Asheville Merchants Fund awards $445K to nine area nonprofits

Press release from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina:

The Asheville Merchants Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina has awarded grants to nine Buncombe County nonprofit organizations. A total of $445,000 was awarded for innovative projects designed to strengthen community and stimulate economic growth. 

The Asheville Merchants Fund supports projects such as community asset development and entrepreneurship; quality jobs and workforce development, including living wage work and job training; social infrastructure encompassing family success and affordable housing; and youth success in school.

“This cycle brought the Asheville Merchants Fund Advisory Board strong applications from nonprofits working to strengthen Buncombe County through economic opportunity,” said Advisory Board Chair Tom Hallmark. “The quality of the applicants makes our work challenging, as we can’t fund them all. We congratulate the recipients and look forward to watching their programs evolve.”

The recipients are:  

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project was awarded $50,000 over two years to support the growth of farmers markets as small business incubators to expand the direct sales of farmers and homegrown businesses in Buncombe County. 

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity was awarded $50,000 over two years to launch ReStore #2 in Weaverville.

Asheville City Schools Foundation was awarded $50,000 over two years to provide hands-on, equitable and accessible afterschool enrichment for Asheville Middle school students through the In Real Life program.

Buncombe County Schools was awarded $50,000 over two years to continue its work targeting students who are at-risk of failing to complete high school through the Graduation Initiative.

Center for Agricultural and Food Entrepreneurship was awarded $50,000 over two years to support the continued growth of small businesses using the services of WNC Blue Ridge Food Ventures.

KL Training Solutions/dba My Daddy Taught Me That was awarded $50,000 over two years to continue the growth of its youth Job Training program.

Mountain BizWorks was awarded $50,000 over two years to provide microloans and customized business education to low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs in Asheville and Buncombe County with an emphasis on supporting entrepreneurs of color and the outdoor gear business sector.

United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County was awarded $50,000 over two years to support Homework Diners at Asheville, Enka, Erwin and Owen middle schools. The weekly meals are a key element of its Community School strategy and the Asheville-Buncombe Middle Grades Network.

Working Wheels was awarded $45,000 over two years to build internal capacity and increase the number of dependable, affordable vehicles provided to working families in Buncombe County.

Asheville Merchants Fund grants are awarded every two years; details can be found at

 The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) works with families, businesses and nonprofits to strengthen communities through the creation of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking. A permanent charitable resource, the Foundation manages over 1,100 funds and has facilitated more than $234 million in philanthropy since its founding in 1978. Learn more at

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