In mid-March, the country was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the country including North Carolina responded with a shutdown of nonessential businesses. While the pandemic was a health crisis, it also was an economic crisis.
Small Business Assistance
On March 24, 2020, Golden LEAF announced $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program for small businesses in response to economic losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications quickly exceeded available funding. Golden LEAF worked with state leaders and the N.C. General Assembly to appropriate funds to the program. To date, the N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program has provided 1,615 loans totaling more than $94 million to support 10,740 jobs at N.C. small businesses. The program made 66 percent of its loans to minority- and women-owned businesses .
The N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is a partnership between the Golden LEAF Foundation and the N.C. Rural Center, as well as a consortium of established North Carolina nonprofit lenders, including Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Community Impact, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, Piedmont Business Capital, Sequoyah Fund, and Thread Capital.
Community College Scholarships
The Golden LEAF Board also provided extra funding for community college students trying to finish their degrees and get to work. At the April 2020 Board meeting, Golden LEAF awarded $500,000 to the North Carolina Community College System to support community college students dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Participating community colleges used these funds to help those adversely affected by COVID-19, by the loss of employment or childcare or as new needs arose such as a computer or reliable internet. Students at 36 of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges were provided the funding they needed through the Golden LEAF Scholarship COVID-19 Fund to help finish their classes despite the pandemic.
Learn more about the funding Golden LEAF deployed to support businesses and community college students affected by the pandemic:
- Golden LEAF launches $15 million NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program
- NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program supports 3,789 small business jobs so far
- NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program adapts to better support NC Small Businesses
- Golden LEAF Scholarship COVID-19 Fund helps rural community college students succeed despite pandemic