Keeping with its strategy of promoting healthy communities, the Colorado Health Foundation’s Board of Directors recently approved a $7.1 million grant to establish the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F).
This public-private partnership loan and grant fund will provide financial incentives for grocery stores and other food retailers in underserved communities throughout Colorado. The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) will serve as the fund administrator.
CO4F will be modeled after successful, national programs aligned with The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The goal of CO4F is to:
- Improve retail access to fresh and healthy foods in Colorado
- Encourage economic development in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods
- Provide attainable financing to food retail outlets that will promote more and better food access
- Partner with local governments when possible to enhance the benefits and success
- Develop a Colorado model based upon national best practices
In fall of 2011, the Denver Food Access Task Force released “Healthy Food for All: Encouraging Grocery Investment in Colorado,” which outlined policy recommendations to improve access to affordable, healthy food and stimulate economic development in Denver and throughout Colorado.
Using those recommendations as a blueprint, a CO4F working group explored ways to remove barriers that prevent Colorado’s underserved population from obtaining healthy food. The working group was chaired by Cameron Bertron of EFG Brownfield Partners. Other representatives were from the Foundation, CHFA, the Denver Department of Environmental Health, the Denver Office of Economic Development, the Colorado Enterprise Fund, the Mile High Community Loan Fund and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.
An official launch of the fund is expected in early 2013. More details about this exciting program, and how to participate, will be announced throughout the year.
In the meantime, contact Khanh Nguyen, portfolio director of Healthy Living, for additional information.