GoldenLEAF Golden Leaf Foundation North Carolina

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Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions
Grant Seekers
Grant Recipients


General Questions

How does Golden LEAF define the rural, economically distressed, or tobacco-dependent regions of North Carolina?

Under our charter, Golden LEAF’s funding priority is to provide economic impact assistance to economically distressed or tobacco-dependent regions of North Carolina. In determining whether a proposal fits these criteria, we look at a variety of factors.

  • Economically distressed — Golden LEAF evaluates the economic status of a community by looking at a variety of factors including criteria set forth by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, which ranks each county based on an assessment of unemployment rate, median household income, population growth, ability to pay, and assessed property value per capita. Refer to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Distress designation for more information. Golden LEAF also considers applicants who make a strong case for community distress based on factors other than those considered in the Department of Commerce’s rankings or where a community can demonstrate it suffers from economic distress, even though the county as a whole may not be similarly situated. See the economic status of all 100 NC counties.

  • Tobacco-dependent — Golden LEAF uses a variety of criteria (provided by the NC Rural Economic Development Center in 2001) to determine tobacco-dependence, including: 1) tobacco receipts as a percentage of total agricultural receipts in a county, 2) tobacco receipts as a percentage of total income in a county, and 3) tobacco farms as a percentage of total farming operations in a county. If a county meets any one of the thresholds in these areas, it is considered tobacco dependent. Golden LEAF also recognizes communities that can claim tobacco dependence resulting from tobacco manufacturing employment.

How much money has Golden LEAF received in payments from the tobacco settlement? How much has been awarded in grants?

Through August 2014, Golden LEAF has received $1,112,517,573.27 in payments as a result of the settlement of litigation brought by North Carolina and 45 other states against manufacturers of tobacco products. Since we began making grants in 2000, Golden LEAF has awarded 1,275 grants totaling more than $561 million to nonprofit organizations and government entities throughout North Carolina.

What is the total amount of money Golden LEAF will receive from the settlement?

By 2025, it is expected that Golden LEAF will have received approximately $2.3 billion in payments as a result of the tobacco settlement. Annual payments vary and depend upon several factors, one being the number of cigarettes sold in the United States. Golden LEAF receives 50% of the North Carolina allocation. The Foundation has received $1.1 billion through April 2013. The North Carolina General Assembly has voted to send future MSA payments to the General Fund rather than the Foundation. The Foundation has an endowment of $901 million as of June 30, 2013 and has paid out $538 in grants.

How much money is Golden LEAF expected to award in grants in 2014-2015?

Golden LEAF has budgeted $35 million for grantsmaking for fiscal year 2014-2015. Of this, the amount budgeted for the programs and initiatives is as follows:

  • $12 million for the Community-Based Grantsmaking Initiative
  • $10 million for Economic Catalyst grants
  • $5 million for Scholarships
  • $4 million for Open Grants Program
  • $4 million for the Special Initiatives

What is the maximum or minimum grant amount?

There is no minimum grant amount. In the Open Grants Program, grants are not expected to exceed $200,000. There are no maximum grant amounts in the Economic Catalyst program. For information on other initiatives, please contact Golden LEAF staff.

Why are individuals and businesses ineligible to apply for Golden LEAF grants?

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. To maintain our tax-exempt status, our funds must be used for charitable purposes. However, individuals may be the direct beneficiaries of the work of nonprofit organizations that Golden LEAF supports, such as the scholarships that are available through the NC Community College System. Additionally, organizations we fund may provide job training and emergency services at low or no cost – all to individuals.

How do I apply for Golden LEAF Foundation scholarships?

Learn more about Golden LEAF Foundation scholarships by viewing the scholarships section of this web site.


Grant Seekers

Who is eligible to apply for a grant from Golden LEAF?

Both government and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations may apply for grants. Our funds must be used for charitable, scientific, educational, or tax-exempt public purposes. We do not make grant awards to individuals or for-profit businesses.

Should I contact someone at Golden LEAF before submitting an application?

There’s no requirement that you contact our staff before submitting a proposal, but Golden LEAF has an open door policy, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss project ideas at any time.

Will Golden LEAF fund buildings and other infrastructure projects?

While the Foundation has traditionally considered brick and mortar projects a low priority, some applicants have made a successful case for funding these types of projects in their communities. It’s important to demonstrate how your proposed building project relates directly to Golden LEAF’s funding priorities.

Water and sewer and other public infrastructure projects are typically funded through the Economic Catalyst Grant Cycles and are tied directly to job creation activities. These grants often require performance standards on jobs and investment.

Will Golden LEAF provide funding for project overhead costs?

Typically, Golden LEAF does not fund overhead or general operating costs. Exceptions may occur on occasion.

If I submitted a proposal last year that was declined, may I reapply this year?

Yes. We also encourage declined applicants to use our open door policy to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a proposal. In the Open Grants Program, an organization may not resubmit a declined proposal for six (6) months after the declination. Nonetheless, an eligible entity that has had a project declined may submit a proposal for a substantially different project at any time.

If I submitted a proposal last year that was approved, may I reapply this year?

Yes. We encourage past grantees to call our staff to discuss proposal ideas.

If I am applying for a grant program that has an application deadline, when do I have to submit my application to meet the deadline?

If mailed, a completed application package must be postmarked or placed with a commercial delivery service such as FedEx or UPS by the application deadline. If hand-delivered, it must arrive at the Golden LEAF office by 5 p.m. on the day of the application deadline. If submitted electronically, it must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on the deadline date. See the guidelines for each program to determine whether e-mail or on-line applications are accepted and if there is a specific time associated with the deadline. If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the deadline will be the following business day.

When are grant decisions made?

Please review the Economic Catalyst page for more information.

For the Open Grants Program, view the review schedule.

For the initiatives not listed above, please contact Golden LEAF staff.

What are the exceptions to the required disclosure of public records and confidential information?

Click here for a detailed explanation of exceptions to the required disclosure of public records and confidential information.

How do I apply for a Golden LEAF grant?

We encourage applicants to use our open door policy to discuss proposal ideas with our staff.

If the proposal meets the requirements for an Economic Catalyst Grant, follow the Economic Catalyst Grant guidelines in completing the application.

If the proposal meets the requirements for an Open Grants Program grant, follow the Open Grants Program guidelines.

Contact Golden LEAF staff for more information about grant funding through our special initiatives.


Grant Recipients

If I receive a grant award, when will funds be available?

Once all conditions identified in the grantee agreement for the grant have been met and Golden LEAF receives a written request for payment, funds are usually available within 30 days.

If a grant is awarded, what are the reporting requirements?

Golden LEAF requires an interim report to be submitted six (6) months from the grant award date, then every six (6) months thereafter for as long as the grant is active. A final report is due within 60 days of the end date of the grant.

What if I need a budget or project modification?

The Golden LEAF Foundation Grantee Agreement requires that grantees immediately notify us of any changes to the funded project, including project goals, objectives, timelines, or any proposed changes to the grant budget. Any changes to a grant must be approved by Golden LEAF prior to implementation or expenditure.

For more information, refer to the Budget Modification Request Form & Instructions in the grantee forms section of this web site.



The Golden LEAF Foundation   301 N. Winstead Avenue   Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone 252-442-7474   Toll-free 888-684-8404   Fax 252-442-7404   Email info@goldenleaf.org


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