The District offers several funding opportunities to support small food businesses and local nonprofits. Please consult the websites below for up-to-date information on application deadlines and funding availability.
Various existing and new grant programs will be available through the DMPED cluster in fiscal year 2022 to support economic recovery by providing support to businesses and entrepreneurs. These include grant programs such as the Food Access Fund and the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which in the past have been awarded to small food businesses and nonprofit organizations. Program details will be added to the Obviously DC website as they become available.
The Nourish DC Collaborative supports the development of a robust ecosystem of locally-owned small food businesses in communities in the District where decades of disinvestment have left them underserved by grocery and other food amenities. To achieve this goal, the five partners of the Collaborative will provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to emerging and existing locally-owned small food businesses in the District of Columbia, with a preference for businesses located in and owned by residents of neighborhoods identified as having high rates of food insecurity, unemployment and poverty, and/or lower life expectancy.
Through the Supermarket Tax Exemption Act of 2000, the District waives certain taxes and fees to grocery stores that locate in specific neighborhoods. The incentive encourages development and investment in areas lacking access to groceries and fresh food.
Qualifying supermarkets may be eligible to receive one or more of the following benefits for up to 10 years after development or renovation:
- Real property tax exemption
- Business license fee exemption
- Personal property tax exemption
- Sales and use tax exemption on building materials necessary for construction (need to contact DMPED prior to construction to receive this benefit)
Several District agencies provide grant opportunities for nonprofit organizations in DC, including:
- Aspire to Entrepreneurship (DSLBD): DSLBD operates annual programming grants and provides direct support to returning citizen-led small businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Dream Grants for Wards 7 and 8 (DSLBD)
- Urban Agriculture Small Grants, Tax Abatement, and Free Land Lease (DOEE)
- Local Nutrition Assistance Programs (DC Health)