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New Fund Will Provide Access To Capital For Community Grocery Stores In Southeast

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The Southeastern Health Equity Council (SHEC) has joined forces with UpLift Solutions and will serve as its advisor to promote and support equity in the development of a Fresh Food Financing Fund. The fund will provide access to capital for small community grocery stores and support bringing fresh food to underserved communities.

The idea of the partnership was via a conversation with Jeff Brown, CEO of UpLift Solutions, and Reneé S. Frazier, CEO of the Common Table Health Alliance.

“The need for an approach to address access to capital is key to eliminating food deserts in underserved communities,” said Frazier.

The SHEC’s mission is to coordinate efforts in the southeastern U.S. to achieve health equity through policy changes, effective programs and greater awareness.

“We are excited to be working with UpLift on this venture,” said Pamela C. Hull, chair of the SHEC. “Nutrition and food security have long been understood to be social determinants of health, but the Fresh Food Financing Fund will also address a rarely spoken of social determinant—access to capital.”

Investing in local businesses can keep them rooted in traditionally underserved communities. Supporting grocery stores in their efforts to bring fresh food to these communities has the added value of contributing to good health through access to fresh, healthy foods. In its advisory role, the SHEC will ensure that the policies, procedures and practices of the Fresh Food Financing Fund are implemented in an equitable manner.

The SHEC is one of 10 non-federal Regional Health Equity Councils that are part of the National Partnership for Action (NPA) to End Health Disparities. The NPA is a national movement coordinated by the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with the mission to increase the effectiveness of programs that target the elimination of health disparities through increased coordination with leaders, stakeholders and supporters across multiple sectors. The SHEC serves an eight-state region in the Southeast, including Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

UpLift Solutions is a national nonprofit organization that supports food businesses, government and nonprofits to create sustainable environments for underserved communities. UpLift focuses on four primary service areas, including sustainable food systems, health innovation, community development and financial services.

Common Table Health Alliance is a multi-stakeholder, nonprofit, regional health collaborative with the mission to achieve health equity through trust, collaboration and education. Founded in 2003, the organization’s REAL community goals are to reduce childhood and family obesity, eliminate health disparities, activate consumers, patients and caregivers and lift health care quality.

About the author

Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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