Grant Seekers

Golden LEAF works to fund projects with promise to bring significant economic improvement with priority given to North Carolina’s tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, or rural communities. We welcome eligible entities to submit a grant application for a project that is consistent with Golden LEAF’s priorities.

Grant Opportunities

Golden LEAF has two standard programs open to eligible entities seeking grants: Open Grants Program and Economic Catalyst Program. These programs complement other ongoing initiatives of the Foundation, such as Disaster Recovery Grant Program. After you read through each program description, feel free to contact a member of the program staff if you have further questions about eligibility or program requirements or priorities.

Contact Program Staff

Application 101 – Open Grants/ Economic Catalyst

Step 1. Determine which grant program is best suited for your proposed project.

Open Grants Program

The Open Grants Program process is open to all governmental entities and 501(c)(3) organizations that propose projects in Golden LEAF’s priority areas. Letters of Inquiry are received throughout the year. The Open Grants Program grantsmaking is focused in the areas of Economic Investment and Job CreationWorkforce Preparedness and EducationAgriculture, and Community Vitality. Click here for a list of Golden LEAF’s priority outcomes.

Economic Catalyst Program

The Economic Catalyst process is open to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) organizations with projects that will create jobs at risk without Golden LEAF funding. Grants awarded under the Economic Catalyst Program include: funds for public infrastructure, job training, upfit for buildings owned by governmental or nonprofit entities, or equipment acquisition where the building or equipment will be leased or sold at fair-market value to a company creating jobs.

Step 2. Make your proposal competitive.

Golden LEAF awards grants for projects that the Foundation’s Board of Directors believes have extraordinary merit and address Golden LEAF’s mission. In evaluating proposals, the Foundation looks for projects that will bring about tangible results for the targeted beneficiaries. Golden LEAF asks applicants to consider the following questions in thinking through their proposals:

  • Who benefits from the project?
  • How do they benefit?
  • What difference does the project make in the community it serves?
  • How will the difference and benefit be measured and proven?

Step 3. Take these factors into consideration.

  • Golden LEAF is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Grantees must be governmental entities or 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Funds are to be used exclusively for charitable, scientific, educational, or other tax-exempt public purposes.
  • Determine the proposed plan of action.
  • Golden LEAF places priority over funding projects that do the most good for the most people.
  • Explain the difference the project make and how success will be measured.
  • Prepare a budget.
  • All information submitted to Golden LEAF is subject to the Public Records Act.
  • Projects should be outcome-driven.

Tips for a More Successful Application:

  • Find the right funding fit for your project. Follow the instructions and guidelines for the grant program you are applying for.
  • Do your research.
  • Take advantage of our open-door policy. We’re happy to discuss your project before you apply.
  • Don’t pad your budgets or expected outcomes.
  • Provide letters of support.
  • If your project is declined, seek feedback from the staff.
  • Ask for recommendations for other potential funding sources.

Apply Now

Disaster Recovery Program

The State of North Carolina provided funds to the Golden LEAF Foundation to make grants to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian. Infrastructure includes nonresidential buildings that serve the public, water, sewer, stormwater, and other publicly owned assets.

This program is intended to address unmet needs following insurance and available federal assistance including FEMA Public Assistance and/or an SBA loan. Click here for more information.

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