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13 DC Food Businesses Owned By People of Color Receive $500,000 in Grant Funding from the Nourish DC Collaborative

Applications are now being accepted for an additional grant round totaling $400,000

March 10, 2023 (Arlington, VA/Washington, DC) – The Nourish DC Collaborative has announced their second round of grantees in neighborhoods with limited access to grocery stores and other food amenities. The $500,000 in grant funding will help create more opportunities for 13 food businesses owned by people of color in Washington, DC, as well as for the communities they serve, through access to healthier food, economic prosperity, and high-quality jobs.

The Nourish DC Collaborative provides food businesses with grants, technical assistance, and loans — focusing on communities that have experienced systematic underinvestment, poor health outcomes, and limited economic opportunities. Nourish DC was created in 2021 in partnership with DC’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and additional funding for this grant was provided by the Bainum Family Foundation. Capital Impact Partners, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) headquartered in the DC region, serves as fund manager for the collaborative, which also includes several other local CDFIs and technical assistance providers.

The latest round of grant awards brings the total of grants from the Nourish DC Collaborative to $900,000 since 2021. To date, the collaborative has also provided over $15 million in loans and given technical assistance to more than 200 food businesses.

“The Nourish DC Collaborative continues to work together to bring more food access and economic development to disinvested communities within the city,” said Alison Powers, director of economic opportunities for Capital Impact Partners. “DC residents not only want to have access to food and services near their homes, but they also want to start businesses and work in the neighborhoods they live in and feel connected to. The Nourish DC Collaborative model allows food businesses to access multiple financial and technical assistance providers to help their businesses pivot to face new challenges and opportunities.”

“When people in our community step up to fill gaps, to bring much-needed resources to our neighborhoods, we want to support them,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Nourish DC is an example of how we can support our small food business owners and work together to create new employment opportunities and thriving neighborhoods.”

There will be an additional $400,000 in grants available to regional food businesses through the “Keeping It Cool” grant program, which is specifically designed to support cold storage infrastructure and equipment needs. Funding for this grant has been generously provided by The Morningstar Foundation in affiliation with the Nourish DC Collaborative.

13 Businesses Owned by People of Color Receive $500,000 in Nourish DC Grants

All 13 grant awardees are either in District-designated low food access areas — which encourage investment in areas lacking access to groceries and fresh food — and/or in priority Wards 5, 7, or 8. 

Africa Kitchen LLC (Ward 8, $40,000 award) owns and operates Open Crumb, a restaurant serving West African and American soul food to the residents of Anacostia. It is also a pre-packaged food manufacturing business and a catering business delivering ready-to-eat meals throughout DC. The grant funding will be used to purchase a larger delivery vehicle, develop and implement a detailed marketing strategy to increase sales, and grow the business through the purchase of equipment to expand product offerings and improve operational efficiencies.  

“As we grow as a business, this grant will be essential in helping us build the critical infrastructure to meet new and exciting challenges we will come across,” said Abigail Opare of Open Crumb.

Blu December, doing business as KFresh (Ward 8, $25,000 award), established in 2013, is a catering business and farmers market vendor providing healthy food including fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods often lacking healthy food options. Grant funding will be used to expand the business to be able to deliver fresh, healthy food to Ward 8 seniors by funding equipment, marketing, staff training, and point-of-sale technology. 

“The Nourish DC grant will help sustain us at a time when we are dealing with major price hikes, employee retention, and surging transportation and delivery prices,” said Keisha Cofield of KFresh. “These funds will help us to continue to expand our fresh food delivery to seniors in Ward 8 and help keep our employees on payroll instead of sending them home or reducing their hours.”  

Constituent Services Worldwide Public Benefit Corporation (Wards 5 and 6, $20,000 award) is a culinary school and food distribution program providing DC residents with nutritional meals, creating work experience opportunities for culinary students, and providing food incubator options for culinary program entrepreneurs. The grant funding will support the expansion of the 1) current meal service to five days per week and 2) the training program through the purchase of cold storage equipment, technology, marketing support, and staffing.

Constituent Services Worldwide is blessed to be a recipient of the Nourish DC grant,” said Robert Jordan of Constituent Services Worldwide. “The grant will help expand our licensed certification school’s culinary and food distribution program to service more District residents with nutritional meals, increase work experience opportunities for culinary students, and create food incubator options for culinary program entrepreneurs.”

Cooking With Patrice LLC, dba Tae-Gu Kimchi (Ward 5, $45,000 award) is a consumer-packaged goods company that produces handcrafted napa cabbage kimchi in the Tastemakers DC commercial kitchen using the owner’s family recipe. The kimchi is sold at several DMV farmers markets, at local grocery stores, and through e-commerce. Grant funding will support the expansion of the business through the purchase of delivery vehicles, cold storage equipment, marketing, new product development, and production expansion with a co-packer. 

