The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit economic development organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with branch offices in Cleveland and Toledo. ECDI’s mission is to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change.
The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) is using HFFI financing to support the Food Desert Community Outreach and Jobs Creation Program in Columbus, Ohio. The program’s goal is to increase healthy food access and generate jobs for low-income individuals by creating a revolving loan fund for food-related businesses. ECDI is also working to develop an FCI Plaza Market grocery store and a community food commissary that serves as an incubator for food-based businesses. ECDI is also working with Green City Growers of Cleveland to develop a 3.25-acre hydroponic greenhouse, which will employ 40 residents and be the largest inner-city greenhouse in the U.S.
With funding from OCS in 2012, ECDI worked with The Green City Growers of Cleveland (GCGC) in the development of the largest inner-city greenhouse in the U.S. Green City Growers had their first harvest in September, and are currently expanding to hire 40 new employees.
ECDI used its 2012 HFFI funding to provide capital, training, and technical assistance in the Greater University Circle (GUC) neighborhood. The project consists of a revolving line of credit in the amount of $350,000 and a $50,000 permanent working capital term loan for Green City Growers Cooperative (GCGC); a revolving small business loan fund of $100,000 for healthy food businesses in the GUC neighborhood, including businesses that provide services to or purchase produce from GCGC, and targeted training and technical assistance designed to help portfolio business acquire the capital they need to start or expand and create jobs. We have had over 33 unique users and have provided incubation services to 20 small businesses looking to start food-based businesses. Several of the incubated businesses are in a position to now apply for funding, thus creating additional jobs under the grant. It is anticipated by next reporting period we will have financed 5 of these businesses, which will have created an additional 10 jobs. ECDI matched HFFI funding on a one-to-one basis.
- 304 jobs created, 49 of which are full-time jobs for low-income individuals
- 33 unique users and 20 start-up food businesses using their capital, training, and technical assistance
- 4,000 sq. ft. of food business incubation space created
- Development of largest inner-city greenhouse in the country
- Financing to open grocery stores in inner-city neighborhoods
Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal year(s): 2011, 2012