What is the Michigan Good Food Fund?

Michigan Good Food Fund is a statewide loan fund that invests in good food enterprises working to increase access to healthy food and spark economic opportunity in places that need it most. Since 2015, the initiative has provided more than $17 million in loans and grants supporting 300+ Michigan-based food businesses that grow, process, distribute, and sell healthy food.Learn more.

We’re on the lookout for Michigan-based businesses that, with our support, can make a positive change in their communities. Support includes financing as well as business assistance with the goal to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and thrive.

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?

Michigan Good Food Fund's Stakeholder Board, assembled in 2021, co-creates the initiative's success, sets investment policies and priorities, informs strategies, and holds accountability to initiative partners as an active feedback loop with regular reporting. The Stakeholder Board includes entrepreneurs, capital and technical assistance providers, food system practitioners, and community partners from across the state. In 2021, Fair Food Network became the administrative manager of Michigan Good Food Fund. From 2015-2020, Capital Impact Partners led administrative management of the Michigan Good Food Fund. In 2021, Fair Food Network transitioned into this role.

Michigan Good Food Fund was developed by four founding partners: Capital Impact Partners, Fair Food Network, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Initial funders, including The Kresge Foundation, Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, and Northern Trust Corporation also supported this innovative effort alongside federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative funding.

See a complete list of our Stakeholder Board members and lending network.

Who has invested in the fund to date?

Investors in Michigan Good Food Fund have included 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 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?

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.

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

Loans of $250,000 and more are underwritten by lender 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 Detroit Development Fund, Fair Food Network's Fair Food Fund, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), Lake Trust Credit Union, Michigan Women Forward, and Northern Initiatives to underwrite loans less than $250,000 and bring deeper focus in select regions.

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.