This report is submitted by SCALE, Inc of Abingdon, Virginia, on March 29th, 2019, in fulfillment of a small contract with the Wilder Foundation focused upon one of their initiatives, the Twin City Mobile Market. Now entering its fourth full year, the Twin City Mobil Market (TCMM) has successfully provided more than $500,000 worth of healthy food to lower income people in over two dozen communities across Minneapolis and St Paul. There is no question that this effort has enabled hundreds of people to eat more healthy food at a relatively affordable price, while also making shopping far more convenient for people with limited mobility, lacking access to grocers and supermarkets. It has also helped galvanize people in common purpose in many of the neighborhoods, while providing a new lens through which other Wilder Foundation staff can understand the challenges of health, poverty and related issues.
The central purpose of this contract was to examine how the financial sustainability of the effort can be strengthened; that is, what can be done to move the TCMM closer to financial break even, or at least reduce the amount and proportion of grants, donations and other subsidies required to operate the market. That is the question we attempt to answer in this report, and the focus of this five-week investigation.