Man stocks shelves with healthy food

Capital Impact Partners Launches Innovative Response Fund to Bolster Inclusive, Healthy Food Systems

Awards will support Washington Metro Area good food providers to offer healthy food to communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Arlington, VA (June 17, 2020) – Capital Impact Partners announced today that it launched its DMV Good Food Fund (DMV GFF) Innovative Response Fund, providing $100,000 in awards to key partners  in order to sustain and stabilize mission-aligned good food enterprises in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Given with the generous support of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the awards will allow local good food enterprises to reposition and pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the regional food economy.

The recipients of the Innovative Response Fund are: the Latino Economic Development Center, Washington Area Community Investment FundCrossroads Community Food NetworkDreaming Out Loud, and EatsPlace.

“COVID-19 has caused significant disruption in inclusive, healthy food systems in communities with low incomes across the country, and the Washington, D.C. area is no exception,” said Olivia Rebanal, director of Inclusive Food Systems at Capital Impact Partners. “Through the Innovative Response Fund, we were able to ‘resource the pivot’ that so many food businesses in the region have had to make in order to remain open and continue offering healthy food options and employment opportunities in their communities.”

The DMV GFF promotes food sovereignty across the food systems value chain in the Washington, D.C. region (DMV) and explicitly supports entrepreneurs who are people of color and/or women/nonbinary individuals, most of whom have been historically excluded from economic opportunities within the food system. The Innovative Response Fund aims to create entrepreneurship and job opportunities for people of color and women/nonbinary individuals within the food economy, and increase access to healthy and/or culturally relevant and/or accessible food in communities where it is lacking.

In addition to expanding Capital Impact’s commitment to entrepreneurs of color and inclusive economic development in the DMV region, the Response Fund allowed the organization to respond to urgent needs around COVID-19 in alignment with its broader mission. Capital Impact also supports entrepreneurs and real estate developers of color across the region through the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and the Equitable Development Initiative.

“We are at a critical inflection point in our regional food economy, as we must move swiftly to provide emergency food aid for vulnerable community members, factoring in support for local farmers and producers — while not abandoning the values of equity, inclusion, sustainability, value labor and other keystone principals that have animated the good food movement,” said Chris Bradshaw, Executive Director of Dreaming Out Loud. “In this moment, this grant from Capital Impact Partners will support key infrastructure that will help Dreaming Out Loud to drive inclusion of Black, Brown, and women-owned farmers and food-makers into the emergency food aid and institutional food systems that will drive equitable economic recovery post-COVID-19 and beyond.”

“LEDC is thrilled to receive funding to support minority- and women-owned food businesses that have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marla Bilonick, executive director/CEO of LEDC. “The DMV Good Food Fund (GFF) Innovative Response Fund will help LEDC provide critical financial and technical support food-related businesses so they may survive and thrive in a post COVID-19 economy. We applaud Capital Impact Partners for their leadership in supporting a strong, vibrant, and inclusive food ecosystem in the DMV.”

Capital Impact is a co-founder and administrator of the Michigan Good Food Fund, a $30 million public-private partnership loan fund that provides financing to good food enterprises working to increase access to affordable, healthy food in low-income and underserved communities in Michigan. Like the Michigan Good Food Fund, the DMV Good Food Fund will use intermediary lenders to facilitate financing ranging from $1,000 to $6,000,000 to good food entrepreneurs at various points within the value chain. Funders interested in building community power by supporting local food businesses can reach out to Capital Impact for information on how to get involved. 

Here is a synopsis of the award recipients:

Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) – [$30,000] works to drive the economic and social advancement of Latinos with low-to-moderate incomes and other underserved communities in the D.C. and Baltimore Metropolitan Areas. Award funding will build on LEDC’s “Food Venture Initiative” to deliver workshops for D.C. food businesses at-large in addition to individual intensive coaching to a cohort of selected businesses. The aim is to help them to pivot their operations to survive the impact of COVID-19. This programming will help food businesses keep operations running, their employees on payroll, and revenue flowing during this unprecedented time.

Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) – [$20,000] works to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington, D.C. area by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in entrepreneurs with low and moderate incomes. Wacif also provides technical assistance to underserved entrepreneurs, including through its award-winning Ascend Capital Accelerator program. Funding will be used as a loan loss reserve that positions Wacif as a reliable source of safe, affordable capital for underrepresented food entrepreneurs, and will catalyze additional capital to make new loans or extend additional relief to existing borrowers.

Crossroads Community Food Network (CCFN) – [$20,000] helps its community of food growers, makers, and consumers in the primarily immigrant, low-income Takoma/Langley Crossroads community obtain food equity and self-sufficiency through microenterprise training, access to an affordable kitchen, and healthy eating programming. Funding will benefit small businesses based at the CCFN kitchen by providing customized technical assistance (TA) as they explore alternative income streams such as making to-go meals, offering take-home meal kits, and developing shelf-stable products. Funding will also be used to provide direct financial support to business owners to help offset expenses that continue to mount during COVID-19, including debt maintenance, inventory, insurance, and licensing renewals.

Dreaming Out Loud (DOL) – [$20,000] seeks to create economic opportunities for the D.C. metro region’s marginalized communities by building a healthy, equitable food system. DOL is responding to COVID-19 by supporting communities with direct food aid in partnership with nonprofits, farmers, local restaurants, and food makers by coordinating, producing, and distributing emergency meals and fresh vegetables. DOL has successfully helped five Black women-owned, D.C.-based food businesses pivot into emergency meal production in partnership with World Central Kitchen, and is poised to pivot and onboard an additional 3-4 producers.

EatsPlace – [$10,000] is a farm and food business accelerator whose mission is to provide innovative financial products, technical assistance, and development services to primarily African-American and Latinx entrepreneurs. Services include a community commercial kitchen that is a food hub and laboratory for pop-up restaurants. EatsPlace will use the award funding to work with D.C. entrepreneurs to pivot their business models to survive this economic crisis. This individualized guidance also includes financial technical assistance on the ever-changing landscape of grants and capital, regulations, and other resources.

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About Capital Impact Partners

Through capital and commitment, Capital Impact Partners helps people build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success. Through mission-driven financing, social innovation programs, capacity building, and impact investing, we work to champion key issues of equity and social and economic justice. Our commitment to community focuses on ensuring that individuals with low-to-moderate incomes have access to quality health care and education, healthy foods, affordable housing, and the ability to age with dignity.

A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, Capital Impact has disbursed more than $2.5 billion since 1982 to ensure that individuals with low-to-moderate incomes have access to quality health care and education, healthy foods, affordable housing, and the ability to age with dignity. Our leadership in delivering financial and social impact has resulted in Capital Impact being rated by S&P Global and recognized by Aeris for our performance. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, Capital Impact Partners operates nationally, with local offices in Detroit, MI, New York, NY, and Oakland, CA. Learn more at www.capitalimpact.org.

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