructure, business growth, and job creation and retention.
An RLF is a source of money from which loans are made for multiple small business or community development projects. As loans are repaid, the funds are loaned out again. In 1995, the USDA awarded the first grant from the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant (REDL&G) program to Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative. With this grant, an RLF was created to provide a source of ongoing funding for investment and job creation. Since that first award, all 36 of IADG’s member rural electric cooperatives (RECs), 22 independent telecommunications companies and 11 municipal utilities have received at least one REDL&G award and have created RLFs to continue support of local projects.
One of the advantages of the RLF program is that the loan funds are locally controlled where the development opportunities can best be assessed and met. Iowa RECs have funded, and in many cases co-funded important projects across Iowa. The Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) is pleased to be a partner and provide technical support and administrative assistance with the REDL&G program and statewide RLFs.