May 27, 2020
The Reinvestment Fund (RF) recently announced the opening of 2020 applications for financial and technical assistance through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants program. Funding for the HFFI is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the Farm Bill to offer $3 million in grant funds for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to
revitalize low‐income communities.
Healthy Food Financing through The Reinvestment Fund
America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) is a public-private partnership administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas. Reinvestment Fund (RF) is appointed by the USDA to serve as the National Fund Manager (NFM) for HFFI, which has provided $300 million in grants and loans to healthy food projects since 2004.
Program Details and Eligibility
Eligible applicants for the HHFI Small Grants Program include for-profit, non-profit, and cooperatively owned businesses, institutions of higher education, state and local governments and tribal governments. Grant awards may be from $20,000 – $200,000, from which 20-30 awards will be distributed. Projects must support HFFI goals to improve access to healthy food in low-income, underserved, rural, suburban and urban communities.
Financial Assistance (FA) offered through a Targeted Small Grants Program will be one-time investments of capital into a food retail or food enterprise project in order to address higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas across the country. Examples of RF HFFI-funded projects might include:
Technical Assistance (TA) will be available for eligible organizations that are in a planning stage or early stage of a food enterprise (including retail) project. TA resources may include support with capacity building, identification of food access needs and potential interventions, project planning, market studies, and community or customer engagement. TA will be provided on a merit-based, non-competitive basis to eligible beneficiaries.
No match is required for grant and technical assistance programs, but HFFI grant awards may not be used as match for other federal awards.
While the HFFI program is not designed to provide emergency grant funds for operations during the pandemic, it welcomes applications for projects projects seeking funds for efforts affected by the pandemic and evolving food supply chain needs in the current and future environment. Applicants may use their discretion to propose a project that is or is not related to recovery from the pandemic, directly or indirectly.
The Application Process and Deadlines
The 2020 HFFI Targeted Small Grants (TSG) program will have a two-phased application process, starting with an informational webinar during the LOI submission period to provide potential applicants with an overview of the RF and application process, information on how to navigate the online submission process, and to answer questions about the program.
Tuesday, June 2 at 2pm EST: Informational Webinar
Friday, July 10 by 8pm EST: Lettter of Interest (LOI) submission due
Applicants will be contacted in August with the status of their LOI submission, and, if eligible, an invitation to submit a full application Eligible projects will be invited to submit a full application, which will be due 45 days after the invitation to submit.
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