About Us

Who We Are

The California FreshWorks Fund program was launched in 2011 as a financing initiative designed to bring grocery stores and other innovative forms of healthy food retail to underserved communities. FreshWorks was created by The California Endowment, in partnership with a broad coalition of public and private capital providers, industry experts and thought partners. FreshWorks was capitalized with over $273MM in investments, making it the largest healthy food financing initiative in the country.

Over the next five years the updated program will meet and exceed the impact its first five years of operation. More specifically, the program will leverage $14MM in PRI capital and $8.3MM in grants to disburse approximately $50MM in loans and grants, with additional NMTC investment of up to $40MM.

FreshWorks will achieve these results through a reinvigorated operational platform that brings market making into focus while offering robust technical assistance and responsive equity and equity-like products. These tools will support a recapitalized microlending program and a new multi-lender network that is incentivized to make flexible loans through a credit enhancement pool that mitigates risk and unlocks private loan capital.

What We Do

Mission

FreshWorks is and lending and technical assistance program that promotes equitable access to healthy food and an equitable food system in California.

Healthy Food

Healthy food nourishes people, contributes to physical and mental health and reduces risk to chronic diseases. Healthy foods are not genetically modified and do not contain synthetically added hormones, antibiotics or harmful pesticides.

Healthy Foods Include
  • Fruits and Vegetables and 100% fruit and vegetable juices fresh, seasonal, local and organic when possible
  • Whole grain products containing 51% whole grain or have at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving
  • Dairy Products (milk, yogurt, cheese) and non dairy milks such as those made of soy, coconut, rice, almond etc, local and organic when possible
  • Moderate Portioned Proteins – such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs
  • Dried Beans and Peas
  • Nuts and nut butters
What Foods Are NOT Healthy?
  • Anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup
  • Anything made with genetically engineered raw materials
  • Beverages to which caloric sweeteners are added by the manufacturer or bottler. These beverages include bottled carbonated soft drinks (soda); fruit, sports, and energy drinks; enhanced waters; and sweetened teas as well as sugar-sweetened syrups that are used to make non-bottled beverages (e.g., fountain drinks and sugary drinks containing coffee).
  • Processed foods containing trans fats
  • Deep-fried foods
Priority Regions Include

While a statewide program, FreshWorks 2.0 will concentrate its outreach and activities in low-income communities in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Sacramento County, Yolo County, San Joaquin County, Merced County, Fresno County, Kings County, Tulare County, Greater Los Angeles (including Los Angeles County and parts of Orange, San Bernadino, and Ventura Counties).

By limiting FreshWorks’ geographic focus, the program will be able to build deep networks, develop a better understanding of on-the-ground challenges and opportunities, and engage with local communities to support the most promising initiatives. Each of the priority areas was identified in the FreshWorks market analysis as a place with significant unmet demand for healthy food, unmet financing demand, and concentrated entrepreneurial activity, information that was bolstered by FreshWorks’ previous track record of experience.

1. We’re mission-driven

2. We’re experienced

3. We’re flexible

4. We offer a multitude of capacity-building services