CHICAGO, IL --(Marketwired - September 28, 2016) - Midwest nonprofit lender IFF will continue improving access to fresh food and promoting better nutrition in underserved communities through $3 million awarded as part of the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative. HFFI is a program of the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
Over the next three years, IFF will leverage these funds with additional public and private resources and provide $7 million in financing to full-service grocery store operators and nonprofits in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. The funds also may support lending to mobile food retailers, farmers markets and cooperatives.
To promote better, long-term nutrition in these communities with limited access to healthy food, IFF encourages grocery store operators to lead or support community engagement efforts with local groups. Activities at stores financed by IFF include cooking classes, nutrition and fitness recommendations on display, and coupons for health food items.
"We remain committed to bringing more fresh foods to underserved communities," IFF President and CEO Joe Neri said. "In recent years, with the support of the HFFI program, we have been able to attract full-service grocery stores to places that range from Chicago to Des Moines and East St. Louis. This new grant will help us reach more neighborhoods."
Since launching its healthy food lending program in 2011, IFF has closed on 12 loans totaling $11.7 million to support both major retailers and independent grocers in nine food deserts across the Midwest, yielding over $40 million in total community investment. IFF also financed, developed, owns and manages the buildings for two Save-A-Lot grocery stores in Rockford and Waukegan, Ill.
IFF also received a $1.65 million financial assistance award from the CDFI Fund to support its core lending to nonprofit health and human services providers across the Midwest.
In total, 158 organizations serving 48 states and the District of Columbia received grants totaling $170.2 million from the CDFI Fund. They were selected from 457 applications.
IFF is a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant and developer that helps communities thrive by creating opportunities for low-income populations and individuals with disabilities. From child care to senior housing, IFF works closely with clients from every sector, offering affordable, flexible financing; full-scale real estate consulting; and community development services. Since 1988, we have made over $620 million in loans, leveraged $1.7 billion in community investments and grown our total managed assets to $498 million.