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California FreshWorks Fund

In July 2011, California launched a new model for financing healthy food access, with leadership from philanthropy. The California Endowment and partners developed the California FreshWorks Fund (CAFWF), a public-private partnership loan fund created to increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities, spur economic development that supports healthy communities, and inspire innovation in healthy food retailing. CAFWF finances grocery stores and other forms of healthy food retail and distribution by providing a combination of loan and grant financing to eligible applicants. In it's first iteration, CAFWF raised more than $273 million and was administered by Capital Impact Partners. Currently, the Northern California Community Loan Fund is serving as the lead administrator of the program, in partnership with a diverse range of investors, advisers, and partners - view the full list here. For more information and to apply for funding please go to California FreshWorks.

  • To learn more about the impact of the California FreshWorks Fund, read this three-part evaluation commissioned by The California Endowment here


California Healthy Food Financing Initiative

In 2011, Governor Brown signed AB 581, the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CHFFI) into law. AB 581, introduced by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, finds that “access to healthy food items is a basic human right.” The bill will create the CHFFI in the State Treasury, to comprise federal, state, philanthropic, and private funds, for the purpose of expanding access to healthy foods in underserved communities and, to the extent practicable, to leverage other funding, as specified. Moneys in the fund would be expended upon appropriation by the legislature. A CHFFI Council will be created to develop financing options; define program parameters; and partner with government, nonprofit, and philanthropic agencies to advance the key goal of improving access to healthy food in underserved communities. See details of AB 581 for more information.

Policy Efforts to Watch: San Francisco Healthy Food Retailer Incentives Program

In September 2012, Supervisor Eric Mar introduced legislation to establish a Healthy Food Retailer Incentives Program, to be administered by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The proposal takes aim at a long-standing challenge in San Francisco to ensure there are an adequate number of grocery stores, especially in low-income neighborhoods. The legislation focuses attention on promoting and assisting stores that meet the criteria of being a “healthy food retailer.” The criteria include that at least 35 percent of the selling area contain fresh produce and no more than 20 percent of the area have tobacco or alcohol for sale. The program would analyze what areas are most in need of healthier food choices and figure out how to attract purveyors to those areas. The proposal calls for the creation of a “one-stop-shop” by July 1, 2013 for anyone looking to become a healthy food retailer. And, by fiscal year 2013–14, the proposal calls for at least one full-time city worker heading the program.


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