January 28, 2021

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Michigan Good Food Fund Invests $17M in Five Years Ann Arbor-based Michigan Good Food Fund…



Michigan Good Food Fund Invests $17M in Five Years

Ann Arbor-based Michigan Good Food Fund has invested $17 million in Michigan-based food businesses in its first five years, according to its recently released five-year evaluation report.

The first initiative of its kind in Michigan, supports businesses from farm to fork working to increase healthy food access and create economic opportunities in communities that need it most.

To date, it has supported more than 300 Michigan businesses with financing or business assistance, which in turn have created or retained more than 1,000 jobs in the state. Of those supported, 53 percent have been owned by people of color and 52 percent led by women. In addition, almost 80 percent support local sourcing, and 85 percent implemented at least one environmentally sustainable practice.

“Capital Impact Partners helped launch Michigan Good Food Fund as its inaugural administrative manager, leveraging our experience designing statewide healthy food financing initiatives,” says Olivia Rebanal, director of inclusive food systems at Capital Impact Partners. “We’ve been honored to lead the work to deliver deep impact to food enterprises statewide, and we remain committed to continuing to work to build more inclusive food systems in Michigan and in other areas of the United States.”

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.

As the initiative grew, a network of lenders came together to support financing at different sizes while ensuring statewide coverage. Lending partners include Detroit Development Fund, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, Lake Trust Credit Union, Michigan Women Forward, and Northern Initiatives. This collaboration of lenders can provide financing to good food enterprises ranging from $2,500 to $6 million. This year, Fair Food Fund, Fair Food Network’s impact investing arm, will become a lending partner bringing equity and near-equity capital products.

“Michigan Good Food Fund is a powerful mechanism to advance health equity for communities across the state,” says Mark Watson, managing director of the Fair Food Fund at Fair Food Network. “Leading this next chapter, we will make strategic investments in communities that build employment, health, and racial equity — whether it’s growing more equitable access to food, jobs, ownership, or flexible investment capital.”

First published by DBusiness on January 28, 2021.

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