September 22, 2022
Golden LEAF’s mission is to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.
We accomplish this mission through our programs and initiatives that provide funding to communities in the areas of Job Creation and Economic Investment, Workforce Preparedness, and Agriculture.
Between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $123,181,033.20 to support 68 projects across 47 counties. Awards totaling $92,234,850 made under Golden LEAF’s Economic Catalyst Program are expected to create at least 9,712 jobs and a capital investment of more than $5.6 billion.
Also between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, Golden LEAF-funded projects had the following economic impact:
- 1,244 new jobs,
- $1,332,294 in new payroll,
- $966,051,212 in capital investment,
- 4,760 new people trained or workers with skills upgraded,
- 830 third-party credentials earned, and
- 226 degrees, diplomas, or certificates earned.
These numbers are not just projected numbers but actual numbers of economic impact on North Carolina communities reported by grantees and verified by Golden LEAF staff.
Last year, Golden LEAF launched the SITE Program as a result of the Golden LEAF strategic planning process. This program is helping to address the need for available industrial sites in North Carolina with a prioritization for persistently economically distressed, tobacco-dependent, and rural counties. The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded 24 projects totaling nearly $10 million in fiscal year 2022 and increased the funding to $15 million for fiscal year 2023. The first round of SITE Program applications for fiscal year 2023 were received on Monday, September 19th and will be awarded in December 2022. The Golden LEAF Board decided to have at least $7.5 million available for the second round of funding in June 2023.
One of Golden LEAF’s longest running programs is the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program. This year the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $3,018,555 to support 215 new and 588 renewal students through the Golden LEAF Colleges and Universities Scholarship. Scholars receiving the scholarship are eligible for $3,500 per year for up to four years of undergraduate study. The Golden LEAF Board also awarded funding to support the Rural Internship Initiative, which provides scholars with the opportunity to participate in paid internships in rural communities in their field of interest.
The Golden LEAF Board awarded $1,750,000 to the North Carolina Community College System to support at least 1,000 new scholarships for rural students attending the state’s 58 community colleges through the Golden LEAF Community Colleges Scholarship. Scholars receiving the scholarship are eligible for up to $2,250 per year for students in curriculum programs and up to $1,850 per year for students in occupational programs. The scholarship applications are available at each community college’s financial aid office.
While we have had a busy year of funding projects to support the economic growth of North Carolina, I also finished my tour of all 100 counties. I listened and learned as much as possible from county, community college, college or university or economic development leaders. While visiting these counties, I also worked on our outreach efforts to help people know more about our funding priorities and programs. Next up on my list is completing a tour of all 58 community college campuses.
To help keep communication lines open, Golden LEAF provides information on all its awarded projects through an online database located by clicking here. We are also open to hearing from you about your economic growth strategies. For the quickest access to schedule a meeting with our Programs staff, fill out this online form. I look forward to hearing about strategies in your community that will help grow the economy.