Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that the nonprofit Virginia Community Capital (VCC) has received a $2,643,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund to support its community development efforts in the Commonwealth. That grant includes a $1,000,000 Healthy Food Financing Initiative award, design to help make investments in healthy food projects serving low-income communities.
CDFI recently awarded $202 million to 195 organizations across the country. CDFIs and Native CDFIs receiving these funds will have an expanded capacity to lend and invest in low-income and economically distressed communities.
Speaking about the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “We are delighted Virginia Community Capital (VCC) has received this $2,643,000 award to drive economic development throughout Virginia communities, and that so much of that funding will go toward healthy food access. One of the key components to building a new Virginia economy is ensuring that no Virginia child or family goes hungry. By bridging this nutritional divide, we can enhance the lives of many Virginians while also growing our local agricultural economies.”
Virginia’s First Lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, stated, “All Virginians, and especially children and young adults, must have access to nutritious, affordable, and locally-sourced foods that will enable them to learn, grow, and thrive. As Chair of the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide, I am very pleased that $1,000,000 of the total award to VCC will be used for healthy food financing that will encourage the development of innovative and sustainable retail models to provide access to healthy foods in food deserts.”
“I congratulate VCC on receiving this award,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “CDFIs are providing access to capital for low-income people in communities all over the country, and Virginia is fortunate to have an outstanding CDFI like VCC that can help us in our community development efforts.”
In Virginia, over 1.7 million residents, including 480,000 children, living in low-income communities have low access to supermarkets and grocery stores. Due to the lack of healthy, local, and fresh foods, these distressed communities have disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. Nearly 30 percent of Virginia’s children are obese. By the year 2030, over one million Virginians are expected to have diabetes and two million are expected to have heart disease.
Jane Henderson, President & CEO of VCC stated, “VCC is honored to receive this first time healthy food financing award from the CDFI Fund. This funding will expand residents’ access to healthy foods by financing grocery stores in Virginia’s food deserts.”
Ms. Henderson was appointed to the Governor’s Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide last December.