FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Greensboro, NC, July 20, 2015 – With gratitude, the Renaissance Community Coop (RCC) announces two major gifts and a grant from local and national organizations to its fundraising effort. The RCC has raised $1.6 million toward the launch of a full service cooperatively owned grocery store in Northeast Greensboro. These generous contributions will bring the RCC closer to realizing the opening of a 10,000 square foot grocery store in 2016.
Mount Zion Baptist Church of Greensboro has committed to contribute $40,000 toward the RCC’s financial goal. The gift will be made in increments of $10,000 beginning August 2015. Upon learning of the RCC’s vision, plans, and goals to provide economical foods to families in Greensboro, Mount Zion felt this was an effort that supports one of the mandates of the church, which is to “serve the city”. “This effort not only feeds the citizens of Greensboro, literally, but also clothes them by creating job opportunities which create shelter”, said Pastor Bryan J. Pierce, Sr., Senior Pastor.
A gift of $10,000 from Cone Health Foundation matched by a $10,000 gift from Cone Health are made to the RCC in memory of Greensboro leader, Frank Mascia, former Cone Health Foundation Board Chair who died in February. “Cone Health was a benefactor of Frank’s incredible spirit and leadership. He never backed away from a challenge and food insecurity in our community is a real challenge. There is nothing more fundamental to the health of those we serve than access to healthy food,” said Terry Akin, chief executive officer, Cone Health. The RCC is committed to addressing the root causes of health disparities in Greensboro and this gift echoes the lifelong work of Frank Mascia, Cone Health and the Cone Health Foundation.
“What better way to honor Frank’s memory and his commitment to community service than by helping make RCC a reality. Access to healthy food was something Frank cared deeply about and the RCC holds great promise,” said Susan Shumaker, president of Cone Health Foundation.
“These gifts honoring Frank Mascia’s memory demonstrate that Cone understands the clear link between eating well and good health. We welcome their partnership”, said John Jones, RCC Board President.
And finally, the RCC received a $10,000 grant from the Food Co-op Initiative (FCI). FCI aims to increase the number, success and sustainability of new food cooperatives delivering access to healthy food in diverse communities across this country. It provides information, training and technical assistance, as well as seed capital, and engages in research, to blaze, maintain and improve the development path for new food coops.
Funds raised will be used for start-up costs to include leasehold improvements, equipment, inventory, pre-opening expenses, contingency on start-up costs, and operating capital including hiring the general manager.
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About the RCC
The community was once served by a Winn Dixie grocery store but in December of 1998, the grocery store closed. For this community, this was the beginning of a trend that was taking place across the country, big box stores closing in moderate to low income communities to build super-sized stores in middle and upper middle income neighborhoods. In the summer of 2012 a small group of concerned citizens visited a recently opened cooperative foods store in Burlington and decided that a community-owned, democratically run, cooperative grocery store was a way to eliminate the food desert in their neighborhood.
The Renaissance Community Cooperative was created to meet the need for a full-service grocery store in a low to moderate-income community in northeast Greensboro. The RCC will be a 10,000 square foot “conventional” grocery store selling a full range of healthy and affordable food. As a community-owned cooperative business the RCC’s owners elect a Board of Directors to oversee the operations of the store. More than 550 people, the majority of whom live in Northeast Greensboro, have become owners of the RCC with the purchase of a $100 ownership share.