CEI helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and other rural regions by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. We envision a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential.
CEI believes that our economy should work for everyone. As a mission-driven investor, CEI works closely with the businesses we finance and advise to address operational, workforce, and environmental challenges, while deepening our impact in key industries, such as farming, aquaculture, and food manufacturing, that can contribute to an inclusive and environmentally sustainable economy. We also provide counseling and training for individuals and families, recognizing that building assets and managing debt, as well as a good job, are key ingredients for family financial security.
CEI used CDFI-HFFI and CED-HFFI funds to support 36 transactions with 28 unique clients for a total direct investment of $5,072,429. This leveraged $25,352,276 in other sources and supported the creation or retention of 182 jobs. Most of the transactions were loans, but also include three equity investments and support for multiple Halal grocers through a specialty lending product. Deals ranged in size from $5,000 to $1,000,000, and included 12 farm deals, 7 food processing or food manufacturing deals, and 17 food retail deals. All but one transaction were in rural areas. Retail funds were used for equipment, inventory, store refreshes, acquisition, and new construction. Retail stores ranged in size from 2,500 square foot Halal groceries to 15,000 square foot full-service grocery stores.
CEI used HFFI-CED funds to support a loan fund that financed and provided workforce assistance to two Maine businesses. Each of the businesses supported by the loan fund is located in or serving a food desert or an area without access to healthy food. The businesses included a retail store and a meat processing facility. As the fund revolves, it will be available to serve additional food deserts and will provide financing and assistance to other food retail outlets, farmers, and food distribution businesses. This project created 49 full-time jobs (29 low-income individuals accessed employment), provided job-specific training resources for workers and provided funding for project management and technical assistance.
- Supported organic and diversified vegetable farmers and dairy farmers in diverse regions of the state;
- Supported processing facilities that support farmers and increase availability of Maine-grown healthy foods in consumer markets, particularly in low-income rural communities;
- Healthy General Store Initiative: Incorporated healthy foods into very rural general stores, in collaboration with The Food Trust and Healthy Acadia, a local public health agency
Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program, HFFI CED Program; Fiscal year(s): 2011, 2014