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EDA Enlists ILSR and Recast City to Help Maximize Efficiency of Revolving Loan Funds

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The 2020 CARES Act catalyzed a major expansion of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) successful Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, EDA’s RLF portfolio boasted a combined capital base of nearly $900 million. The infusion of CARES Act recovery assistance helped grow the portfolio to over $1.5 billion.

This month, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Research and National Technical Assistance program awarded a $790,020 grant to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and Recast City. The award will be used to provide direct technical assistance to support RLF recipients in ways that promote equitable lending strategies and outcomes via a collaborative approach that will focus on peer-to-peer mentoring.

“The Economic Development Administration’s Revolving Loan Fund program is a critical resource for small businesses unable to access traditional financing sources,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “It’s important for RLF operators to efficiently deploy the federal funds they’ve been awarded. This partnership with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Recast City will provide needed support to operators in meeting their obligations.”

Established in 1974, the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance is a national research and advocacy organization that works to facilitate locally driven solutions to national economic challenges.

“This project will help EDA-capitalized Revolving Loan Funds deploy resources that are urgently needed in their regions to support underserved communities and to help businesses from closing or eliminating jobs,” explained Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director of ILSR. “The technical assistance will also improve the reach of capital deployment for the long term with participating RLFs.”

Subgrantee Recast City is a nationwide consultancy that works with state and local governments to support community reinvestment, small business and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and direct business owner engagement focused on generating inclusive and resilient economies.

“Recast City is excited to collaborate with EDA and ILSR on this project to strengthen local economic resilience,” said Ilana Preuss, CEO of Recast City. “Through this initiative, we can support RLF operators to directly invest in historically marginalized business owners for a stronger long-term recovery.”

Work on the initiative will begin immediately with recruitment of the first RLF cohorts set to begin this fall.

For more information about EDA’s RLF program, please visit EDA.gov.

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