At the April 2021 Board meeting, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $5.5 million in funding to support projects through the Economic Catalyst Program, Open Grants Program, and Disaster Recovery Grant Program.
Under the Economic Catalyst Program, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $4 million to the Town of Holly Springs to upgrade a sewer pump station to provide the capacity necessary to support Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. This biomanufacturing company will locate a manufacturing facility in Holly Springs, make a capital investment of $1.5 billion, and create 725 new jobs paying average annual wages of $99,848. The laborshed for this project will span into rural and economically distressed counties in the biopharma crescent which includes Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash, Pitt, and Wilson counties.
The Economic Catalyst Program assists eligible state, regional and local economic development entities with projects to support permissible activities in which a company will commit to create a specific number of full-time jobs.
Under the Open Grants Program, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $1.07 million in funding for six projects in Alamance, Alexander, Cleveland, Duplin, Hertford, and Northampton counties. Golden LEAF’s Open Grants Program bolsters economic development projects in the areas of job creation and economic investment; workforce preparedness; agriculture; and community competitiveness, capacity, and vitality. Open Grants Program funding was awarded to the following projects:
- $195,000 to Alamance Community College Foundation, Inc. to purchase three bioprocessing machines to train students for openings in the biotech, lab, and pharmaceutical industry. There is a current demand for more than 200 positions.
- $193,776 to Alexander County to extend wastewater infrastructure in Alexander Industrial Park in Taylorsville that would support expansion—ten new jobs and $1.2 million in private investment—at Industrial Timber, a manufacturer of furniture frames, and increase the attractiveness of a 21-acre site in the park. $1.5 million from ARC has been awarded to NC DOT for construction of a connecting road within the park.
- $200,000 to Cleveland Community College to purchase an excavator, bulldozer, road tractors and trailers, and to pay part of the cost of a carport cover to support the new Heavy Equipment Operator program.
- $200,000 to James Sprunt Community College in Duplin County for simulation equipment and related technology and software for an expanded nurse training facility to help improve nursing program completion rates.
- $138,656.88 to the Town of Harrellsville in Hertford County for waterline construction, on public property, that will support the expansion of Sandy Land Peanut Company, which will result in the hiring of 15 new, full-time employees; increase the hiring of seasonal workers; and increase its contracted land from 4,000 acres to 8,000 acres.
- $150,000 to Northampton County Schools for supplies and materials, transportation, certifications, outreach for fields in Agriculture Science/ Agribusiness, Health Careers, Automotive Technology/ Diesel Mechanic, and Industrial Systems Technology, HVAC and Electrical that lack skilled labor within the county and surrounding areas.
The Board also approved $477,000 in additional Disaster Recovery Grant Program funding to existing projects in Bertie, Robeson, and Hoke counties. The Disaster Recovery Grant Program is funded through appropriations by the State of North Carolina to the Golden LEAF Foundation to award funds to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian. Disaster Recovery Grant Program funding was awarded to the following projects:
- $277,000 to Bertie County for public infrastructure to support new housing. Golden LEAF previously awarded $240,000 for this project; however, the project was unable to move forward until recent action by the County to secure loan funds to complete the project.
- $65,000 to the City of Raeford to increase a prior award by $65,000 for a revised total of $958,000 to support construction of stormwater infrastructure to reduce frequent road flooding in a neighborhood.
- $135,000 to the Town of Pembroke to increase a prior award by $135,000 to $270,750 for increased costs as a result of Hurricane Florence related debris removal from a stormwater construction project funded by the N.C. Department of Commerce following Hurricane Matthew.
Also at the meeting, Golden LEAF Board member Lee Roberts of Raleigh announced his departure from the Golden LEAF Board effective at the conclusion of the meeting. Mr. Roberts was appointed to the Golden LEAF Board of Directors in December 2016 and was recently elected to serve on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. Board member Ralph Strayhorn of Charlotte was elected to serve as Chair of the Investment Committee. Golden LEAF’s 15-member Board of Directors is appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House.
The Board of Directors adopted a resolution in support of the attainment goal of myFutureNC that two million North Carolinians should have a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. The Golden LEAF Foundation along with leaders in business, education, state and local government, and community organizations will continue to foster partnerships to achieve the goal. The Board also received a presentation from Dr. Michael Walden, a distinguished N.C. State University professor and economist.