Philadelphia, December 9, 2020—Reinvestment Fund today announced $3 million in financial assistance awards to 20 projects through the 2020 round of America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative’s (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program. Funding for the HFFI grants program is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The program supports projects that are designed to improve access to fresh, healthy food through food retail.
Awardees were selected through a competitive process that was open to eligible fresh food retail projects and food enterprises seeking financial assistance to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to operating in underserved areas. There were 245 applications submitted to the program, which came from 46 states, the District and US territories, and had a total request of over $40 million in financing.
“The US Department of Agriculture believes in ensuring that all Americans have access to nutritious, healthy, fresh foods,” said Rebeckah Adcock, Administrator of USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. “As the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA’s support for the 20 projects being announced today is one of many ways the department is providing resources to distribute food in areas where it is needed most.”
As the National Fund Manager, Reinvestment Fund administers the HFFI program on behalf of USDA. The public-private partnership aims to provide capacity building and financing resources to stimulate food business development at scale and build a more equitable food system that supports the health and economic vibrancy of all Americans.
“The pandemic has underscored the necessity of having a robust and just food system, where all Americans, regardless of where they live or how much they earn, can easily get nutritious, affordable food,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “HFFI resources are a critical part of the solution set to strengthen local economies, grow entrepreneurship and quality jobs, and further develop essential and sustainable infrastructure, particularly in underinvested rural and urban communities.”
Of the 20 financial assistance awardees, 40% serve rural communities and 65% are owned or led by people of color, low-income people, women, and/or native people.
The 2020 HFFI program offered financial assistance in the form of one-time grants to food retailers and food enterprises that aimed to strengthen, expand, and innovate within the food retail supply chain. A variety of organizations, business models, and capital needs were of ventures that process, distribute, aggregate, market, and sell healthy, fresh, and affordable foods to underserved communities and markets were eligible for the program. A full list of awardees is available at www.investinginfood.com.
“Independent retail supermarkets and the wholesalers that supply them play an important role in the communities they serve through the access to healthy and affordable food items and as a contributor to the local economy,” said Molly Pfaffenroth, Director of Government Relations at the National Grocers Association. “The National Grocers Association supports private-public partnerships, such as HFFI programs, to find solutions to tackle the barriers to entry faced by grocers in these underserved areas and ultimately have a positive impact on the communities they serve.”
While new at USDA Rural Development, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have invested in healthy food projects through Community Development Financial Institutions and Community Development Corporations since 2010. To date, federal support has totaled $270 million in grants and has leveraged an estimated $1 billion in additional financing. It has also supported nearly 1,000 grocery and other healthy food retail projects in more than 35 states across the country, revitalizing economies, creating jobs, and improving health.
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that people in communities across the country have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets and how transactions can have the most powerful impact, which has consistently earned us the top Aeris rating of AAA for financial strength and four stars for impact management. Our asset and risk management systems have also earned us an A+ rating from S&P. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.4 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at reinvestment.com.