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REDLG Program

The purpose of the EECA Rural Economic Development program is to foster economic development and to improve public and emergency services by providing loans to public taxing districts, and for-profits entities. Funding is provided through the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant (REDLG) Program. Loans are to fund facilities and equipment for emergency services, education, training, advanced telecommunications services, and computer networks that facilitate economic development, job creation, and the enhancement of public and emergency services.

To date, EECA has help facilitate the infiltration of over $3.5 million dollars at zero-percent interest for projects to benefit those who live here!

What is the REDLG program, and what does this program do?
The REDLG program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities, such as EECA, which they, in turn, pass through to local entities/businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. The utility then is responsible for repayment to USDA monthly. 
USDA provides grants to local utility organizations which use the funding to establish Revolving Loan Funds (RLF). Smaller loans can be made from the revolving loan funds to projects that will create or retain rural jobs. Therefore, the grant is a grant to the cooperative, but a loan to the ultimate receipient. When the revolving loan fund is terminated, the grant is repaid to USDA.
How is EECA able to loan these funds?
To receive funding from USDA an intermediary entity, as EECA for use of REDLG funding, must meet at least one of the qualifications below:
  • A former Rural Utilities Service borrower who borrowed, repaid or pre-paid an insured, direct or guaranteed loan.
  • Nonprofit utilities that are eligible to receive assistance from the Rural Development Electric or Telecommunication Programs.
  • Current Rural Development Electric or Telecommunication Programs borrowers.
Who is eligible to apply?
Qualified applicants can be members, or non-members, of the Cooperative but project must be located within the footprint (or service territory boundaries) of the EECA service territory. Entities or project locations do not have to receive electricity from the Cooperative to qualify. USDA allows intermediaries to apply for funds to lend for projects in rural areas or towns with a population of fewer than 50,000 residents. 
How does the application process work?
The EECA Board of Directors has the sole authority to approve the application of grants and/or loans under this program. The applicant must first complete the application for consideration, and the board approval of a project will be based on the following criteria. These terms also include evaluating the compatibility of the loan fund program’s objectives and is in accordance with all state and federal regulations and laws that apply to loans under the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan Program.
  • Project’s impact on the community;
  • Evaluation of borrower’s ability to repay debt, including credit worthiness of applicant and adequate collateral coverage;
  • Leveraging of other funding sources;
  • Job creation and/or retention;
  • Viability of marketing and/or operating plan;
  • Evaluation of project’s probability of success;
  • Project’s readiness.
The local utility then applies to USDA for funding support on behalf of a specified business/company for the local project, on a quarterly open enrollment basis. Projects may begin after an application is submitted, but there is no guarantee of approval. USDA funds are issued to the local utility at project completion.
What are the loan terms for the local utility, and in turn ultimate recipient?
  • Maximum 10-year loan term
  • Maximum $1,000,000 loan request
  • 0-percent interest
  • 20% matching requirement
How may funds be used?
The local utility passes the funding to ultimate recipients for such eligible projects are below. Please check the EECA Rural Economic Development Program Policy, below or above, for additional requirements and qualifications.
  • Business expansions & start-ups, including real estate, buildings & equipment
  • Facilities and equipment to provide medical care (including upgrades to electronic medical record systems)
  • Community facility projects that create or save employment
  • Educational facilities and equipment including distance learning
  • Business incubators
  • Advanced telecommunications and computer networks for medical, educational and job training services

To learn more about the program view our EECA Policy 309: Rural Economic Development Program and our REDLG Program Application.

Contact Brooke Guthman at Egyptian Electric Cooperative,, to learn more, or Mary Warren, USDA Rural Development, at or (217)403-6218.

REDLG Recipient - Degognia-Fountain Bluff Levee District
REDLG Recipient - Southern Illinois Airport Authority
REDLG Recipient - Pinckneyville Hospital
REDLG Recipient - Kinkaid-Reed's Creek Conservancy District
REDLG Recipient - Murphysboro CUSD #186