Mark Watson Joins Fair Food Network as Fair Food Fund Managing Director

Watson brings 30 years’ finance experience plus pioneering leadership in impact investing to this newly created position

November 2019 | Ann Arbor, Mich.—Fair Food Network announced that Mark Watson is joining as the Managing Director of its impact investing arm, Fair Food Fund, which provides catalytic capital and business assistance grounded in Fair Food Network’s national network and program expertise.

“Mark brings 30 years’ experience in finance alongside pioneering leadership in impact investing to this newly created position,” said Oran B. Hesterman, Fair Food Network Founder & CEO. “He understands that investing in entrepreneurs supports not just their success, but the health and wealth of entire communities.”

Mark joins Fair Food Network from Boston Impact Initiative (BII), where he built a national reputation for its innovative work marrying financial rigor with a social impact mission supporting entrepreneurs of color. He has also been a critical partner in the development of the Fair Food Fund, where he has served on its investment committee since 2014.

“Under his leadership, BII Fund has become a pioneer in the impact investing space, demonstrating that you can put racial justice at the center of an investment strategy,” said BII founder Deborah Frieze.

Fair Food Fund’s first five years of work demonstrate its potential: For every $1 Fair Food Fund invested, it helped generate nearly $9 in community benefits. Behind the numbers is a ripple effect of benefits that includes greater healthy food access, family farm viability, the creation of new jobs, and more inclusive economies.

While maintaining its roots in the Northeast, Fair Food Fund will be expanding nationwide under Mark’s leadership. The Fund’s investment strategy will be informed by local community food system knowledge alongside the national footprint and programmatic expertise Fair Food Network has developed over the past decade.

“The health and wealth gaps in America are extreme and growing—disproportionately impacting communities of color,” said Mark. “Through the Fair Food Fund, we can deploy financial and social capital in new ways that support entrepreneurs in changing that equation and transforming their communities for good.”

Mark is based in Boston and can be reached at mwatson@fairfoodnetwork.org. See his complete bio here.