Community-Based Grants Initiative

Western Prosperity Zone

Each year, the Golden LEAF Foundation invites organizations from counties from a different Prosperity Zone to participate in our Community-Based Grants Initiative (CBGI). The process is competitive, but organizations from all counties within the Prosperity Zone will have an opportunity to apply. 

The counties in the Western Prosperity Zone are Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, and Transylvania.

The CBGI is designed to identify projects with the potential to have a significant impact. It is a focused process with grants targeted toward investments in the building blocks of economic growth. Funds are limited to projects that address economic development, agriculture, education, workforce development, infrastructure, and capital costs necessary to create health care jobs.

County managers serve a key role in the process. Each county manager will submit a slate of up to four projects for consideration. Applicants can be 501(c)(3) organizations or governmental entities (county and municipal governments, community colleges, universities, etc.)  Funds do not have to be administered or implemented by the county government. Awards are limited to no more than three projects per county and will total no more than $1.5 million per county. Not all proposals will be funded and not all counties are assured to have funded projects.

To kick off the CBGI, Golden LEAF has partnered with the NC Rural Center to provide training and coaching for project teams. This available resource will help broaden the region’s leadership base, enhance community and regional collaborations, and develop strategic, innovative projects to transform the economy. For more information, please visit the Rural Center’s website.


Webinar: Golden LEAF CBGI Launch
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
In case you missed the Golden LEAF CBGI Western Prosperity Zone launch, you can access the recording as well as download the slide presentation.

Webinar: Golden LEAF CBGI Western Prosperity Zone Kick Off
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
If you missed the Golden LEAF CBGI Western Prosperity Zone kick off, you can access the webinar, download the kick-off training PowerPoint, and download the 2021 CBGI Western Region Timeline.

Meetings: Priority Areas
March 8-11, 2021
The NC Rural Center hosted discussions focused on Golden LEAF funding priority areas and regional needs. You access the recordings by clicking on the following interest areas: job creation and economic investment; agriculture; workforce preparedness; community competitiveness, capacity, and vitality; healthcare and a general session. Download the interest area meeting Powerpoint by clicking here.


May 26, 2021
Golden LEAF and the NC Rural Center will invite funding partners to participate in a Funders Forum to share information regarding available funding programs. This regional convening will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn more about funding priorities and cycles as well as connect directly with the Golden LEAF Foundation and other funders on potential projects ideas. 

April 2021 through September 2021
NC Rural Center project team coaching including support and assistance with: 

  • Identifying and leveraging assets and opportunities as well as resources and partnerships
  • Development of strategic projects

June 2021 through April 2022
The Golden LEAF application process will open in June. Golden LEAF will host a workshop for interested applicants to learn more about the process and expectations. 

Letters of Inquiry will be due at the end of September. The Golden LEAF Board will review and invite full proposals in December. Full applications will be due in early 2022 for consideration by the Golden LEAF Board in April 2022.

For more information on the Community-Based Grants Initiative, email or call 252.442.7474.

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