Tools to Fund and Support Healthier Stores

Tools to Fund and Support Healthier Stores

July 20, 2015

Food retailers often want to make their stores healthier and more inviting, but may lack the resources necessary to do it. Many want to sell affordable produce, promote healthy snacks and beverages, and renovate storefronts. Communities can support retailers by helping them fund these activities.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is one possible source of funding to support this work. The CDBG program provides funding for communities to expand economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income people. Many of the activities undertaken by healthy food retail programs, including technical assistance or training, renovations, and marketing, are consistent with CDBG program guidelines and would therefore qualify for funding.

ChangeLab Solutions’ new fact sheet, Community Development Block Grants: Linking Health and Economic Development Through Food Retail, provides an introduction to using CDBG funding for healthy food retail activities. It includes an overview of the CDBG program, identifies healthy food retail program activities that may be eligible for funding, and offers suggestions on applying for funding. It also includes case studies and tips for success to help policymakers and advocates link CDBG national objectives, healthy retail work, and public health.

Communities can fund healthy retail work in different ways. Decision makers and advocates can leverage the economic, social, and health benefits of supporting healthier stores to tap into nontraditional funding streams. We’ve identified some of the most promising funding mechanisms for communities; three of our resources can help make the connection between creating healthier stores and promoting economic development:

A related fact sheet, Fruitful Collaboration: Funding to Promote Fruits and Vegetables in Food Retail Stores, describes another potential source of funding, the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, which can be used to increase access to fruits and vegetables in underserved neighborhoods.

Contact us to learn more about funding efforts to make stores healthier. We will soon release a comprehensive healthy retail playbook – stay tuned!