FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Overview

What is the Michigan Good Food Fund?

The Michigan Good Food Fund (MGFF) is a $30 million public-private partnership loan fund created to finance healthy food production, distribution, processing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities throughout Michigan.

It provides flexible capital to good food enterprises often overlooked by traditional banks. Lending is bolstered with business assistance to help entrepreneurs grow their ventures and prepare for financing.

Investing in these projects will increase access to healthy food, improve the health of children and families across Michigan, and spark economic development and job creation in the communities that need it the most. Dig deeper.

Why does Michigan need a healthy food financing fund?

An investment in good food is an investment in Michigan’s future.

Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation, with food and agriculture contributing $101.2 billion annually to the state's economy. Yet more than 1.8 million Michigan residents—including 300,000 children—live in lower-income communities with limited access to the nutritious fruits and vegetables they need to thrive.

The lack of access to affordable and nutritious food has serious implications for the health of our children and families. More than 30 percent of Michiganders are obese—the second highest rate of obesity in the Midwest region—costing the state $3 billion annually in related medical costs. This is not an urban or rural problem but something that affects places across our state. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted.

The Michigan Good Food Fund responds to these challenges with a financing opportunity.

How did it get started?

The Michigan Good Food Fund was initiated in 2013 with a $3 million federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative award to Capital Impact Partners for use in Michigan.

It is modeled after the pioneering Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, as well as the successful California FreshWorks Fund and similar statewide efforts in Illinois, Virginia, and elsewhere.

What are the goals and priorities of the fund?

The Michigan Good Food Fund is working to advance the following goals and priorities:

  • Healthy food access: Increase access to healthy food as a means to improve the health of all Michigan residents.
  • Economic Development: Drive economic development and job creation to grow Michigan’s economy.
  • Racial & Social Equity: Ensure equitable access to food, jobs, ownership, and flexible investment capital.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Encourage sustainable environmental practices.
  • Local Sourcing: Increase the sourcing and supply of locally grown and regionally produced foods.

How will it work?

The Michigan Good Food Fund provides financing and business assistance to good food enterprises that benefit underserved communities in Michigan.

Financing: We provide flexible, patient capital structured to meet the needs of the enterprises we serve. Our lending approach is mission-driven. As such, we are willing to invest in projects often overlooked by traditional sources of financing. Learn more about our financing services here.

Business Assistance: Lending is bolstered by business assistance to help entrepreneurs take their ventures to the next level and build a pipeline of investment-ready enterprises. Learn more about our business assistance services here.

Who is eligible to apply?

We support mission-driven enterprises working to increase access to healthy food for those who need it most in our state. This includes supermarkets, grocers, community markets, co-ops, food distributors, nonprofits, commercial developers, corner store owners, entrepreneurs, value-added producers, small business operators, and other innovators that grow, distribute, and sell fresh and healthy food that reaches low-income and underserved populations.

See more on eligibility here.

Who is involved?

The fund was launched by a broad coalition of food sector, nonprofit, higher education, government, and philanthropic partners.

Specifically, a task force was developed to inform the design and execution of the Michigan Good Food Fund. Task force partner organizations included: AFPD, American Heart Association, Avivar Capital, Cherry Capital Foods, Detroit Economic Development Corporation, Farmers on the Move, FoodLab Detroit, Growing Hope, Governor's Office of Foundation Liaison, Kalamazoo County Land Bank, Marquette Food Co-op, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Michigan Association of Land Banks, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Food and Farming Systems, Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign, Southeast Michigan Producers Association (SEMPA), and the USDA State Office of Rural Development.

The fund is grounded in the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and supports progress toward its goal that 20 percent of food consumed in Michigan comes from Michigan by 2020. It also leverages our state’s robust infrastructure and capacity—from strong community collaborations, to innovative nonprofits working and generous philanthropic support.

Core fund partners include:

Capital Impact Partners, a nonprofit-certified Community Development Financial Institution with a 30-year history of lending to projects in underserved communities, manages the fund.

Fair Food Network, a Michigan-based national nonprofit committed to building a more just and sustainable food system, is leading outreach and communications. It also provides business assistance and pipeline development for retail and small-batch processing projects.

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, a research, outreach, and education institution, is leading business assistance and pipeline development for agricultural production, aggregation and distribution, as well as processing projects.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation is one of the fund's supporters and investors. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life. It has made commitments in the form of grants, program-related investments, and mission-driven investments across the capitalization structure.

See a complete list of partners and funders here.

How big is the fund?

The fund has $30 million in available resources to support good food enterprises across Michigan.

