Shortly after I joined the Golden LEAF Foundation in November 2019, I sat down individually with each member of the Golden LEAF Board and asked for their insights, ideas, and what they hoped to see in the coming years. Those conversations affirmed discussions around development of a long-term strategic plan held during my recruitment and interview process months before. After a short delay due to the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, we launched the process of developing this plan in July 2020.
To help the 15-member Board-led process run smoothly, Golden LEAF Board Chairman Bo Biggs established a Board working group of Board members Barry Dodson (Rockingham), Tom Taft (Pitt), and Lawrence Davenport (Pitt). This group was instrumental in ensuring the process remained on track and aligned with the Board’s vision. The working group received proposals from several firms and selected Economic Leadership and Creative Consulting to serve as consultants for this process.
The Board held several strategic planning workshops led by the consultants to discuss trends in rural economic development and best practices, reflect upon the Golden LEAF mission and strategic priorities, and establish goals and strategies. Our staff also provided their many years of experience and expertise to the process.
We invited more than 1,000 stakeholders and partners including members of the N.C. General Assembly, Governor’s office, business and economic development officials, higher education officials, grantees, and applicants, to share their ideas through surveys, virtual small group sessions, and one-on-one interviews.
The goal of the strategic planning process was to help Golden LEAF become more effective, efficient, and impactful in moving the economic needle in rural, economically distressed, and tobacco-dependent North Carolina communities. The plan distilled the Board’s vision into these strategic priorities:
- To increase job creation and economic investment in rural, economically distressed, and tobacco-dependent communities
- To improve workforce preparedness in rural, economically distressed, and tobacco-dependent communities
- To increase the value of North Carolina’s agriculture industry
- To improve the competitiveness, capacity, and vitality of targeted communities
- To have, and be recognized for, excellence in organizational collaboration, innovation, and impact
The Golden LEAF Board and staff are excited to get to work on implementing strategies to help address some of the economic challenges facing North Carolina. With the Board’s approval this month, our next steps include developing the implementation plan that we expect to launch in July with our new fiscal year.
While we have been honored to support critically important work over the last two decades, there is much left to do. We look forward to keeping you informed as we work toward the long-term economic advancement of North Carolina.