Grant Seekers

Open Grants Program

The Open Grants Program is designed to make it easier for applicants to submit a proposal to Golden LEAF and to make funding opportunities available throughout the year. Eligible applicants are governmental entities and 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations. This program is for Economic Development projects in the areas of Economic Investment and Job Creation, Workforce Preparedness and Education, Agriculture, and Community Vitality. If you are looking for Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery, click here.  


The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to using the funds entrusted to it for projects that show the most potential for strengthening North Carolina’s long-term economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities. Golden LEAF makes grants for projects that the Foundation’s Board of Directors believes have extraordinary merit and address the Foundation’s purposes as set forth in its Charter.

Grants in this program are not expected to exceed $200,000. Since requests are likely to far exceed funds available, the Foundation will be looking for projects in the following focus areas of Economic Investment and Job Creation, Workforce Preparedness and Education, Agriculture, and Community VitalityClick here for more information about Golden LEAF’s priorities, characteristics of competitive proposals, and low priority proposals.


Presenting a project for review will involve a two-step process: letter of inquiry and full application.

First, applicants will complete an online letter of inquiry. The letter of inquiry will gather basic information about the applicant, a brief description of the project and the outcomes expected, and an explanation of how Golden LEAF funds would be used. The Golden LEAF Board of Directors will review letters of inquiry to determine which projects appear to meet the Foundation’s priorities for the Open Grants Program and are likely to be competitive for funding.

An applicant with a competitive proposal will be invited to submit a full application for consideration by the Golden LEAF Board. This two stage review will help each applicant avoid investing time and resources in completing a full application for a project that is not likely to receive funding. Although an invitation to submit a full proposal indicates interest in learning more about a project, it does not indicate that funds will necessarily be awarded.

Golden LEAF staff will use our best efforts to bring letters of inquiry and applications before the Board as soon as possible and will establish a timeline to provide applicants guidance on when they can expect to receive a decision regarding their submission.

We encourage potential applicants to contact Foundation staff prior to submitting a letter of inquiry. For education or workforce development projects, contact Marilyn Chism (, for healthcare, infrastructure, and agriculture projects, contact Terri Bryant Adou-Dy (, and for all other inquiries contact Ted Lord (

How to Apply

Only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and governmental entities can apply.

IMPORTANT: If you submit an application by using the online application form, you should receive an electronic response indicating that the application has been received. If you do not, please contact Golden LEAF immediately by telephone at 888-684-8404. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Priority Communities

Golden LEAF accepts applications from all communities in North Carolina; however, funded projects must benefit tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities. Applicants can strengthen their proposals by identifying the direct positive effect(s) the project will have on those target communities.

Declined Proposal Policy

When the Golden LEAF Board has declined to invite a full proposal for a project or has declined to fund a project, applications for support of the same or a substantially similar project may not be resubmitted for a period of six months from the date of the Golden LEAF Board’s decision. This does not preclude an applicant from submitting a letter of inquiry for a different project.

Open Door Policy

Public Records Act


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