Frequently Asked Questions

Why a network of lenders?

FreshWorks has developed a network of community-based, nonprofit lenders that work across our target geographies to finance small businesses and enterprises addressing the issue of healthy food access in low-income communities. FreshWorks enables prospective clients to interact with a diverse network of lenders to find flexible capital tailored to the clients’ needs.

How does it work?

Members of the FreshWorks lender network have agreed to common mission guidelines and target geographies. Network lenders are entitled to access the FreshWorks credit enhancement as needed for appropriate transactions, and can make direct referrals for the FreshWorks Technical Assistance Grant Program. Northern California Community Loan Fund, the administrator of FreshWorks, also provides program support, outreach and marketing.

How do I become a network lender?

To become a Freshworks network lender, a lender arranges a time to speak with the program director and complete a Request For Qualifications (RFQ). The RFQ is evaluated based on FreshWorks program guidelines. Qualifying applicants have the capital and capability to finance healthy food projects and be able to effectively and responsibly participate in the FreshWorks credit enhancement and TA grant pools.

Are network lenders guaranteed credit enhancements or technical assistance grants?

No. All applications are based on a review of financial and mission outcomes.

Is there technical assistance/capacity building available?

Yes, the FreshWorks Technical Assistance Grant Program makes monetary grants to pay for technical assistance for pre-development / pre-transaction and/or post-opening / post-loan capacity building support. Technical assistance grants are available to enterprises that improve healthy food access in low-income, low-access communities.

What kind of businesses can receive loans from you?

A food or farm based nonprofit or for-profit business that provides equitable food access in low-income, low food access geographies may be eligible for a FreshWorks loan.

What type of loan can I get?

Loan products offered by the FreshWorks network will include:

  • Tenant Improvement Term Loan
  • Equipment / Capital Expenses Term Loan
  • Operator Purchase / Refinance / Recapitalization Term Loan
  • Working Capital Term Loan or Line of Credit
  • Real Estate Acquisition Term Loan
  • New Markets Tax Credits for large projects, Equipment and Working Capital

Where does FreshWorks work?

While FreshWorks financing is available across the state of California, our Technical Assistance, Credit Enhancement, and other capacity building products are available in the following communities: 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).

How much money can I borrow?

FreshWorks supports loans for up to $3,000,000.

Is this a government program?

FreshWorks is not a government program. The FreshWorks network lenders are all Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)– nonprofit, community-based lenders. Support for the FreshWorks TA grant program, credit enhancement and other services comes from a variety of public and private sources, including The California Endowment, Weingart Foundation, Dignity Health, California Community Foundation and the Federal Healthy Food Financing program.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you do not qualify for the FreshWorks program services as a grantee or a borrower, our staff will provide information on why and direct you to resources that may be of use or your project.

What is healthy food?

Healthy Food nourishes people, contributes to physical and mental health and reduces risk to chronic diseases. Healthy Foods include (fresh, seasonal, local, and organic when possible):

  • Fruits, vegetables, and 100% fruit and vegetable juices
  • 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
  • Fresh proteins (such as fish, meat, poultry, and eggs)

What is an equitable and sustainable food system?

An equitable food system makes healthy food available to all through sustainable means, while providing good jobs and fostering healthy neighborhoods. Ot strengthens the local economy by bolstering incomes, spurring business development, and contributing to equitable economic development in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.