PELLA — Pella Cooperative Electric Association and Forward with Faith together have secured a $360,000 loan through the United States Department of Agriculture Revolving Loan Fund program to build a women's home for adults living with disabilities.
Pella Cooperative Electric utilizes the USDA’s economic loan programs to provide long-term contribution to the economic vitality of the communities it serves.
For this project, the cooperative is providing $60,000 from their revolving loan fund, in addition to the $300,000 grant through USDA, totaling $360,000 in funds for Forward with Faith.
USDA’s RLF program provides grants to rural utility providers, such as Pella Cooperative Electric, that in turn re-lend the money at zero interest to businesses within their communities.
For non-profit organizations to be approved, the organization must demonstrate diversification of the local economy, job creation and retention, or upgrading the public infrastructure to improve health, safety and/or medical care of rural residents.
Forward with Faith is a non-profit organization dedicated to building homes where adults with disabilities can lead lives of dignity as their specialized physical, emotional and social needs are met.
Their initial home for male adults, which was completed in 2019, was also funded through a USDA RLF loan with PCEA and Southwest Iowa REC. The funds for this project will support the construction of a home where female adults with disabilities can live and prosper.
“These sorts of projects in our community are exactly why we choose to participate in USDA’s loan programs,” Pella Cooperative Electric Chief Executive Officer Jon Miles commented, “We are pleased when the electric cooperative can partner with USDA to serve and help nonprofit organizations like Forward with Faith obtain the funding to serve our community and enhance the vitality of our region.”
Forward with Faith was established by Judy and Jerry Fynaardt after their son, Caleb, was in an accident in 2016. At the time, Caleb had been living in a facility designed to help adults with special needs, but after his accident and recovery time, he needed to move back home.
Judy and Jerry were happy to have him home, but soon realized that Caleb needed more. As an adult with special needs, Caleb needed to experience more of an adult life and opportunities, a goal which could be aided by moving into a home of his own and tailored to meet his special needs.
Currently, the Forward with Faith home houses four men who receive 24/7 care and live in a home that is an extension of their childhood home which reflects a living environment that they have always known. The second home will be built in Pella and will have the same footprint and services.
"Building these homes would be difficult without the outstanding support of community members and organizations like the Pella Cooperative Electric Association," noted FWF board member Doug Van Gorp. "We're thankful to be part of a caring community that is so supportive of those with special needs."
Forward with Faith hopes to start construction this fall and have the home completed by May 2022.
This is Pella Cooperative Electric’s fourteenth USDA economic development loan project and has spurred over $5 million dollars of additional investment and helped retain and create over 100 jobs in Pella and surrounding communities through the program.
This is the second USDA loan project between the electric co-op and Forward with Faith. For more information on how to volunteer or donate to Forward with Faith, visit www.forwardwithfaith.org.