Bainum Family Foundation Investments Support New Grocery Store in D.C.’s Ward 8 and Improved Local Food Distribution
Bethesda, Maryland (August 7, 2018) — The Bainum Family Foundation today announced two investments designed to address ongoing food distribution and retail challenges within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area’s food system — challenges that historically have limited the availability of fresh, healthy, affordable foods in the District’s low-income neighborhoods.
In July, the Foundation finalized an investment in Oasis Community Partners to support the launch of a Good Food Markets (GFM) location at 4001 S. Capitol Street SW in Ward 8’s Bellevue neighborhood. Oasis, a 501(c)(3), is a majority owner in the for-profit grocery store, which currently operates a store on Rhode Island Avenue in Ward 5. Through the expansion to Ward 8, GFM is aiming to chip away at the significant grocery gap in the area: There is currently only one full-service grocery store serving the nearly 80,000 residents in Ward 8.
Beyond bringing an affordable small-format grocery store to the neighborhood, the new 3,800-square-foot GFM location also plans to:
- Employ 20 community members in grocery, café and prepared-food operations
- Provide job training for 100-plus people per year
- Offer direct-service educational programming for 500-plus people per year
- Help make the building a neighborhood hub by coordinating events with community organizations and nonprofits in the 700-square-foot community space located onsite
This follows a Foundation investment in February in 4P Foods, a local benefit corporation that procures, aggregates and distributes “good food” across the metropolitan area, with the aim of creating a more just and equitable food system.* This partnership is designed to:
- Help bring scale, reliability and better affordability to “good food” distribution locally
- Provide distribution support to nonprofit food-access programs that serve low-income areas
- Improve opportunities for local and regional food producers through more predictable demand and better access to markets
- Increase the Foundation’s access to food distribution data and solutions to inform business operations for its own 263-acre Bainum Foundation Farm and its partners
Both investments are Program-Related Investments (PRIs), which can include equity investments, loans and guarantees made by a foundation for the primary purpose of mission impact. The recipient can be a nonprofit organization or a for-profit business enterprise.
“We began our food-related work in 2016 with a dual goal of growing healthy food at our sustainable produce farm in Middleburg, Virginia, and working with nonprofit partners to build affordable markets for this type of food in neighborhoods with few healthy food options,” says Katie Jones, Director of the Foundation’s Food Security Initiative. “But we quickly realized a bigger need and a bigger opportunity to have an impact on the regional food system. As an operating foundation that owns a farm near the nation’s capital, we are well-suited to make investments that might be difficult for other organizations to make.”
Tom McDougall, Founder and CEO of 4P Foods, says the partnership with the Foundation will be transformative for his company. “The Foundation understands that building an equitable food system is complex and will take myriad partners working together over a realistic timeline,” he says. “The commitment they have made to 4P Foods will allow us to not only strengthen our operation, but also cast a much wider and deeper net to the communities we serve. We feel supercharged to be part of the systemic change we believe is possible in the D.C. area.”
According to Philip Sambol, Executive Director of Oasis Community Partners, the Foundation’s investment will build on an $800,000 Neighborhood Prosperity Fund grant from the District of Columbia to outfit and operate the new GFM grocery store and café. “Together, these investments give us the opportunity to create fresh-food access in one of D.C.’s most persistent food deserts,” he says. “This store, which will become our flagship location, will make fresh fruits and vegetables, perishable groceries and made-from-scratch prepared foods available and affordable to some of D.C.’s lowest-income families.”
Following two years of planning, financial analysis, partnership building and community engagement, construction on the new store begins this fall, with a grand opening in spring 2019. The GFM store is located in a brand new mixed-used development, South Capitol Shopping Center, developed by City Interests, LLC. The overall project includes 150 housing units that are 100% affordable with 40-year affordability restriction at 30%-60% Area Median Income (AMI), as well as 20 units that are permanent supportive units for homeless community members and 20 units that are available for extremely low-income residents.
“Through this public-private partnership with the Bainum Family Foundation, we are investing in a project that will increase fresh food options and create job opportunities for our residents in Ward 8,” says Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Together, we’re building a healthier, more equitable D.C.”
“These two investments represent creative ways to address long-standing community challenges and strengthen the local food system,” says Barbara Bainum, Chair of the Board, CEO and President of the Foundation. “Through them, we are building the capacity of our partner organizations to better serve community needs and create jobs, while giving small, sustainable farmers more reliable local demand for the quality food they produce. It’s a win for everyone.”
* 4P Foods defines “good food” as food that is healthy and farm-fresh, grown using sustainable and humane practices and in a way that provides a fair and dignified living for those who grow it.
The Bainum Family Foundation combines proven expertise with a passion for supporting the whole child by providing integrated services to help them thrive. Our circle of collaboration includes investments and support in early learning, wrap-around services and knowledge building. Founded in 1968 by Stewart and Jane Bainum, the Foundation has helped underserved children exit poverty through high-quality educational programs and services for 50 years. For more information, visit bainumfdn.org.
Senior Director of Communications
Bainum Family Foundation