Hope Enterprise Corporation

Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) is a community development financial institution that provides affordable financial services and leverages private, public and philanthropic resources to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of the Deep South. Since 1994, HOPE has generated over $2 billion in financing and related services for the unbanked and under banked, entrepreneurs, homeowners, nonprofit organizations, health care providers and other community development purposes. Collectively, these projects have benefited more than 1 million individuals throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. 

Given the Mid South’s historic lack of grocery stores in small towns and cities and the decline in grocery stores in low-income and urban areas, HOPE has provided over $42 million in financing for healthy food retail projects. 

The financing provided through HOPE’s partnership with the city of New Orleans’ Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) has improved food access in food deserts. Prior to Katrina, New Orleans had one of the highest concentrations of food deserts in the country. Additionally, access to healthy food was disparate based on the racial demographics of neighborhoods within the city. Ten years after the storm, a study conducted by Tulane University found that the number of food deserts had declined significantly and that both African American communities and white communities had similar access to healthy foods. The authors of the study cited the FFRI as one major factor contributing to closing this equity gap. Hope was first selected in 2011 by the City of New Orleans to manage the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative – which provides grants and loan funding to fresh food retailers in underserved areas – HOPE has financed fresh food retail projects exceeding $42 million, and has developed over 179,000 square feet in additional grocery store space to help expand access to healthy food in low-income and underserved communities. HOPE has assisted 61 projects; provided financing to several retailers; and leveraged $38 million in non-city funds. 

HFFI Projects & Impacts
BCC Leverage (Whole Food), New Orleans, LA

  • Urban area grocery store
  • $17,968,992 Leveraged
  • 22,000 Square Feet
  • Total Project cost: $18.9 Million; Funds were used for construction costs.

Circle Food Store – New Orleans, LA

  • Urban area grocery store
  • $11,400,000 Leveraged
  • 17,000 Square Feet
  • Total Project cost: $9.2 Million
  • Funds were used for construction costs.

Jack and Jake's ( Dryades Public Market), New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Urban area grocery store
  • $11,400,000 Leveraged
  • 22,000 Square Feet
  • Total Project cost: $3.4 Million
  • Funds were used to purchase equipment.

Marketfare LLC, Roberts Fresh Market, New Orleans, LA Urban

  • $2MM leveraged; $11.5MM used for construction costs, equipment, and inventory
  • 23,140 sq. ft.