The Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project (CFFP) is a collaboration of foundation and individual impact investors seeking to place capital in regional food and farm businesses. The project participants are the Empire Health Foundation, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Seattle Foundation, Whatcom Community Foundation, Ecotrust Natural Capital Fund, The Thread Fund, and a set of individual impact investors. The Project seeks to combine different forms of capital – grants, equity, loans, credit enhancements – to invest in food-related social enterprises in five Pacific Northwest regions, and to develop infrastructure for collective impact efforts.
CFFP proposes to advance a framework for collective impact investing in the Pacific Northwest food economy through a series of prototype investments using funds aggregated from the participants in accordance with each investor’s risk, return, and impact expectations. In addition to the direct impacts, these prototype stacked capital investments will help to develop a common vocabulary and shared system of evaluation and measurement, and build the inter-organizational infrastructure to coordinate investment and management activities effectively. Slow Money Northwest has been hired as the backbone organization to manage this project.
CFFP focuses on the regional food system because of the vast consequences it can have on human and environmental health and wellbeing. In particular, the Project targets five impact areas: Health, Social Equity, Family Wage Job Creation and Preservation, Rural Community Resilience, and Ability to Influence Policy. CFFP seeks to place capital in social enterprises whose activities are located in, or substantially benefit, five regions within Cascadia: Whatcom, King, and Pierce counties; Eastern Washington; and Multnomah County in Oregon. The ideal business or non-profit candidates for investment will improve measures of health, social equity, family wage employment, and rural community resilience as described here.