The Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) founded in 1975 that uses HFFI financing to increase healthy food access in New England and eastern New York State. It combines financing and technical assistance to increase low-income consumers' access to healthy food through co-ops. Since its founding, CFNE has deployed over $51 million from social investors to make over 900 loans to new or expanding co-ops and nonprofit organizations, creating or retaining 11,800 jobs, 5,800 units of affordable housing, and thousands of business ownership opportunities. CFNE has experienced a remarkably high borrower repayment rate of over 99%, due in part to the broad community involvement required to successfully launch a cooperative.
To supplement its HFFI financing, CFNE launched its Food Cooperatives and Healthy Food Access program to help food co-ops better serve low-income communities. CFNE partners with Neighboring Food Co-op Association (a regional food co-op association), and Hunger Free Vermont (a state-wide food security organization) to document, promote, and improve food co-op healthy food access programs. This program is working with thirteen food co-ops with need-based discounts serving over 2,000 households.
CFNE has received three HFFI awards leading to over $6.2 million in loans to ten HFFI-qualified food co-ops, for their development and expansion around low-access communities throughout New England.
HFFI Projects and Impacts
- Four projects in Boston, Northampton, and Orange communities
- $800,000 loan to Harvest Food Co-op, Boston MA (urban), 102 jobs, launch of a third retail outlet, 9,000 sq. ft., in the Forest Hills neighborhood
- $825,000 loan to River Valley Market, Northampton, MA (rural), 119 jobs, $2.45 million leveraged, 15,000 sq. ft., refinance of NMTC deal.
- $20,000 loan to North Quabbin Food Co-op, Orange MA (rural), 5 jobs, $40,000 leveraged, 1,700 sq. ft., start-up of a new retail food co-op.
- $60,000 predevelopment line of credit to Dorchester Food Co-op, Boston, MA
- $1,819,975 of start-up and expansion financing
- 236 jobs
- 25,700 sq. ft. of retail space
Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
Fiscal Year 2011, $2MM, Fiscal Year 2012, $1MM, Fiscal Year 2015, $1.25MM, Fiscal Year 2017, $1MM committed