Board Spotlight: Carolyn Justice

Golden LEAF Board Vice Chair & Programs Chair

Name: Carolyn Justice

City of Residence: Hampstead, NC

County of Residence: Pender County

Appointed by: Speaker of the House

Employer: Self-Employed

Occupation: Retired Legislator and property manager.

Golden LEAF Board Leadership Roles: Vice Chair (2018), Programs Chair (2016-2018), Secretary (2014-2015)

What other activities or leadership roles do you provide for the community?
I have been blessed to be a community leader in my town, county and region for over 40 years. I am the founding member of my Chamber of Commerce, Publisher for 30 years of the Hampstead Business and Citizens Directory, a board member and instructor for the Institute of Political Leadership (IOPL), Advisor to the NC Veterans Leadership Council and Senior Advisor to the NC TARS (Teenage Republicans).

What is your connection to rural, tobacco-dependent or economically distressed areas?
I am a graduate of the NC Rural Economic Development Institute and continue to work with my County Commissioners – which I served on the board for 9 years – to develop job opportunities in Pender County.

How does your personal and/or professional life complement Golden LEAF’s mission and priorities?
I believe my experience as a County Commissioner and a NC Legislator have provided me with knowledge and experience that is an asset to the Foundation.

What are you most excited about seeing happen in economic development in rural NC in the next 5-10 years?
I am seeing greater awareness among NC leaders concerning the plight of rural NC. Golden LEAF is well positioned to address that awareness, even as the state becomes more urban. Repositioning our organization to recognize the value of larger projects, while continuing to fund the smaller ones, is a challenge we’ve handled well, and will continue to do so.

What do you want people to know about the Golden LEAF Foundation?
I believe many people think we are just another branch of NC Government. I would like for them to know that we are a nonprofit that has built an endowment that has funded hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and covered all of our operating expenses with investment income alone.

What didn’t I ask that you would like to address related to the Foundation, the communities we serve or economic development?
I am most proud of our staff at Golden LEAF. Not only are they intelligent and well qualified to do the work they are charged with, they each have a heart for the rural citizens of our great state.

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