Funds will be used to provide technical assistance, catalytic grants, and lending products to support D.C. food businesses and create an equitable food system
Arlington, VA (May 6, 2021) – Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser awarded Capital Impact Partners $1 million to manage the newly announced Nourish D.C. Fund. This fund, part of the $5.2 million D.C. Local Equity, Access, and Preservation Funds (D.C. LEAF) program, aims to support a robust ecosystem of locally owned food businesses in District neighborhoods by investing in BIPOC-owned businesses that otherwise struggle to access capital and also promotes health equity in the city.
“We invest in local businesses because they are the backbone of our economy, they are trusted and valued community partners, and they represent the dreams and aspirations of our residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are proud to support entrepreneurs that step up to help us build a more inclusive and diverse economy, and these LEAF grants represent a $5 million investment in our D.C. values.”
Through the Nourish D.C. Fund, Capital Impact will work with a coordinated collaborative of technical assistance providers and lenders with deep roots in the District to support an equitable D.C. food system. The goal is to foster an inclusive food system that provides economic opportunities and access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, particularly in communities impacted by historic disinvestment and structural racism.
Capital Impact and partners will leverage this $1 million award to attract an additional $2 million to the fund, expanding its ability to support District food businesses including:
- Deploying at least $3 million of financing
- Supporting food entrepreneurs’ success with robust technical assistance
- Awarding at least $200,000 of catalytic grants
- Launching the first Food Policy Innovation Award
“Inclusive food systems are critical to the health of communities, and to their economic prospects. Food businesses provide opportunities for improved health and wealth building for many people in the District. Now is the time to expand those opportunities to earn a good wage, work with dignity, and pass down wealth to the next generation, and the Nourish D.C. Fund is an excellent catalyst for that vision for all D.C. residents, particularly those in disinvested neighborhoods in the city,” said Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners and CEO of CDC Small Business Finance.
Through the Nourish D.C. Fund, Capital Impact will work with a number of key partners including Dreaming Out Loud (DOL), EatsPlace, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), and the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif).
The Fund also represents another effort by Capital Impact and CDC Small Business Finance, which recently joined their operations and launched a transformative new enterprise to innovate how capital and investments flow into historically disinvested communities. Washington, D.C. is a pilot area of operations along with Detroit and Los Angeles.
“We are proud to be part of the Nourish D.C Fund. The combination of our small business lending expertise alongside Capital Impact’s longtime local community development work will help us drive greater change within D.C. communities. This effort showcases the magnified impact we are capable of through our new enterprise with Capital Impact and our joint commitment to supporting the D.C. community and beyond,” said CDC Small Business Finance’s Chief External Affairs Officer Robert Villarreal.
How Nourish D.C. Will Invest in Local Food Entrepreneurs
Nourish D.C. will increase technical assistance, provide catalytic grants, and lending products to enterprises throughout the District, with a focus on programmatic and financial products for BIPOC-owned small businesses which have encountered historical barriers to accessing the technical assistance and capital needed for their businesses to grow and thrive.
These ranges will allow the Nourish D.C. Fund to meet the needs of food enterprises across the value chain (i.e. from small-batch processing where needs might be smaller to retail grocery where needs might be larger) and across life cycles of a business (i.e. from start-up where needs might be smaller to expansion where needs might be larger). Technical assistance delivery models may include one-on-one consulting; short-format seminars/webinars; access to a kitchen incubator; mentoring; and multi-day, cohort-based intensive training.
Through these tools, Nourish D.C. will increase entrepreneurs’ business acumen and capital readiness and will compliment other District programs providing grants and resources such as the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund (NPF), the Great Streets Program, and the D.C. Capital Connector.
“We’re at a moment where nourishing D.C. must be a comprehensive effort, driving holistic repair of our communities; supporting locally-owned food businesses is a vehicle for economic opportunity for Black and other marginalized folks and a lens into examining and dismantling the policies and practices of structural racism which have led to the racial wealth gap and unequal, racialized life outcomes,” said Christopher Bradshaw, executive director of Dreaming Out Loud.
