The Community Foundation awards $460,450 in grants

Folkmoot was awarded $30,000 for the continued work toward the development of the Folkmoot Center as a Multi-Cultural Exchange center. Photo by Patrick Parton, courtesy of Folkmoot.

Press release from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina:

(February 2017) The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) approved thirteen focus area grants to support regional projects in Early Childhood Development, Food and Farming, Natural and Cultural Resources and People in Need.

The Foundation’s focus areas were identified to benefit the region and enable the Foundation to work strategically and deeply in specified areas.  Grants are made through significant staff collaboration with regional nonprofits to identify funding opportunities. The following grants were also approved by the Foundation’s Board on February 22.

OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling was awarded up to $8,640 to match savings account deposits made by 81 participants in a pilot financial education program.  In May, OnTrack was one of three organizations that partnered with CFWNC to implement a proactive investment in asset building specifically intended to help people exit the cycle of poverty.  Initially OnTrack was awarded $50,000 to help 60 low-income participants gain knowledge and tools for financial management while establishing a savings habit and accumulating emergency savings through a 3:1 matched savings program.  The program has exceeded enrollment expectations and ensuring a match for all participants who successfully complete the program will help families with debt reduction, transportation, housing, education and more.

Early Childhood Development – $175,000

Through grants for evidence-informed programs, community awareness and advocacy in Early Childhood Development, the Foundation seeks to help young children reach their full potential.

Smart Start of Transylvania County was awarded $100,000 over two years to partner with the United Way of Transylvania to implement the Smartly United Early Childhood Collective, a collective impact model for addressing early childhood opportunities in Transylvania County that will improve outcomes for children and raise the quality of care.  The June Litchfield Charitable Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

The Southwestern Child Development Commission received $75,000 for 2017-18 for continued planning and work to educate and engage stakeholders about improving access to quality, affordable early childhood education in WNC.  Funds will be shared with four organizations: Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe Co., Verner Center for Early Learning, Children & Family Resource Center of Henderson Co. and Pisgah Legal Services.  The Wasson – Stowe Charitable Fund and the Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

Natural and Cultural Resources – $108,000

Grants and capacity building in Natural and Cultural Resources aim to protect and enhance the health of the region’s natural systems and support and develop the region’s arts-based economy.

Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) was awarded $8,000, contingent on other funds, to develop a series of four short, video vignettes that orient museum visitors to Western North Carolina’s unique geological, ecological, and cultural setting. Through a regional-focused museum, AMOS wants to educate and inspire residents and tourists to celebrate and protect WNC’s unique natural landscapes.  The Peterson Endowment Fund and Riverbend Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

Carolina Public Press received $20,000 to provide in-depth, investigative and explanatory journalism on the present and future of the more than 1.1 million acres of national forests spanning WNC in a public awareness effort to inform and engage readers on one of the top issues facing the region. In-depth stories will offer balanced reporting on the cultural, environmental and economic impacts of the region’s forests.

Madison County was awarded $50,000 over five years to create an art sculpture park along the greenway in Mars Hill. The Manufacturing Art Park would create an outdoor art gallery to enliven the rural landscape, create a dynamic visual experience for residents and visitors, create more venues for public art in Madison County and connect a manufacturing history to an economic development future.

NC International Folk Festival/Folkmoot received $30,000 for the continuing development of the Folkmoot Center as a Multi-Cultural Exchange location. New programming supports sustainability, encourages community dialogue and includes a regional conference on increasing awareness of cultural disenfranchisement.  The Mountain Jewel Fund and the J. Aaron and Adora H. Prevost Endowment Fund/The Fund for Haywood County partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

Food and Farming – $168,810

Grants increase opportunities for local farmers and food entrepreneurs that support the sustainability and profitability of WNC farms and address regional food insecurity and nutrition.

Bountiful Cities, serving as fiscal agent for the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, was awarded $24,650 to support a pilot project of the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks Pilot Project in Asheville and Buncombe County. The program provides a 1:1 match when produce is purchased with SNAP dollars and increases consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by low-income shoppers and local growers’ produce sales.  The Ken Hughes Charitable Fund and Riverbend Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

The Organic Growers School was awarded $25,000 to support programs for farmers that will increase the number of successful beginning and expanding organic farmers in WNC and directly address the needs of the farming community. Training and support are offered and include practical skills and knowledge gained through farmer-led, farmer-driven and strategically-aligned support services.

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy was awarded $29,500 to grow the local food economy by expanding its agricultural business incubator for beginning farmers and its hands-on educational workshop series at the Incubator Farm in Alexander. The funds will match and be leveraged by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant and cover staff, as well as modest equipment, infrastructure and training costs.  The Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, serving as fiscal agent for WNC FarmLink, received $16,000 to support WNC FarmLink, a program to facilitate strong relationships between farmers looking for land to farm and landowners aspiring to keep their farms and forest land in agriculture.

Southwestern NC Resource Conservation and Development Council was awarded $24,000 for farm assessments to maximize the opportunities for 65 farms in a 7-county area, including EBCI tribal farms.  Programs may include community college agriculture business classes, an Appalachian Farm School, a Rural Food Business Assistance Project and intensive agriculture workshops.

Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization Regional (TRACTOR) received $49,660 to add a full-time sales position and part-time bookkeeper, expanding operational capacity to increase sales channels and actual sales. The salesperson will continue sales to the current 44 TRACTOR markets and oversee a new CSA pilot project with the local hospital.

The Community Foundation is a permanent regional resource serving eighteen counties in Western North Carolina.  Last year, CFWNC facilitated more than $18 million in charitable giving.  More information can be found at

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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