Commitment includes $45 Million of TRF’s Own Capital and Data Tool to Understand Inequitable Access.
Philadelphia, June 24 – Today, The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) announced that it will generate $100 million in new financing to healthy food businesses across the country over the next three years. The initiative will include $45 million of TRF’s capital, which will be deployed as risk-tolerant financing that will leverage additional partner capital to support healthy food access. The initiative was announced as part of TRF’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, made at the 2014 CGI America meeting.
Across the country, an estimated 30 million Americans have little or no regular access to affordable, healthy food. Lack of access is particularly problematic in many low-income urban and rural communities as well as communities of color. For people facing barriers to fresh, healthy, and affordable food choices, eating well becomes a challenge.
TRF’s commitment will scale up its ReFresh initiative, a national network of partnerships engaged to improve access to healthy foods in communities where long-standing barriers exist, making it difficult for residents to live healthier, more stable lives. As part of its commitment, TRF is also updating its seminal Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis, a data-rich tool created to inform local and national policymakers and funders about their community’s grocery needs and support the healthy food financing efforts.
“TRF has been at the forefront of this work for over a decade, bringing together capital, data and partners to support healthy food businesses in underserved, low-income communities. This initiative will build from that experience as we increase the number and scale of those transactions occurring in the marketplace,” shared Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of TRF. “The impact of such investment is more than just improved access to healthy food. These businesses create jobs and serve as economic anchors, spurring additional investments in neighborhoods.”
Over the last decade, TRF has provided over $182 million in financing to 133 healthy food projects—from supermarkets to corner stores and produce distribution centers. While much of this work has been focused in the mid-Atlantic region, this new commitment will scale this effort nationally.
The Howard Park ShopRite in Baltimore is an example of the kind of projects this commitment will support. The Howard Park ShopRite is opening this summer in a low-income neighborhood that has been without a supermarket since 2000. With many residents lacking a car and over a fifth of the families living in poverty, a local supermarket was paramount.
“Over the past decade, as a member of the City Council and mayor, I worked tirelessly to ensure that a grocery store to returned to this community,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “My administration is committed to strengthening communities by attracting grocery stores to neighborhoods that need them the most. The development of the Howard Park ShopRite will provide families with healthy, affordable food options close to home, while also providing jobs and helping to spur economic growth throughout the surrounding community.”
TRF provided $9.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing, in addition to leveraging financing from Opportunity Finance Network, City First Bank and JPMorgan Chase for the project. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation is also among ReFresh’s first partners supporting an effort to expand healthy food financing by building the capacity of the Finance Fund Capital Corporation in Ohio, Northern California Community Loan Fund, Colorado Enterprise Fund and Florida Community Loan Fund.
“The Howard Park ShopRite is a great example of the kind of projects Chase and TRF have partnered on over the years,” shared Wayne Trotman President, Mid-Atlantic Region at JPMorgan Chase. “Together we were able to provide the financing critical to bringing access to affordable healthy foods and economic opportunity to this community.”
Howard Park ShopRite will not only provide much needed fresh foods, but is also creating 250 full-time and part-time jobs, many of which will be filled by neighborhood residents. The store will also house a small community health clinic and community rooms. The store is also supporting a cooking and nutrition education program for students of the adjacent Calvin Rodwell Elementary School.
“Access to healthy foods is a necessary first step to healthy eating and the Howard Park community knows that,” shared Ojeda Hall, Lead Organizer for Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development. “It is why hundreds of residents joined community leaders and institutions like the New All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Gwynn Oak United Methodist church to make their voices heard and bring this supermarket to the neighborhood. The excitement is palpable as we await the opening of this long-needed store in a few weeks.”
In addition to addition to a nationwide analysis of inequitable access, TRF also plans to develop more granular food access market analyses of targeted geographies. These in-depth analyses will include identifying locations where local demand would support new full-service stores and can serve as important investment guides for local stakeholders.
Finally, through this commitment, TRF is partnering with CDFIs across the country, sharing its financing and data expertise to improve healthy food access within their own communities. In addition to JPMorgan Chase, longstanding partners who have joined this effort include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Capital Impact Partners, IFF and Low Income Investment Fund.
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 trfund.com. Follow us on Twitter @trfund or Facebook at facebook.com/TRFund.
About Clinton Global Initiative America
The Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a program of the Clinton Global Initiative, addresses economic recovery in the United States. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made over 300 commitments valued at more than $15 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders year-round and at its Annual Meeting to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI also convenes CGI University, which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their communities and around the world. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
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