“The food industry provides a path to jobs and entrepreneurship for many people. EatsPlace is excited to be working with Capital Impact Partners to provide technical and financial assistance to this hard-hit industry,” said Katy Chang, chef and founder of EatsPlace.
“We are excited to partner with Capital Impact Partners as they launch the Nourish D.C. Fund. Food businesses that promote access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods are needed in the District. This Fund is a major step forward in creating healthy, thriving communities in D.C.’s most underinvested areas,” stated Marjorie Nemes-Galarza, interim executive director & CEO, Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC).
“Driving access to healthy food in underserved communities is a key strategy of Wacif’s commitment to an equitable economic recovery,” said Wacif CEO Harold B. Pettigrew, Jr. “We thank Mayor Bowser for her leadership on this issue and look forward to deepening our strategic partnership with Capital Impact Partners through the Nourish DC Fund.”
Creating an Ecosystem of Impact
D.C. LEAF incorporates three separate programs to support local entrepreneurs including: the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, the Nourish DC Fund, and the Locally Made Manufacturing Grant Program.
A number of graduates of Capital Impact’s Equitable Development Initiative were named as awardees during this announcement:
- Thomas Houston’s Medici Road, Inc. received a $500,000 Neighborhood Prosperity Fund Grant for his development at 4726 Sheriff Road, NE, which includes a community operated grocery store, coworking offices, and headquarters for Medici Road.
- Babatunde Oloyede’s Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, Inc. received a $300,000 Neighborhood Prosperity Fund Grant for the development of the Prosperity HUB. This project consists of a community culinary kitchen including catering and event space, retail Grab-N-Go Café, market, and makerspace showroom, and a small business incubator and service center with optional back-office support services.
- D.C. Central Kitchen, Inc., which is being supported by graduates Diarra and Alexis McKinney of Rosewood Strategies, received a $340,000 Neighborhood Prosperity Fund Grant for the development of a 36,000 sq. ft. commercial facility on Buzzard Point that will play a catalytic role in the completion and opening of a retail café, production kitchen, and related office space.
To learn more about these funds and programs, read the D.C. government press release.
Capital Impact’s Long-standing Investments in the Washington Metro Area
Capital Impact has extensive experience supporting businesses that improve local food systems, including more than ten years of experience managing good food funds in California and Michigan. Our inclusive food systems work has been specifically designed to build and support equitable food systems in communities in need of healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate food and economic opportunities. Initiatives we have supported include the Michigan Good Food Fund, the California Freshworks Fund, the California Community Grocers Fund, and the DMV Good Food Fund Innovative Response Fund.
In addition to supporting local businesses, Capital Impact has played an integral role in expanding and preserving affordable housing in Washington, D.C. as the fund manager of the DHCD Preservation Fund. First selected to manage the fund in 2018, Capital Impact has leveraged funding from the D.C. government to deploy low-cost and flexible financing to private nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit developers that are working with D.C. residents to preserve their housing. A unique aspect of the fund is how it supports the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). TOPA gives residents of for-sale, multifamily, residential properties the right of first refusal to buy their properties, allowing them to work with mission-driven developers to purchase the buildings, maintaining affordable rents and preventing displacement and gentrification.
ABOUT CAPITAL IMPACT PARTNERS
Through capital and commitment, Capital Impact Partners helps people build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success. Through mission-driven financing, social innovation programs, capacity building, and impact investing, we work to champion key issues of equity and social and economic justice. Our commitment to community focuses on ensuring that individuals have access to quality health care and education, healthy foods, affordable housing, cooperative development, and the ability to age with dignity.
A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, Capital Impact has disbursed more than $2.5 billion since 1982. Our leadership in delivering financial and social impact has resulted in Capital Impact being rated by S&P Global and recognized by Aeris for our performance. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, Capital Impact Partners operates nationally, with local offices in Austin, TX; Detroit, MI; New York, NY; and Oakland, CA. Learn more at www.capitalimpact.org.