Last week, the Reinvestment Fund announced the launch of a new America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Local and Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program (HFFI Partnerships Program). This new HFFI Partnerships Program expands the national HFFI program with $30 million in available awards to invest in local capacity and capital to establish and grow public-private partnerships, including partnerships involving cooperatives and cooperative development organizations.
The HFFI Partnerships Program will help to fund regional, state or local public-private partnerships that provide or will provide financing and technical assistance to food retail and food enterprise businesses—including cooperatives—working to improve access to fresh, healthy, affordable food for underserved communities. The application window for the 2023 HFFI Partnerships Program is now open. The application window closes on November 3, 2023.
The public-private partnerships include one entity that must be a public entity such as a local, state, tribal authority, government, or agency; the others may be cooperatives, co-op development centers, nonprofits, for-profit businesses, foundations, food policy councils, food systems, and food access organizations, among others.
The HFFI Partnerships Program offers financial assistance to eligible partnerships for two types of activities:
1) Capacity Building activities that will allow a new or existing Partnership to research, plan, or implement a Food Financing Program to provide more funding and technical assistance to Food Retail and Food Enterprise projects, including cooperatives. Grant awards for capacity building activities will range from $200,000-$1,000,000.
2) Credit Enhancement activities that will allow Qualified Lenders, such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), in the Partnership to increase the deployment of financial assistance to Food Retail and Food Enterprise projects, including cooperatives, in Underserved Areas. Grant awards for credit enhancement activities will range from $500,000-$3,000,000.
Each grantee will be eligible for up to $3,000,000 in total award funding. Future funding rounds may be available.
Cooperatives, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and cooperative development organizations have been involved in HFFI’s success since its creation over ten years ago. In 2021, cooperatives and cooperative development organizations received more than 25 grants through the HFFI Targeted Small Grants Program.
Interested applicants are encouraged to review the HFFI Partnerships Program Request for Applications (RFA) document. Want to learn more about the application process? On September 7 at 3 pm EDT, the Reinvestment Fund will host an informational webinar providing an overview of the eligibility and application requirements for the program.