HFFI Planning Grant Program

The application window is now closed for the 2024 HFFI Planning Grant Program. Applications were due at 11:59 PM ET on Monday, June 17 2024. Funding decisions will be made no earlier than August 2024.

For a detailed description of the program and eligibility criteria, please read the Request for Applications (RFA).



The HFFI Planning Grant Program is a new grant program under the expanded America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

A planning grant aims to transform an idea into an actionable plan and support access to the resources needed to advance towards implementation. Applicants will be expected to identify and implement planning activities that include (but are not limited to):

  • Assessing the community to be served
  • Evaluating site locations
  • Architectural design or other site planning
  • Evaluating and/or selecting a feasible business model
  • Establishing and training a project team and/or project lead
  • Solidifying community partnerships
  • Vetting and selecting a prospective developer, general manager, or retail operator
  • Development of a business plan and/or operating financials
  • Assessing capital funding needs
  • Conducting community engagement activities that will support the development of a business model that is inclusive of relevant stakeholder communities, targeted beneficiaries, and affected populations




The program could assist a variety of organizations, business models, and planning needs of ventures that seek to process, distribute, aggregate, market, and sell healthy, fresh, and affordable foods to underserved communities and markets. All applicants must be working towards improving food access for underserved communities through food retail.

Eligible applicant entities include for-profit business enterprises (including a corporation, limited liability company, sole proprietor, public benefit corporation); cooperatively-owned businesses; tax-exempt nonprofit corporations; institutions of higher education; state and local governments and governmental agencies, authorities, commissions and food policy councils; tribal governments and tribal governmental agencies, authorities, and food policy councils.

Individuals are not eligible to apply to this opportunity.



At least $6,000,000 is available for grants for the 2024 HFFI Planning Grant Program. Grant awards will be between $10,000 – $150,000.



The program will support early stage planning and development of projects aiming to strengthen, expand, and innovate within the food retail supply chain. Applicants must demonstrate how the business model(s) they are planning will contribute to food access through the availability of Staple and Perishable Foods for retail sale.

Grant uses could include (but are not limited to):

  • Community Engagement: consumer/community engagement support and activities, governance support & activities, community food assessments
  • Business, feasibility, and operations planning/development: Information gathering and decision-making activities such as market research or personnel that will support outreach activities, feasibility studies, financial analysis, business/strategic planning, development of proformas and business financials, staff training, financial or development consultants, project management, marketing & advertisement (including online and print), etc.
  • Construction predevelopment: site location analysis, appraisals, architectural or design assistance, and soft costs that will indirectly support the acquisition and/or pre-construction preparation of land such as legal support, permitting, fees, and environmental/energy assessments
  • Other capital needs: including one-time investments into capital needs for the planning and development of a business model’s operations such as capital campaign planning, or development of technology (i.e. build out of a website) that will operationalize the next phase of the project

Grants may not be used for brick and mortar facility development.