This has been an exciting and eventful first month for me. I have traveled over 3,000 miles, visited with colleagues in 18 counties, and served as master of ceremonies for the Golden LEAF Foundation’s 20th anniversary event to celebrate 20 years of supporting economic development across the state. I topped it off with my first Board meeting as President, helping the Board announce 13 Disaster Recovery and three Open Grants Program awards in rural North Carolina.
The Golden LEAF Board of Directors also announced new officers. In this edition of Golden LEAF News, learn more about our new Board Chair, Bo Biggs of Robeson County. We also feature Golden LEAF’s 20th Anniversary. Click here for a video highlighting 20 years of work to help build our state’s economy.
During my first week as Golden LEAF’s third president, I helped cut the ribbon on the new NC Food Innovation lab in Kannapolis, which will help bring new food manufacturers, jobs, and increase agribusiness in our state. I also met with four alumni of the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program, who have returned to their rural home counties to live and work.
In this edition of Golden LEAF News, we announce that we are now accepting applications for the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program to attend NC four-year colleges and universities. Each year 215 NC rural high school and community college transfer students are awarded $12,000 scholarships to attend our state’s colleges and universities. These scholars will gain the knowledge and skills needed to come back home to work, help grow and sustain our rural economies. You can learn more about the scholarship program and access the applications that are due March 1 by clicking here.
In my second week on the job, I had the opportunity to give an overview of Golden LEAF’s program of work and talked about the importance of entrepreneurship at the NC Idea conference. Thanks to Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC Idea, for interviewing me. You can learn more about our grant programs by visiting our Grant Seekers page on the website.
I was invited by the NC Rural Center to present the “Rural Leader of the Year Award” to Catherine Parker with Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center at the NC Rural Assembly. Catherine is an amazing person. I was so glad to meet one of our many rural champions.
In November, Golden LEAF received an additional $15 million appropriation from the NC General Assembly to support the ongoing recovery from major natural disasters including Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Dorian and other named storms. You can learn more about eligibility or access the application by visiting our website’s Disaster Recovery Grant Program page.
As I reflect on the significant work of the Foundation over its 20 years, I am also reminded of all that needs to be accomplished. I look forward to working with our state and local leaders, partners, foundations, and organizations across the state to enhance the economic well being of those we serve.
Scott T. Hamilton
President, Chief Executive Officer