FAQ: Golden LEAF Hurricane Disaster Recovery and Relief Programs

FAQ: Golden LEAF Hurricane Disaster Recovery and Relief Programs

The past two years have brought historic hurricane devastation to North Carolina’s eastern communities – both coastal and inland. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew cut through rural eastern NC with unprecedented flooding and destruction. Only two years later, Hurricane Florence similarly damaged eastern communities – many for a second time – with record breaking flooding.

The Golden LEAF Foundation, charged with investing tobacco settlement agreement monies back into North Carolina’s rural and economically distressed communities, was tapped by the state to play a major role in Hurricane Matthew recovery grant distribution; and again is ready to spearhead significant parts of the state’s recovery efforts for Hurricane Florence.

The comprehensive group of relief and recovery grants cover a broad range of needs in disaster declared communities. These monies are intended to help communities fully recover – often when there is a gap in coverage – when organizations or local governments fall short of either qualifying for or receiving adequate funds from insurance companies or federal governments to complete a project.

Matthew Recovery
What role did Golden LEAF play in Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery?

The General Assembly asked Golden LEAF to administer a series of grant programs from state appropriations around Hurricane Matthew recovery that focused primarily on public infrastructure and small business recovery.

Three separate Matthew Recovery packages were passed: Disaster Recovery Acts of 2016, 2017 and 2018 appropriating a total of $65 million to Golden LEAF to provide grants to local governments and nonprofits.

Grants were awarded for a range of needs including repair and replacement of infrastructure and equipment, small business loans, hazard mitigation, debris removal and for construction of new infrastructure to support housing outside of the 100-year floodplain.

How much of the Golden LEAF Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery Program funds have been awarded?

The $55 million provided by the Disaster Recovery Acts of 2016 and 2017 have been designated. The remaining funds from the Disaster Recovery Act of 2018 will be awarded in the upcoming December 2018 Foundation Board meeting. To date, 94 grants totaling more than $63 million have been awarded, supporting projects in 27 counties.

Florence Relief
What is Golden LEAF’s role with the NC Hurricane Florence Relief Fund?

The NC Disaster Relief Fund was created after Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and reactivated again this year following Hurricane Florence. The disaster relief fund’s money is derived from donations by individuals and other organizations who want to help support hard-hit communities and families.

The governor’s office, in charge of overseeing the fund, is working with the United Way of North Carolina, which is responsible for collecting the funds, and Golden LEAF, which is responsible for managing fund distribution decisions and the distributions. A special committee of Golden LEAF board members has been meeting regularly to make grant awards as quickly as possible to get the funds to those who need them.

Grant funds support nonprofits and local governments by providing quick and direct relief to North Carolina’s Hurricane Florence survivors – specifically those with immediate needs that cannot get assistance from other means.

The fund will support organizations and local governments working to address the immediate and short-term unmet needs. Applications from nonprofit organizations with experience in disaster relief and recovery and history in disaster declared communities will receive priority.

For more information about the NC Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund, click here.

What is the total number of grants awarded under the NC Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund?


Grant awards are being made weekly to bi-weekly until funding is no longer available through the fund. As of November 2, 2018, 26 grants totaling more than $2.1 million will support 28 affected counties.

Florence Recovery
What is Golden LEAF’s role in Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery?

As of October 2018’s legislative Hurricane Florence session $20 million was appropriated to the Golden LEAF Foundation for grants to support local government infrastructure and equipment repair and replacement. Eligible projects include repair or replacement of vehicles, equipment, facilities, water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. For more information about the Golden LEAF Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Grant Program, click here.

Also, $5 million was appropriated to the Foundation for grants to nonprofits to lend to small businesses affected by Hurricane Florence. For more information about the Golden LEAF Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Loan Program, click here.

Has Golden LEAF supported Disaster Recovery with its own funding?

The Golden LEAF Foundation provided $3,928,900 in its own funding to help with Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery efforts, primarily grants to nonprofits for small business loans immediately after the storm.

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