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Healthy Food Financing Initiative

Purpose:

The purpose of HFFI is to improve access to affordable, healthy foods in urban and rural areas, particularly areas composed predominantly of lower income neighborhoods and communities. Thus far funded through the Health and Human Services’ Community Economic Development Program and Treasury’s CDFI Fund, HFFI has distributed $220 million in grants since 2011; allocated millions in New Markets Tax Credits and leveraged resources from foundations, state and local governments. 100 community development organizations are using their HFFI grants to fund a wide range of healthy food projects that are designed to meet locally determined community needs and priorities, including the construction of new and renovated grocery stores, farmers markets, corner stores, food hubs, and urban farms.

The HFFI Targeted Small Grants Program will fund projects intended to “expand or preserve the availability of staple and perishable foods in underserved areas with low and moderateincome populations by maintaining or increasing the number of retail outlets that offer an assortment of perishable and staple foods in those areas; and accepts or plans to accept benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program established under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 USC 2011 et. Seq.)”

HFFI grant awards, through Reinvestment Fund, will allow much needed access to financial resources and expertise necessary to create and expand healthy food availability. Awards will consist of financial assistance and/or technical assistance to overcome higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas.
Awards of Financial Assistance under the HFFI program will be made on a competitive basis. Technical Assistance awards will be made on a non-competitive basis.

The USDA defines “staple foods” as “food that is a basic dietary item, which includes bread, flour; fruits; vegetables; and meat;” and defines “perishable food” as “staple food that is fresh, refrigerated, or frozen.”

In reviewing applications submitted in response to this RFA for Financial Assistance, Reinvestment Fund will give priority to projects and partnerships that are located or aimed at very low-income communities, as defined by the CDFI Fund of the Department of the Treasury (see definition below) and possess one or more of the following characteristics:

• Create or retain quality jobs for low-income residents in the community

• Support regional food systems and locally grown food to the maximum extent possible

• Be accessible by public transit in areas served by public transit

• Involve women- or minority-owned businesses

• Involve a Federally recognized Indian tribe, band, or nation organized as a group or community

• Receive funding from other sources, including other federal agencies

• Be located in, or serve, a rural area

HFFI projects present the opportunity to bring together stakeholders from distinct parts of the retail operating environment and financing sectors to foster understanding of how they might improve access to healthy food across the country. HFFI projects are also intended to support economic growth and revitalization in low income communities through the creation and preservation of quality jobs and improved health and well-being of community residents.

Receipt Date:

Expires: February 14, 2019

Total Awards:

 The total amount of all current available funding is $1,800,000.

Eligibility:

Applications may be submitted by for-profit organizations (including a corporation, limited liability company, sole proprietor, public benefit corporation), and nonprofit organizations (including 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) and partnerships. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude Reinvestment Fund from making an award.

Specifically, eligible organizations or partnerships may include: a food retail store operator, a food cooperative; a mobile market operator; a food hub; a partnership organized to improve access to fresh, healthy foods and provide financial and technical assistance to eligible projects (such as a state-based HFFI program); a CDFI that makes resources available to retail organizations; a farmers’ market. All applicants must confirm in their application that they meet the defined eligibility requirements.

Link: https://www.investinginfood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/HFFI_RFA.pdf