Accomplished leader with community and economic development expertise takes new role at the collaborative
31 January 2023 | ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Aaron W. Jackson joins Fair Food Network this month as its new Program Director of Michigan Good Food Fund. Jackson brings more than 13 years of community and economic development leadership to the Michigan-based national nonprofit. He will lead a diverse network of partners furthering the statewide food financing initiative’s investments in food entrepreneurs as engines of a more equitable future.
Michigan Good Food Fund was launched in 2015 as a statewide loan fund offering food entrepreneurs financing and business assistance that increases access to healthy food and sparks economic opportunity in their communities. In 2021, an independent Stakeholder Board was formed to help reset the vision for the collaborative, channel community input, refocus priorities, and keep the work accountable to those it seeks to benefit. The collaborative now aims to address two of the most pressing challenges of our time — growing inequality and climate change — through food.
Fair Food Network, an investor and founding member of the Michigan Good Food Fund, has served as administrative manager since 2021. The nonprofit worked with members of Michigan Good Food Fund’s Stakeholder Board to facilitate this exciting new hire.
“I’m inspired by the work of Michigan Good Food Fund and its work to increase equitable access to financing, jobs, and ownership across the state,” said Jackson. “I look forward to supporting more of Michigan’s food businesses to thrive in this new role.”
Jackson takes this leadership role at Fair Food Network at a time when Michigan Good Food Fund’s work is more needed than ever, with community food insecurity at record highs and small businesses, especially those led by entrepreneurs of color, struggling as the COVID-19 pandemic and record-high inflation rates continue. Jackson will work to expand partnerships with Michigan’s communities, partners, and lenders, opening economic opportunities for more food entrepreneurs, helping them to provide their communities with vital nourishment and economic opportunity, and furthering environmental stewardship.
“We are working toward greater equity in our food economy, increased access to healthy food for everyone, and a more sustainable ecological future. Aaron’s leadership and community and economic development experience working with partners across Michigan to advocate for social and economic change will be so valuable as we work toward this vision,” said Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network.
Prior to joining Fair Food Network, Jackson worked with the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project at the University of Michigan, where he led a collaborative that brings together small businesses with faculty-supervised student teams to provide a learning experience for students and solve business’ legal, financial, marketing, operational, and design challenges. He is the founder and principal consultant of The CorpVantage, a professional development consulting firm that offers leadership and soft skills training to further its clients’ professional success. Aaron is a co-chair of the New Economy Initiative/Neighborhood Business Initiative, dedicated to business development and growth in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park, Mich. He also serves as a planning committee member for the National Microloan Conference and on the advisory committee of the Oakland County Revolving Loan Fund and Detroit Means Business. He’s a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Jackson will be based in Detroit and can be reached at email@example.com.
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