PHILADELPHIA–As part of the Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative (PFJI), Reinvestment Fund has joined the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and Wells Fargo in awarding $370,000 to local organizations fighting food injustice. The PDPH’s funding for this initiative comes in part from the Pa. Department of Health’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. In total, the initiative has provided over $1.25 million in grants since its launch in 2019.
PFJI supports community-driven solutions in areas where access to healthier food is needed the most. The initiative is informed by health justice, the collective movement to heal society and remove barriers that prevent individual and community well-being.
“Where you live should not determine your food options, but that is the reality for too many Philadelphians. Food access differences across neighborhoods are symptoms of structural racism, disinvestment and other inequities,” said Amanda Wagner, Program Manager for Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Health Department. “This initiative re-invests in community dreams and solutions for food justice.”
Twelve projects received PFJI grants to create a more just food system in Philadelphia. Six of the grantees are new recipients, while the other six received continuation grants from the 2020 funding cycle. The grantees serve their communities and are led by those who have experienced health injustice.
“Building equitable food systems is integral to Reinvestment Fund’s mission, and this work has never been more crucial than in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Molly Hartman, Senior Program Director at Reinvestment Fund. “We are proud to join the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Wells Fargo in a steadfast commitment to making healthy food more accessible to those who need it most.”
PFJI provides funding to innovative, community-led projects that strengthen Philadelphia’s food assets and opportunities for individual and collective action to further food justice. PFJI prioritizes projects led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants and people living with disabilities, and those with lived experience with health injustice. To date, the PFJI has awarded grants to 18 organizations, of which 16 are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) owned or led and 11 are owned or led by women.
One of this year’s grantees is the West Philly Bunnyhop, whose mission is to provide free food to people through mutual-aid programming that center the respect and dignity of neighbors in need. Since April 2020, Bunnyhop has been serving various parts of the city, entirely through volunteer labor, distributing produce and prepared meals via pop-ups in public spaces, home deliveries, and drops at community fridges located throughout Philadelphia. They will use the PFJI grant award to establish additional community fridges and pantries, incorporate more substantial proteins and meals into their weekly offerings and develop educational resources on how to establish a distribution site in your own neighborhood.
Bunnyhop administrators shared, “As an entirely volunteer-run group, we envision community fridges to be a self-sustaining avenue to continue food access work in the city. It would be amazing to have a fridge or pantry every few blocks providing free food to anyone who needs it, no questions asked! This grant will catalyze us towards that vision.”
This round of PFJI grants will also support Urban Tree Connection’s Food Sovereignty Share, Philadelphia Orchard Project’s Lead Orchard Volunteer Program, Soil Generation’s AP3 shared services cooperative to support local growers, as well as the Church of the Redeemer Baptist’s Growing Together Garden and the Attic Youth Center’s healthy meals and justice initiative for LGBT youth.
“Advancing racial equity and expanding community collaboration are key to strengthening communities for the long-term, and we are proud to support the work of these grantees,” said Stephen Briggs, Wells Fargo senior social impact and sustainability specialist. “We continue to be committed to working with nonprofits to build a more inclusive, sustainable future for all.”
A full list of grantees is available at the Reinvestment Fund’s website.
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that people in communities across the country have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets and how transactions can have the most powerful impact, which has consistently earned us the top Aeris rating of AAA for financial strength and four stars for impact management. Our asset and risk management systems have also earned us an A+ rating from S&P. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at reinvestment.com.