Colorado

Federal Policy Efforts (State-specific)

​​​​​​​Colorado Enterprise Fund

Founded in 1976, The Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides loans up to $500,000 to finance small businesses and start-ups unable to secure funding through traditional banks. With a mission to accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, CEF has provided over $75 million in loans to almost 2,300 businesses to help create or retain over 19,000 jobs in the state. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with a satellite office in Fort Collins. CEF's lending and consulting services are available statewide.

CEF is a partner in The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) and is using its HFFI grant to finance food production, small grocery retail, and innovative healthy food businesses, including farmers markets, bodegas, food carts, and produce stands. Colorado Enterprise Fund has dispersed over $3.5 million in HFFI funds to 45 food businesses since 2013. This has helped to increase food access in both urban and rural parts of the state and to strengthen the local food system. Their loans are put toward equipment purchases, energy efficiency improvements, and leasehold improvements. CEF lends to all segments of the food system to foster healthy food access and economic development. Here are several examples of the work CEF has financed in Colorado:

HFFI Projects and Impacts

  • Crunchy Grocer, Loveland, urban
    • 7,620 sq. ft. food retail space created
    • New grocery store created
  • New Discount Store, Aurora, urban
    • 2,300 sq. ft. food retail space created
    • New grocery store serving Somalian and Ethiopian communities
  • Fairfax Market, Denver, urban
    • 14,000 sq. ft. food retail space preserved
    • Existing corner store expanding sale of healthy food in low-food-access area
  • The Kitchen Pantry, Canon City, urban
    • 180 sq. ft. additional food retail space created for a total of 630 sq. ft. food retail space
    • New fresh produce retail space in existing commercial kitchen in downtown
  • Hardin's Natural Foods, Hotchkiss, rural
    • 1,500 sq. ft. food retail space preserved
    • Existing rural, natural foods store, provides a low-cost buying club option for community
  • Fort Market, Fort Garland, rural
    • 4,500 sq. ft. food retail space preserved
    • Existing store, working to upgrade inefficient equipment and refresh old store interior/exterior,
    • Located in a food desert in a county with persistent poverty
  • Dia International Market, Aurora
    • 1,168 sq. ft. food retail space expanded
    • Existing African market expanding fresh food and meat offerings to immigrant community
  • Max Market, Denver, urban
    • 2,800 sq. ft. food retail space created
    • New store created in a low-food-access area
    • Partnership with Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund
  • Franko's Food Mart, Denver, urban
    • 4,000 sq. ft. food retail space created
    • Existing superette switching ownership and expanding healthy food options
    • Partnership with City of Denver Office of Economic Development and Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund
  • The Local Butcher, Denver, urban
    • 488 sq. ft. butcher shop created
    • Expanding access to fresh, local meat as part of a larger indoor market
  • Aladdin Market, Aurora, urban
    • 3,500 sq. ft. food retail space expanded
    • Existing African market expanding fresh food and meat offerings to immigrant community
  • Appleooz – Crunchy Apple Chipz, Boulder, urban
    • Value-added food product
    • Makes healthy dehydrated apple snacks that are becoming part of school lunches and snacks in Boulder County
  • Save-A-Lot, Denver, urban
    • 26,000 sq. ft. food retail created
    • First grocery store in 3 years in Montbello neighborhood. Includes community room and teaching kitchen
  • Asian American Market, Aurora, urban
    • 2,600 sq. ft. food retail space created
    • New market serving Thai and Burmese products for surrounding community
  • Valley Food Co-op, Alamosa, rural
    • 700 sq. ft. food retail space preserved
    • Co-op providing local and healthier options for community
  • Re:Vision, Denver, urban
    • Local non-profit incubating a community-owned grocery store in a food desert
  • LoCo Food Distribution, Fort Collins, urban
    • Distributor of Colorado grown and processed food to grocery stores and institutions along the Front Range

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal year(s): 2012, 2013, 2016
Fiscal Year 2012, $750,000, Fiscal Year 2013, $800,000, Fiscal Year 2016, $650,000

First Nations Oweesta Corporation

Based in Colorado, First Nation's Oweesta Corporation was a grantee of both the Native American CDFI Assistance Program and the HFFI CDFI program. They are the only existing Native CDFI intermediary offering financial products and development services exclusively to Native CDFIs and Native communities. They are using their funds to continue providing training, technical assistance, investments, research, and policy advocacy to help Native communities develop an integrated range of asset-building products and services, including financial education and financial products.

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program, Native American CDFI Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal year(s): 2014

State & Local Policy Efforts

Colorado Launches its Fresh Food Financing Fund

Seeded with a $7.1 million investment from the Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) will enable food retailers to provide fresh, healthy food in underserved Colorado communities. A public-private partnership fund, CO4F will make financing available for grocers that offer affordable and nutritious foods in areas where such goods are scarce.

Modeled after successful, national programs and aligned with the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, CO4F is designed 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 better food access
  • Partner with local governments when possible to enhance benefits and successes
  • Develop a Colorado model based upon national best practices

The statewide fund is the first of its kind in Colorado and was developed in response to recommendations from the Denver Food Access Task Force. CO4F aims to remove financial barriers from the construction, expansion, and renovation of grocery stores in underserved areas. For more information go to Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund.

As of August 2016, the CO4F has awarded more than $2.3 million to a variety of projects that serve communities in urban and rural Colorado including full service grocery stores, urban farms, mobile markets and more. A recent evaluation of the program by the Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health, Research and Evaluation found that the program was meeting its goals. 89 percent of shoppers at funded stores said since CO4F has invested in their community, they have better access to healthy food. CO4F-supported business owners reported increased sales and lower energy costs. Key stakeholders of the program applaud the geographic diversity of projects funded and note that no loans have defaulted.  The Colorado Health Foundation recently awarded CHFA a $600,000 grant to support CO4F operations for an additional two years.

Colorado Enterprise Fund

The Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is a partner in The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) and is using its HFFI grant to finance food production, small grocery retail, and innovative healthy food businesses, including farmers markets, bodegas, food carts, and produce stands. Expert small business lenders, CEF provides loans for equipment purchases, energy efficiency improvements, and leasehold improvements. CEF lends to all segments of the food system to foster healthy food access and economic development. You can find more information about the CEF here.

Source of money: HFFI CDFI Program

For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.

To find examples of other federal, state, and local policy efforts and initiatives -- as well as financing opportunities -- by going to Find Money & Policy Efforts by State.