Mission, Vision and Goals


Golden LEAF’s mission is to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.


Golden LEAF’s vision is a North Carolina with opportunities for growth and prosperity for its people all across the state.


The Golden LEAF Foundation strives to be North Carolina’s best resource to create meaningful and lasting economic impact on rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed communities by working with a hard-to-solve need and bringing creative solutions to the table.


In 1999, the North Carolina legislature created the nonprofit Golden LEAF Foundation to administer a portion of North Carolina’s share of the Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers.


Golden LEAF has been a steady hand providing resources to increase the economic opportunity for the state’s rural and economically distressed communities through a variety of grantmaking building human and physical infrastructure.


Golden LEAF is governed by a board of directors appointed by leaders of NC’s Legislative and Executive Branch. The Board has built the endowment in a responsible manner, while other states have used proceeds to balance budgets.


The Foundation’s funding focuses on critical issues facing rural communities: advancing agriculture practices, creating opportunity for job creation and helping retain crucial businesses at risk for leaving an area, and readying the workforce. The foundation also provides scholarships for students to attend college to prepare for the workforce and helps move communities toward economic vitality.


The Golden LEAF Foundation is a champion for rural North Carolina, seeking ways to promote it as a destination for companies to bring jobs, communities to thrive and families to remain.


Golden LEAF partners with the state and local governments and other foundations to build economic opportunity, including bridging the urban-rural communities.


The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state:

  • 68,000+ jobs created
  • $780+ million in new payroll
  • 98,000+ workers trained or retrained for good-paying jobs

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