Awesome News! South Philly Food Co-op Wins Major Grant from The Reinvestment Fund

On the Heels of a membership milestone and successful Garden Tour fund raiser we have the following news to share with members, prospective members and everyone who supports the cooperative movement! Since the founding of the South Philly Food Co-op in 2010, 300+ members have invested time and equity toward the establishment of a member-owned grocery store that will provide nutritious food to all South Philadelphia residents. The impact of those investments has just been significantly amplified thanks to a major grant from The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a national leader in the financing of neighborhood revitalization projects. The South Philly Food Co-op has been awarded a $25,000 Food Access Grant — a huge vote of confidence in the mission and leadership of the South Philly Food Co-op, an assurance that the large majority of its members’ investments will go directly to opening the store, and a giant boost for what the Co-op will be able to accomplish in the immediate future. “This grant and TRF’s support is fantastic validation for 29 months and literally thousands of hours of work by our all-volunteer group of committee, board and community members,” said Alison Fritz, President of the South Philly Food Co-op Board of Directors. "This funding will help us take a HUGE step forward in developing the talent, systems, capital and vision necessary for the success of the Co-op.” The Food Access Grant Program endeavors to assist food-based nonprofits to undertake programs and projects that will expand underserved Pennsylvania residents’ access to healthy food choices; create and preserve quality jobs; and foster an environment that supports the development of community-based food cooperatives. The South Philly Food Co-op will use the grant to move even closer to opening a storefront through:
  • Building infrastructure and internal systems (including CiviCRM, its constituent relationship management system);
  • Developing a pro forma with the expertise of a consultant to model the anticipated cash flows and revenues necessary for lenders
  • Honing its business plan; and
  • Creating a more dynamic and sustainable organization that is prepared for the next stage of development.
This award is part of a larger trend of co-op expansion in the Greater Philadelphia area. TRF has awarded food access grants of $25,000 each to the South Philly Food Co-op and the Kensington Community Food Co-op (KCFC). For the leaders of these two start-up organizations, these grants together represent the commitment of a major funder to Philly’s growing cooperative movement and the movement’s focus on healthy food access. Food co-op development has been bolstered by the rise of regional associations like the Mid-Atlantic Food Cooperative Alliance, to which the South Philly Food Co-op and KCFC belong, along with two of Philly's established co-op groceries, Mariposa Food Co-op and Weavers Way Co-op. For the South Philly Food Co-op, the grant comes on the heels of its successful South Philly Garden Tour fund raiser, which yielded over $3,500 in net proceeds and 10 new members on the day of the tour. Those 10 new applicants have brought the South Philly Food Co-op up to 305 total member-owners, bringing it ever closer to another important membership milestone of 400, at which point the Co-op will begin to secure a loan toward the establishment of a storefront. More details about this grant as well as other updates about the Co-op’s progress toward opening its doors will be topics when the South Philly Food Co-op holds its fall membership meeting on Thu., Oct. 25, from 6 -7:45 p.m. at the Edward O’Malley Athletic Association in Pennsport (on Moore Street between Front and Second). Members — and those interested in becoming members — are encouraged to attend. For more information on becoming a member of the South Philly Food Co-op, visit southphillyfoodcoop.org. About The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America's distressed towns and cities, through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has invested over $1.1 billion in Mid-Atlantic communities since 1985. A CDFI, TRF finances housing, community facilities, food access, commercial real estate and energy efficiency projects. It also provides public policy expertise by helping clients create actionable solutions and by sharing data and analysis via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com.