California FreshWorks in Oakland @ Citizen Engagement Laboratory, San Francisco [14 June]

California FreshWorks in Oakland

16:30 - 19:30

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Citizen Engagement Laboratory
1330 Broadway 3rd Floor, Oakland, California 94612
California FreshWorks is a loan and grant program that provides financing to create equitable access to affordable, healthy food in low-income and underserved communities in California. We work with a variety of businesses and nonprofits that grow, aggregate, distribute, and sell healthy food in a way that builds a sustainable local food system, increases community ownership, and promotes economic development.

Join us in Oakland for a panel conversation to learn more about California FreshWorks and the way in which the program pairs financing with tools and services that help enterprises overcome barriers to financing and build their capacity to sustain a successful business. Examples include credit enhancements that improve a small businesses’ risk profile, and technical assistance that builds business capacity and is responsive to the unique needs of each project and enterprise.

We will highlight two of West Oakland’s community-based markets: Community Foods Market and Mandela Marketplace. Both groups are working to make positive social impacts in West Oakland, a frontline community that experiences significant barriers to accessing public health, economic, and social opportunities.

Community Foods Market (formerly People’s Community Market), is developing a food market, café, and social hall that will enable more than 9,000 residents living in West Oakland, which has had minimal access to a broad array of fresh retail, to shop from a wide selection of nutritious fresh foods, prepared foods, and daily staples at affordable prices in their own neighborhood.

Earlier this year, Northern California Community Loan Fund and Self-Help Federal Credit Union, both members of the FreshWorks lending network, provided $5.46 million in construction financing to the project with support from FreshWorks credit enhancement program.

For over a decade, Mandela Marketplace has addressed food system challenges of healthy food access and economic opportunity in West Oakland and low-income communities of color around the region. Mandela works with regional entrepreneurs from chefs to small farmers, to expand healthy, local food businesses, many of which are minority owned. Several years ago Mandela Marketplace decided to become an intermediary lender to leverage grant funding to reduce risk and support local food businesses in accessing the capital they need to grow. With a loan from Capital Impact Partners, another member of the FreshWorks lending network, the Ladder Up Fund launched in 2015.


Brahm Ahmadi
Community Foods Market

Mariela Cedeño
Director, Business Development & Lending
Mandela Marketplace

Steve Saltzman
Director of Food System Finance
Self-Help Federal Credit Union

Nate Schaffran
Manager, Food & Enterprise Lending
Northern California Community Loan Fund
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