JPMorgan Chase Foundation secured as initiative’s first investor
Philadelphia, January 23 – Today, The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) announced the creation of ReFresh™, a national initiative designed to improve access to healthy foods in urban and rural communities across the U.S. where long-standing barriers exist, making it difficult for residents to live healthier, more stable lives. As the initiative’s first investor, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation has awarded TRF a $2 million grant to launch new and expand existing healthy food financing programs in Florida, Ohio, Colorado and California’s Northern and Central Valley regions.
“The JPMorgan Chase Foundation is proud to help CDFIs build capacity and increase collaboration in order to better support local economic growth, through its new CDFI Collaboratives program. This collaborative, led by The Reinvestment Fund, will support healthy food businesses and enable more residents of underserved communities to access fresh, healthy foods,” said Janis Bowdler, Senior Program Director for Financial Capability and Affordable Housing, JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The initiative also addresses the lack of economic development benefits that are connected to healthy food businesses, such as steady job opportunities at decent wages and additional investments that follow healthy food retailers. In some communities, additional opportunities may be tied to manufacturing and distribution systems that could be connected to access of fresh, healthy foods in regions that are currently underserved.
The ReFresh initiative’s inaugural local partners are the Finance Fund Capital Corporation, the Florida Community Loan Fund, the Northern California Community Loan Fund and the Colorado Enterprise Fund. The grant from JPMorgan Chase will allow TRF to launch the first phase of the new initiative, which is the first of its kind in the country.
The goal of ReFresh is to share expertise and pursue opportunities so that its members can finance more food access projects that benefit low-income communities, improving healthy food access and contributing to the revitalization of underserved communities. Millions of Americans in urban and rural communities now have to travel long distances to get to and buy the fresh food they need to live healthy lives. In many of these communities, the rates of diet-related health issues are high.
“Across the country, small, local organizations are doing great work to address food access and economic development issues in low-income communities,” said TRF CEO Don Hinkle-Brown. “This initiative allows us to increase collaboration in ways that support local initiatives, grow local businesses and benefit communities.”
TRF is a national leader in improving the food landscape in low-income communities, having provided more than $180 million in financing to 130 healthy food projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic—from supermarkets to corner stores and produce distribution centers. First serving as the manager and designer of the successful Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) in 2004, TRF has since developed a comprehensive approach to improving the healthy food landscape in neighborhoods, cities, and states. The approach includes flexible capital, as well as rigorous quantitative and qualitative analysis, to inform financing and measure the impact.
About The Reinvestment Fund: TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities and does this work through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has made $1.3 billion in community investments since 1985. As a CDFI, TRF finances projects related to housing, community facilities, food access, commercial real estate, and energy efficiency. It also provides public-policy expertise by helping clients create practical solutions and by sharing data and analyses via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com.