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

Upcoming Events

Kickoff – April
The purpose of the kickoff is to introduce the initiative and application process, funding available through other Golden LEAF programs, and set the stage for regional collaboration. The kickoff will focus on opportunities for collaboration and networking as well as feature other funders. Attendance is encouraged for those at the interested organization/entity that will be responsible for project development. Event will be held in person. Lunch will be served.


Gathering – May
The gathering will feature breakout sessions on priority areas and a step-by-step overview of project worksheet development. Attendance is encouraged for those at the interested organization/entity that will be responsible for project development.



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


County managers may submit initial project worksheets via email to Golden LEAF for review and feedback. Golden LEAF will schedule meetings with county managers to review submitted projects. 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. 


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. 

Optional virtual application workshop held for endorsed applicants. Golden LEAF staff will review specific requirements of the application.


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.


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

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