“The Nourish DC grant has given my business a chance to scale to the next level,” said Patrice Cunningham of Tae-Gu Kimchi. “The funds are going to propel us significantly in the next year by helping us purchase our packaging for our growth in wholesale (grocery), buy a truck to allow us to grow our farmers market presence, purchase more cold storage to expand our production capacity, grow our e-commerce, and most importantly create jobs and hire key members to join our team that will allow me the time and space to grow the business. In 2023, we expect to at least double our revenue from last year, become more profitable, and get us closer to becoming a national brand.” 

DYD Trading LLC / Elmira Market (Ward 8, $40,000 award) opened in 2007 and is a second-generation, Black-owned store in Ward 8 selling fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy as well as household staple products. Many of the food products are sourced from local suppliers. The grant funding will support cold storage upgrades that will improve inventory management, operating efficiencies, and product availability to customers. 

“The Nourish grant is incredibly important because of how the economy is now,” said Daweit Gebru of Elmira Market. “Supply chain issues, product discontinuation, and hefty price increases have led to customers seeking different outlets. Newer products have led us to want to purchase, but with a lack of space, we are forced to carry one or the other. With the Nourish DC grant, we will be able to carry more products, such as dairy with non-dairy options, fresh and frozen meat, as well as more fresh produce.” 

The Fresh Food Factory (Ward 8, $50,000 award) is a retail incubator market that serves Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8 and catalyzes economic development by providing commercial kitchen and market spaces, food industry/financial education, and business support to aspiring and existing food-related businesses. In addition, it is also involved in food rescue and distribution. Grant funding will support the expansion of fresh food access through funding for construction, equipment, furniture and fixtures, marketing, technology, and staffing of a full-service grocery store, eatery, and certified kitchen at 1516 Kenilworth Ave NE. 

“This grant is a crucial source of funding,” said Amanda Stephenson of The Fresh Food Factory. “It provides the necessary financial support to expand our operations; provides the gap funding we need to cover capital for construction, equipment, furniture and fixtures; and provides operational costs for technology marketing, payroll, and employee training.” 

The Gaston Group, dba Kitchen Savages (Ward 8, $40,000 award) is a sit-down restaurant providing a modern take on southern classics as well as providing on-the-job culinary training for at-risk youth living in Ward 8. Grant funding will support the continued build out of the Anacostia location through the purchase of key equipment, point-of-sale technology, tenant improvements, marketing, and employee training.

“Kitchen Savages is all about opportunity and hospitality training,” said Darrell Gaston of Kitchen Savages. “Born of tragedy, Kitchen Savages created Trap Sundays, a culinary training experience for at-risk young people as a way to provide a safe environment for them to learn life skills.” 

Green Fish LLC, dba Fight Juice (Ward 5, $45,000 award) produces juices by blending whole fruits and vegetables that include all the nutrients and fiber and providing customers with nutritious and good tasting servings of raw vegetables and fruits. The juices are sold at farmers markets in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and online. In 2023, the company will provide breakfast and lunch juices for Maya Angelou Public Charter School, located in Ward 7. Grant funding will be used to support the expansion of business through the purchase of a delivery vehicle and labeling machine to increase production and operational efficiencies. 

“The Nourish DC grant propels us closer to our goal of donating juice to schools in low-income communities where access to healthy food options is limited,” said Ivy Armstrong of Fight Juice. “This funding will help us solve our cold transport challenges and expand our deliveries to area schools.”

Inspire DMV Hospitality LLC (Ward 8, $40,000 award) produces affordable and nutritious meals for DC residents with limited access to healthy food, provides technical assistance and training to food service professionals, and co-produces Black Restaurant Week. The grant funding will support the expansion of the meal production, marketing, and distribution through purchases of a refrigerated delivery vehicle, production equipment, technology, marketing services, and employee training. 

“Access to food should not be predicated on geographical location or income. It should be easily available to all,” said Furard Tate of Inspire DMV Hospitality. “The Nourish DC grant is important to our business to achieve the mission of serving those who suffer from food insecurity in the District. Inspire DMV Hospitality will maximize the use of the awarded funds by purchasing training, equipment, refrigerated transportation, technology, and required permits, thus significantly improving production and distribution of more nutritious, amazing meals to individuals and their families.”

Marty’s Food and Catering (Wards 7 and 8, $30,000 award) is a community catering business founded to provide food for DC residents with complex social health needs and food insecurity that live in underestimated neighborhoods. This is accomplished through catering contracts with nonprofits and social service agencies. The grant funding will support the expansion of the business and customer base through the purchase of a delivery vehicle, marketing services, production equipment, and access to additional commercial kitchen space.  

“This grant was very important to me because I will be able to start my next-level approach for the business,” said William Weaver of Marty’s Food and Catering. “I had to work on my marketing and appearance, so I will be able to get those things that I need to keep the business going. Me receiving this grant is bigger than the money. I will be able to deliver meals on a consistent level throughout the city, so this is helping me and helping others at the same time.” 

