CREC serves as ‘pass-through’ for USDA loan
With the help of Cuivre River Electric Cooperative and the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), a $250,000 loan to Pike County Connections (PCC) will provide startup funding for the establishment of two new nonprofit agencies that serve area citizens with developmental disabilities, and enable both jobs and benefits to be retained.
The loan for PCC is completely funded by USDA. “Cuivre River is simply serving as the ‘pass-through’ organization to provide the loan to PCC,” says Cuivre River Electric General Manager/CEO Doug Tracy. “No Cuivre River member monies are involved in this process.”
PCC is the fundraising arm of Pike County Senate Bill 40 (PCSB40), the county entity charged with administering the funds generated by what is commonly known as Senate Bill 40 (SB40). Passed in 1969, SB40 allows individual counties in Missouri to approve a tax levy to provide needed assistance and support to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The organization’s board was recently put in the position of having to spin off two new nonprofit agencies — Pike County Agency for Developmental Disabilities and Champ Clark Service Coordination — in order to comply with federal regulations known as Conflict Free Case Management.
“Our purpose is to serve persons with developmental disabilities,” according to Pete Breting, executive director of PCSB40.
“Creating these two new agencies and funding their startup expenses put a great deal of financial stress on our board,” Breting said. “The REDLG loan enabled our board to underwrite those startup costs while continuing to have funds available for needed developmental disability services.”
The REDLG program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. Zero-interest loans are provided to local utilities like Cuivre River, which they, in turn, pass through to local organizations (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly. The utility is then responsible for repayment to USDA. The reason that electric cooperatives are used as pass-through organizations for such community loan projects is that the co-ops often already have a financial credit history with USDA.
“This has been a ‘win-win-win’ for us,” said Breting. “No staff lost their jobs or their benefits during the transition; persons served did not encounter any reductions or changes in their services or staff; and our board has maintained the ability to meet area service needs and fulfill our mission in helping Pike County citizens with developmental disabilities succeed.”
Tracy said that serving as the “pass-through” organization to help Pike County Connections secure this loan is one way Cuivre River can support one of its members and carry out part of the co-op’s mission.
“We strive to magnify our position as a good citizen in the communities in and near our service area and maintain a current knowledge of governmental and other programs — like REDLG — that could benefit the membership,” Tracy said. “Throughout rural America, co-ops work not only to provide value to their members but to improve the quality of life for people in their local communities.”