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This Golden LEAF grant will provide funding to the NC Rural Center to support leadership training and capacity-building for potential applicants in the Sandhills region in advance of Golden LEAF’s 2019 Community-Based Grantsmaking Initiative. This is a continuation of work done by the Rural Center in the Northeast region this past year. The primary goal of the program is to ensure that participating counties are prepared to pursue grant funding from Golden LEAF and other foundations to advance their region economically. The Rural Center will work within the region to identify and form a core regional leadership team. Members of the leadership team and key stakeholders from across the region will participate in a two-day Homegrown Leadership training program to enhance participants’ knowledge and skill to plan and carry out comprehensive economic development initiatives. Leadership teams will review existing strategic plans and complete a gap analysis to identify regional needs and inform project ideas that have the greatest potential to improve economic opportunity in the county and region. The Rural Center will help the leadership teams explore state and national best practices in rural development and coach project teams in developing projects.