The Golden LEAF Foundation recently released its 2011 Annual Report. Click here to read it.
At Golden LEAF’s February and April Board meetings, the Foundation awarded a total of 25 grants totaling $6.1 million to a diverse set of projects to organizations from Cleveland to Camden counties. The grant awards included projects awarded through the Foundation’s Economic Catalyst program, Community Assistance Initiative, Open Grants Program, and Rural Hope Initiative. Click here to search Golden LEAF grants.
In this edition of "Golden LEAF News," read about the Golden LEAF Community Assistance Initiative in McDowell, Clay, Greene, and Burke counties. Learn about a job training program in Pitt County; a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Initiative project in Edgecombe County; and a small business center in Scotland County. Find out more about the statewide Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative, the Western NC Regional Livestock Center, and a job creation project in Davie County.
Program/ Communications Officer
In this edition of "Golden LEAF News":
McDowell County lands $2.1 million from Golden LEAF
McDowell County will get $2.1 million in Golden LEAF Community Assistance Initiative grant money that will be used to transform a part of the old Universal Bedroom Furniture plant complex into a "Career Pathways Skill Center." The plant, owned by the county, will be upfitted to provide more space for McDowell Technical Community College and the school system. Golden LEAF Foundation's Community Assistance Initiative is a grant-making process targeting economically distressed counties across North Carolina, such as McDowell.
Program aims to provide rural employment
The Daily Reflector
Employee downsizing at North Carolina logging operations tied to the depressed housing market should see a reversal based on emerging markets, the impetus for a new job training partnership between Pitt Community College and a logging association. The 16-week continuing education forestry equipment operator course is a pilot project that could be expanded to other community colleges. A maximum of 25 students can be enrolled. Those students are guaranteed a job interview near where they live and job placement assistance. Classes started April 16. The grant was leveraged by PCC and its partners in the program. The North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, of which East Carolina University is a partner, contributed $75,000 in Golden LEAF Foundation funds.
Edgecombe County's STEM project kick-off
The Daily Southerner
The North Carolina A & T (Agricultural and Technical) State University Regional Collaborative for Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) kick-off event generated an enormous amount of support from the community. The purpose of the project is to utilize the resources of universities, schools, communities and industries in the area to provide STEM educational opportunities for middle school students. The Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Rocky Mount has funded STEM activities in six counties in Eastern North Carolina, including Edgecombe.
$2 million in grants on tap
Clay County Progress
More than 70 people filled the multi-purpose room in the Clay County Courthouse to hear a presentation from Golden LEAF about the Foundation’s Community Assistance Initiative. The audience included Sen. Jim Davis, numerous Clay County government officials, and a variety of representatives from community organizations throughout the county. The big draw — $2 million in grant money allocated to Clay County. The big question — how it will be spent and who will get to spend it.
First phase of statewide NC broadband network project complete
WRAL Tech Wire
The first phase of a statewide expansion project to provide access to broadband Internet is now complete. NCREN is being expanded through a series of federal grants, support from the Golden LEAF economic development group, its own resources and private sector partners. The entire project will cost $144 million and is called the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative due in part to Golden LEAF's support through a $24 million grant. MCNC designed and put in place "Community Anchor Institution" network access points where schools, universities, community colleges, and other public institutions can access the network. Through partners such as FRC LLC, commercial institutions can also access the network through fiber that is not maintained by MCNC but leased to private entities.
WNC Regional Livestock Center lauded
The first anniversary of operation of the WNC Regional Livestock Center was celebrated with two awards of appreciation presented. The livestock market opened on March 21, 2011, and it has done well with the sale of over 17,000 head of cattle, with an additional 1,300 sheep and goats for about $12 million with an economic impact of $18 million. These details reflect more than $650,000 annual savings to area producers. The WNC Regional Livestock Center was made possible through the generous support of $3.1 million dollars in funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation, North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, NC Rural Center, Appalachian Regional Commission, NC Agricultural Development Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, International Paper, and local contributions from counties, businesses and producers.
Ashley Furniture Will Create Over 500 Jobs For Triad
Ashley Furniture, a manufacturer and distributor of home furnishings, will locate a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Davie County. Ashley Furniture expects to create 550 new jobs over the next five years and invest $80 million in land, buildings, machinery and equipment. The announcement was made possible in part by a Golden LEAF grant, a state Job Development Investment Grant, a One North Carolina Fund award.
Greene County Farmer's Market kicks off local growing season year after tornado destroyed planned site
Kinston Free Press
The 4,800-square foot, 10-bay facility that will host the Elaney Wood Farmer's Market in Greene County may not be complete, but that didn't stop several vendors from opening the growing season Saturday by sharing their produce and plants to potential buyers at a temporary market. At the Feb. 4 ground breaking, Shenile Ford, Greene County Cooperative Extension Service director, said the farmer's market is expected to be finished in July. The temporary market will continue to operate near the Greene County Parks and Recreation Complex, in sight of the new building. The county received a $349,000 grant through the Golden LEAF Community Assistance Initiative in December to establish the county's first farmer's market.
Incubator breaks ground
Representatives gathered recently to break ground on the new Small Business Innovation Center in Scotland County. The new center will "walk businesses through the entire business lifecycle," and will, in addition to business training opportunities, also offer a revolving loan fund for businesses in their third to fifth years and "small amounts" of startup capital for new businesses. The project's initial funds came from an $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration and from a $200,000 grant received by the county development corporation from the Golden LEAF Foundation earlier this year.
N.C. governor honors Town of Valdese, initiative
The Morganton News Herald
The Town of Valdese was honored for its efforts to spur growth for small business through the Governor's Innovative Small Business Community Award. Valdese was one of nine communities in the first class of award recipients. Valdese Economic Development Investment Corporation (VEDIC) is the nonprofit created by citizens of Valdese. From there, Valdese applied for and received the Golden LEAF 2011 Community Assistance Initiative, allowing an additional $250,000 to be used for loans. VEDIC and Golden LEAF grant funds has created 20 companies and businesses in Valdese and more than 60 jobs throughout the region.
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