This post is for all of the CDFIs out there awaiting word on whether there will be a third round of HFFI funding.
As the CDFIs out there all know, the HFFI funding is a set aside within the larger FA (Financial Assistance) program. Although HFFI awards are specifically earmarked for healthy food projects, the ‘regular’ FA is also eligible for these projects.
In fact, the ‘regular’ FA has been accessed for these projects multiple times. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from the August 2012 FA round:
Lowcountry Housing Trust
North Charleston, SC
FA Award: $703,806
Contact: Tammie Hoy – (843) 973-7285
Lowcountry Housing Trust (LHT) is a non-profit certified CDFI established in 2004. The organization serves low-income residents within five counties—North Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Beaufort and Georgetown—in South Carolina, and provides financial products and development services to promote the creation of affordable housing. LHT will use its FY 2012 Financial Assistance award to offer flexible financing options that will increase production of affordable housing, improve access to healthy foods, and support local and regional community development lenders.
And then, even if a CDFI does not call out food-related business in particular, many CDFIs provide TA services (like financial consulting) and loan products to small businesses, and many food-related business fit squarely into this category.
The message here is that you don’t have to pin your hopes of developing programming that helps build healthy food systems to HFFI alone. As described above, the FA program can help, too. There are also myriad grant programs in the USDA and HHS that can be accessed by nonprofit organizations (including CDFIs and their partners) to the development of healthy food systems (click here for a great report on these programs: http://sustainableagriculture.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/6.18-FINAL-Food-System-Funding-Guide2.pdf.
Look here for the full list of FA awards.