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
Honest Weight Food Co-op, Albany NY, urban
- $1,250,000 loan; $5 million leveraged; relocation of the food co-op into a larger facility
- 71 jobs created or retained
- 18,000 sq. ft. of retail space
Greenstar Food Co-op, Ithaca NY, rural
- $1,038,496 loan for expansion to third site
- 22 jobs created or retained
- 3,000 sq. ft.
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