Our Members: Electric Cooperatives Explained
22 Sep 2023
The Rural Electric Economic Development, Inc. (REED) Fund is a community development financial institution that operates under cooperative principles of commitment to community and cooperation among its member cooperatives. The REED Fund assists projects that promote growth and contribute to job, business and wealth creation, as well as improve the infrastructure, community facilities/services and economic base of rural areas in South Dakota and Minnesota.
However, many businesses and individuals often need help understanding exactly what a cooperative is.
So, what exactly is a cooperative? The International Cooperative Alliance defines a cooperative as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “an enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services.”
There are several variations of cooperatives, including financial cooperatives, housing cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, marketing cooperatives, worker cooperatives, and more. All of these share a common purpose: to help groups with shared objectives work toward their collective goal.
Cooperatives and the REED Fund
The REED Fund is a non-profit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1996 and governed by 27 electric cooperatives. Electric cooperatives’ participation in economic development finance has significantly impacted the region. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, electric cooperatives power 56 percent of the nation's landmass, serving 42 million citizens and 21.5 million businesses, homes, schools, and farms across 48 states.
As the second largest economic development capital resource in South Dakota, the REED Fund is committed to meeting a growing need for capital. The REED Fund offers financing for business development and projects involving infrastructure and quality-of-life elements necessary to assist rural communities to retain, develop and attract businesses.
Electric cooperatives are non-profit and member-owned entities that provide energy throughout communities. They are essential to driving economic development in the rural regions of South Dakota and Minnesota that we serve.
Our mission is to provide business and community project financing in partnership with commercial and other economic development lenders to spur regional economic growth by helping leverage private investment. We are focused on efforts that contribute to job and business creation, infrastructure and economic base improvements of our communities.
Our guiding principles include an unwavering commitment to community and cooperation among cooperatives, leading to a valuable impact on the area’s local economies. Our membership structure of local businesses sets us apart as a unique organization. However, the REED Fund does not restrict its lending to rural electric cooperative members.
Learn More About the REED Fund
The REED Fund’s success is attributable to its members’ vision and commitment to invest the cooperative’s capital in the future of their communities.
Feel free to call us at (605) 256-4536 to discover more about the REED Fund or our 27 electric cooperative members:
- AGRALITE ELECTRIC
- BON HOMME YANKTON ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
- CENTRAL ELECTRIC
- CHARLES MIX ELECTRIC
- CLAY UNION ELECTRIC
- CODINGTON CLARK ELECTRIC
- DAKOTA ENERGY
- DOUGLAS ELECTRIC
- EAST RIVER ELECTRIC POWER COOPERATIVE
- FEM ELECTRIC
- H D ELECTRIC
- KINGSBURY ELECTRIC
- LAKE REGION ELECTRIC
- LYON LINCOLN ELECTRIC
- MEEKER ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER ASSOCIATION
- NORTHERN ELECTRIC
- OAHE ELECTRIC
- REDWOOD ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
- RENVILLE SIBLEY COOP POWER ASSOCIATION
- SIOUX VALLEY ENERGY
- SOUTH CENTRAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
- SOUTHEASTERN ELECTRIC
- TRAVERSE ELECTRIC
- UNION COUNTY ELECTRIC
- WEST CENTRAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
- WEST RIVER ELECTRIC
- WHETSTONE VALLEY ELECTRIC