A Milwaukee neighborhood with very few fresh food options nearby will be home to a full-service Save-A-Lot grocery store next year, creating up to 30 new jobs and revitalizing an area of the city in need of redevelopment. Last month, IFF closed on a $1 million loan for the former Lena’s Food Market to be acquired and converted for this purpose.
Recently, IFF received a $3 million Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to support fresh food access efforts in the Midwest. IFF will leverage the allocation with additional resources to provide $7 million in financing to grocery store operators and nonprofits in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
To promote better, long-term nutrition in the neighborhood, IFF encourages the grocery store operators it works with to lead and support community engagement efforts with local groups, including cooking classes and coupons for healthy food items.
Since launching its healthy food lending program in 2011, IFF has closed on 12 loans totaling $11.7 million to support both major retailers and independent grocers in nine food deserts across the Midwest, yielding over $40 million in total community investment. IFF also financed, developed, owns and manages the buildings for two Save-A-Lot grocery stores in Rockford and Waukegan.