September 28, 2021 — Reinvestment Fund is inviting applications for grant awards and technical assistance through the 2021 round of the America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program. Funding for the HFFI Targeted Small Grants Program is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill. Reinvestment Fund serves as the national fund manager for the HFFI program at USDA. The 2021 HFFI round is offering at least $4 million in grant funds for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities.
“Investing in food retail access is about building essential infrastructure, economic strength and community resilience,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “At a time when Americans are grappling with enormous challenges from continued COVID-19 infections to extreme weather, it is more important than ever that we support communities and entrepreneurs in building an equitable, resilient food system.”
HFFI is offering direct grants to projects selected through a competitive application process open to food retail and/or non-retail food system enterprises that contribute to improved fresh food retail access in underserved rural and urban communities across the country. Eligible applicants include for-profit, nonprofit, and cooperatively owned businesses and organizations, as well as state and local governments and tribal governments.
Grants could assist projects with a variety of aspects of project development, renovation, and/or expansion. Grants are designed to be one-time investments of capital into a food retail or food enterprise project and aim to unlock additional sources of capital, catalyze project sustainability, meet financing gaps, and enable deeper impact or project reach. Grant awards will range from $20,000 to $200,000.
In conjunction with the grants program, Reinvestment Fund will also provide technical assistance to support selected early-stage projects where resources would help build local capacity to develop a food retail outlet or enterprise and would clarify or advance an eligible project.
Equitable access to healthy food is enabled by a food system where enterprises across the food supply chain can thrive and deliver fresh, healthy, and affordable products. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how crucial grocery stores, food suppliers, and their employees are to providing essential goods and services to communities. The lack of access to healthy food disproportionally affects low-income communities and communities of color. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative is designed to provide access to capital and technical resources to help fresh, healthy food retailers and food retail supply chain enterprises overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas.
The application has two phases–the first phase is a Letter of Interest, which is due on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Eligible applicants will be invited to submit a full application in the second phase. The Request for Assistance (RFA), application materials and additional information are available at www.investinginfood.com. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reinvestment Fund is also hosting an informational webinar on the application process on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM EST. Potential applicants can join the webinar live at https://bit.ly/HFFIWebinar101321. No registration is required.
An initiative of USDA Rural Development, HFFI has supported 43 awardees in two previous funding rounds providing a total of $4.8 million in grants. HFFI projects and programs have also been supported by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2010, HFFI programs together have helped leverage more than $267 million in grants and an estimated $1 billion in additional financing. They have 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 everyone has access to essential opportunities: 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, communities, and impediments to opportunity—and how investment and policy decisions can have the most powerful impact. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Beginning with the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) in 2004, Reinvestment Fund has developed a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to improving the food landscape for low-income people. Since that time, we have provided $323 million in grants and loans to healthy food projects. Learn more at reinvestment.com.