CBGI – Southwest Prosperity Zone

Counties from the Southwest Prosperity Zone are invited to participate in our Community-Based Grants Initiative (CBGI). The counties in the Southwest Prosperity Zone are Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union.

The process is competitive, but organizations from all counties within the Southwest Prosperity Zone will have an opportunity to apply. 

The CBGI is designed to identify projects with the potential to have a significant impact. It is a focused process with grants targeted toward investments in the building blocks of economic growth. Funds are limited to projects that address Golden LEAF priorities of job creation and economic investment, agriculture, and workforce preparedness.

Available Funds
A total of $11m is available to support projects in the region. Awards are limited to no more than three projects in any county and may total no more than $1.5 million in any county. Not all proposals will be funded and there is no assurance that there will be a funded project in every county. Funds may also be awarded for regional projects (see information below), which will not count toward the limit of projects in a county, but regional projects are funded through the overall $11 million program budget.

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Eligible Entities
Applicants must be 501(c)(3) organizations or governmental entities (county and municipal governments, community colleges, universities, etc.) Funds do not have to be administered or implemented by the county government.

County managers serve a key role in the process. Each county manager will submit projects to Golden LEAF for feedback and later endorse a slate of up to four projects for consideration. Each county will determine how to identify which projects will be endorsed for this initiative. Only projects that have been endorsed and regional projects will be eligible to submit an application for consideration by the Golden LEAF Board of Directors.

Regional Projects
Eligible entities may submit regional projects for consideration. Regional projects do not require county manager endorsement but must reach out to discuss with Golden LEAF staff to ensure the project meets the eligibility requirements for regional projects. 

Regional projects must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Collaboration of entities in at least three counties 
  • Collaboration outside of traditional service areas


Timeline includes anticipated milestones by month and will be updated with final, specific due dates as they are determined.

August 5, by noon (Optional)

County managers may submit initial project worksheets via email to Golden LEAF for review and feedback. Meetings to review and provide feedback to county managers will be held on August 9 and August 14. There is no cap on the number of projects eligible to be submitted in this phase. Regional projects may submit project worksheets directly to Golden LEAF for review and feedback.

September 5, by noon

County managers submit the final list of projects endorsed to apply to Golden LEAF. Each county may submit up to four projects that total up to $2m, though no single project may exceed $1.5m.

Regional projects submit a form confirming their intent to apply. Regional projects must meet with Golden LEAF staff prior to this deadline to request regional designation and are encouraged to do so as early as possible.

September 9

Golden LEAF emails organizations endorsed by county managers and regional projects guidance on accessing the Golden LEAF application portal and links to access Open Office Hours which organizations may attend to receive additional guidance and ask questions about the application process.

November 21, by noon

Applications due to Golden LEAF via online application portal. 

November - January

Golden LEAF staff reviews applications and conducts due diligence. 

February 6, 2025

Golden LEAF Board reviews applications and awards funds for projects.


Click to access initiative resources. Resources include presentations from prior training events and the Project Worksheet template.

For more information on the Community-Based Grants Initiative, contact Programs staff.

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