Who has invested in the fund to date?

Current fund investors include Capital Impact Partners, The Kresge Foundation, the Max M. & Majorie S. Fisher Foundation, Northern Trust, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Are you accepting new investors/funders?

Yes. The Michigan Good Food Fund presents a strategic opportunity for foundations and other investors looking to make an impact. We are specifically looking for flexible grant capital to support innovative projects or high impact borrowers that may be overlooked by traditional financing sources.

We invite interested partners to join us in this important effort. Connect with us today

What parts of Michigan will be impacted by this new fund?

The goal of the fund is to impact all of Michigan by strengthening its food system, driving economic development and job creation, and creating greater and more equitable access to good food for all Michiganders.

Are there other healthy food financing funds in the United States? What’s been the impact?

Yes. The Michigan Good Food Fund is modeled after the pioneering Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, as well as other successful statewide healthy food financing efforts including the California FreshWorks Fund, the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, and the Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund.

These other healthy food financing efforts have demonstrated significant impact to date:

  • Pennsylvania: The healthy food financing campaign in Pennsylvania resulted in 88 new or expanded grocery stores, created 5,000 jobs, and increased healthy food access for nearly 500,000 people. Learn more here.
  • California: Based on the evaluation completed for California FreshWorks, which included three retail locations, the approximately $20 million initial investment in those three retailers led to an estimated $40 million of initial economic impact with an expected $30 million annual recurring impact, based on an economic multiplier model. Learn more here.

What makes the Michigan fund unique?

The Michigan fund provides financing and business assistance. There are three elements that make it unique compared to other healthy food financing efforts:

  • Support Michigan’s entire good food chain. Unlike other healthy food financing efforts, it will finance good food entrepreneurs across the regional food supply chain with a strong, but not exclusive focus on retail projects. Other models do not target processing and production, as the Michigan fund does. Coupled with our diversity of agricultural products, we expect the number jobs created to be much higher than similar models nationally. This is a first of its kind approach working to create financial and social impact throughout the food supply chain.
  • Serious focus on equity. This means ensuring equitable access to food, jobs, ownership, and flexible investment capital.
  • Leverage unique Michigan assets. This includes our state’s robust infrastructure and capacity—from strong community collaborations to innovative nonprofit efforts. Specifically, the fund will be grounded in the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and can serve as its financing wing. We also hope to leverage other innovations such as having Michigan’s SNAP incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks, included in supported retail projects.

What’s the relationship between the Michigan Good Food Fund and the Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign?

These are aligned, but distinct efforts.

The Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign aims to propel the Michigan Good Food Fund, and other food access efforts, by rallying state support through policy initiatives.

This campaign is led by the American Heart Association, the Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan Coalition and other organizations interested in increasing Healthy Food Access in Michigan.

Together, these efforts will lead to improved health outcomes for residents, spark economic opportunity and job creation, and help transform more communities across our state into places of opportunity.

Additional information about the campaign is available at www.healthyfoodmi.heart.org.

Is the Intermediary Lending Program in place? Who are the other lenders?

Loans of $250,000 and more are underwritten by fund manager Capital Impact Partners, a certified Community Development Financial Institution with a 30-year history of lending in underserved communities. The Michigan Good Food Fund is also partnering with select intermediaries including Northern Initiatives to underwrite loans less than $250,000.

How long does it take for a recipient to receive their funding or business assistance after applying to the fund?

We will review each project individually and aim to be as expedient as possible in responding to financing or business assistance inquiries.

How does the grant support work?

Limited grant dollars may periodically be available with the goal to prepare enterprises for financing.

We do not offer stand-alone grants. This support is not meant to replace existing grant programs offered through traditional philanthropic sources such as private and community foundations, corporate giving, or government programs.

What is the goal of the business assistance support and who is involved?

The goal of business assistance is to prepare good food enterprises for financing.

One-on-one consulting is available to enterprises on a path to financing. We also host periodic workshops for all stages of food businesses. These trainings target select geographic communities or specific food business sectors.

Business assistance is led by Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and Fair Food Network. Fair Food Network’s focus is grocery retail and good food entrepreneurs; the Center’s focus is production, aggregation and distribution, as well as agricultural and protein processing projects.

How can I get involved?

Whether you are a good food entrepreneur or potential investor or funder, there are many ways to get involved.

If you are a good food entrepreneur working to increase access to healthy food for Michigan children and families, financing and business assistance may be available.

As a fund partner you will maximize the impact of your work while joining a statewide community committed to transforming communities across our state into places of opportunity.

We invite interested funders and partners to join this important effort. Connect with us today for more information.