Oh-Mazing Food (Ward 5, $40,000 award) produces artisanal, natural, nut-free granola snacks sold to retailers, corporations, and direct to consumers through online sales. The company also donates the products to DC food banks, and it hosts a summer youth program where they hire DC youth (paid at or above the DC minimum wage) and teach the youth about the business. The grant funding will support business expansion through a professional marketing strategy and implementation as well as the purchase of processing equipment to increase operational efficiencies. 

“We are thrilled to receive the Nourish DC grant, which will help propel our business to the next level,” said Stephanie Williams of Oh-Mazing Food. “We plan to use the grant to hire a sales manager, marketing, and for new packaging equipment to increase our efficiency.”

SouthEats LLC (Wards 7 and 8, $40,000 award) is a worker-owned cooperative meal-kit service providing affordable, locally-sourced, culturally relevant, and healthy meals to communities that have historically been excluded from accessing healthy food options. Grant funding will be used to support business expansion by funding tenant improvements, employee training, website and online ordering technology, and marketing support.

“As a grassroots worker-owned cooperative, the Nourish DC Grant will provide us with the technical support and capital to continue to grow and support the work we love,” said Xavier Brown of SouthEats LLC. “We are focused on using the funding to purchase from more local Black and Brown farmers, add more worker owners to the team, and increase the amount of DC residents we are able to serve. We are excited to continue to grow, evolve, and create more equity in the D.C food space, and this grant is a major catalyst towards our mission for food sovereignty.” 

Visionary Management Association, LLC dba Aurora Market (Ward 1, $45,000 award) is the only organic grocery store in the Park View neighborhood. The store provides access to nutritious food and is actively engaged with community gardens, nonprofits, DC Health, and local schools. The grant funding will support the construction of a street eatery, along with furniture and fixtures, growing containers to produce vegetables on-site, and equipment and facade improvements for the store. 

“This Nourish DC grant is an imperative resource for Aurora Market and supports our mission to provide nutritional food resources to underserved communities designated as ‘food deserts’ by the DC Mayor’s Office,” said Pablo Ortiz of Aurora Market. “We are beyond thankful for this opportunity to grow our business and support the community’s needs.” 

Keeping It Cool Grants: Apply By March 31

Applications for the Keeping It Cool Grant Program are open to for-profit food businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations providing food-related goods and services in the DC Metro region. A total of $400,000 will be made available in grant amounts ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. Applicants must have physical locations in either Washington, DC; Alexandria, Virginia; Arlington County, Virginia; Fairfax County, Virginia; Montgomery County, Maryland; or Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Informational webinars and office hours will be held on several dates in March 2022. To learn more and to apply, visit the Nourish DC website.

About the Nourish DC Collaborative 

In 2021, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) selected Capital Impact Partners as the fund manager of the Nourish DC Collaborative. The Collaborative, which consists of lenders and technical assistance providers, supports a robust and equitable ecosystem of locally-owned food businesses in all District neighborhoods,  with a particular focus on neighborhoods underserved by grocery and other food amenities.

The launch began with a $1 million award from DMPED, which was leveraged to attract additional funding from the Bainum Family Foundation, the Morningstar Foundation, and Prince Charitable Trust

In its first year, the Nourish DC Collaborative:

  • Provided $400,000 in grants for nine businesses: A1 Grocery Store; Circle 7 Food and Grocery Market; Mecho’s Dominican Kitchen; Pinke’s Eats; Plum Good; Rich Capital Concepts (VeggieDC Farmers Market); Three Part Harmony Farm; Turning Natural Juice Bar; and Wellfound Foods.
  • These grants have helped them grow their businesses, build local wealth, and provide quality jobs and healthier food options, particularly in District communities that have experienced historical disinvestment.
  • Provided more than $14.9 million in flexible loans. 
  • Supported food entrepreneurs’ success with robust and technical assistance. More than 200 food businesses have either received one-on-one or group technical assistance so far.

The Nourish DC Collaborative partners include Capital Impact Partners; Washington Area Community Investment Fund; Latino Economic Development Center; Dreaming Out Loud; City First Enterprises; EatsPlace; and CDC Small Business Finance.

About Capital Impact Partners:

Capital Impact Partners is transforming how capital and investments flow into communities to provide people access to the capital and opportunities they deserve. We work to champion key issues of equity and social and economic justice by deploying mission-driven financing, capacity-building programs, and impact investing opportunities.

Capital Impact is part of the Momentus Capital branded family of companies, including CDC Small Business Finance and Ventures Lending Technologies. Collectively, we offer a continuum of financial, knowledge, and social capital to help local leaders build inclusive and equitable communities and create generational wealth. This includes a comprehensive package of loan products, impact investment opportunities, training and business advising programs, and technology services that advance locally-led solutions.

A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, Capital Impact has disbursed more than $2.5 billion since 1982 to create access to critical social services, grow entrepreneurs, and create quality jobs. Capital Impact’s leadership in delivering financial and social impact has resulted in the organization being rated by S&P Global and Fitch, and recognized by Aeris for its performance. 

With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and San Diego, California, Momentus Capital operates nationally with a focus on larger urban areas and cities in Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Texas, and the Washington metro area.

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