Grants

If you live in a community that does not have Healthy Food Financing Funds, your project may still be eligible for other grant opportunities if it fits within the grantmaker’s broader mission and funding priorities. Grants are highly competitive and it is good idea to spend time cultivating a relationship with the funder before submitting a proposal. Greens for Greens: Finding Public Money for Healthy Food Retail is a helpful guide on making a successful pitch for funding your healthy food project that will also meet a government agency’s areas of interest, such as business attraction, community health, commercial revitalization, job creation, or workforce development. Many online resources provide tips on how to write a successful grant proposal. One comprehensive resource is the Foundation Center.

Typically, eligible uses for grants include the following:

  • Project planning, feasibility analysis, and market demand analysis
  • Community engagement
  • Technical assistance
  • Startup or expansion of businesses
  • Capital expenditures such as building construction and purchase of equipment
  • Nutrition education programs
  • Workforce recruitment and job training

 

Looking for a grant for your project? Check out Available Funding.

Federal Government

In addition to the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, other federal grant programs can be used to support your project, even if at first glance they do not appear to have anything to do with improving healthy food access. The key to tapping these funds is to demonstrate that your project fulfills the agency’s mission and program objectives.


For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Assistance Program provides economically distressed communities and regions with comprehensive and flexible resources to address a wide variety of economic needs and lead to the creation and retention of jobs and increased private investment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Transformation Grant Program gives federal grants to state and local public health departments to support community-level programs that prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides funds to state and local agencies to invest in community revitalization projects.


You can easily make the case that building a grocery store in a low-income community, launching a corner store initiative to incentivize owners to stock healthy snacks, or starting a regional food hub that sources locally grown produce from small and socially disadvantaged farmers would fulfill these program goals.


Here are some resources that can help identify additional federal grant funds suitable for your healthy food project:
 

Check out www.grants.gov for a comprehensive listing of all federal grant programs.

State and Local Governments

Several regions, states, and cities have financing initiatives devoted to the creation and expansion of healthy food options in underserved communities. These financial resources are highlighted in the Healthy Food Financing Funds tab.


If your community does not yet have a dedicated source of funding for healthy food projects, explore other state or local government grant programs that may be used to help finance your project. Getting in touch with your community's public health, economic development, and redevelopment agencies can help determine what programs your state, county, or municipality may offer. Think broadly about the types of grants for which your project may qualify. Many healthy food projects are enterprises that may qualify for the grants and loans available to new businesses that will stimulate economic growth and offer new jobs. Other projects may be eligible for funding from public health departments because they will increase access to nutritious food in low-income communities.

Use the Economic Development Directory to locate economic development agencies in your area.


To learn more about launching and managing a healthy food financing program in your community, check out: Healthy Food Retail Financing At Work: Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative and The Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation.

Foundations

Foundations are another important source of grants for improving healthy food access. When looking for grants from foundations, start locally. Consider approaching family, community, and health foundations. Do not overlook corporate foundations, especially those affiliated with health insurance providers or with banks. For information about other potential charitable foundations that may have grants available, go to the Foundation Center’s Foundation Directory Online.
 

To qualify for a grant from a foundation, it is important to research the foundation, its grantees, its mission, and its criteria for eligible projects. A foundation may only be interested in a project because of its potential to create jobs, revitalize a commercial business corridor, or combat obesity. The goal is to ensure that your application makes a compelling case for why healthy food retail falls within a foundation’s broader mission and fits its grant-making criteria.


Please note that many foundations require a letter of interest or intent from potential applicants as the first step to receiving a grant application, and some foundations will not consider a proposal unless it has been requested by the foundation. Upon review of a letter of intent, the foundation will decide whether to invite an applicant to submit a grant application. Many online resources provide tips on how to write a successful grant proposal to meet a foundation’s goals and objectives. One comprehensive resource is the Foundation Center.