Golden LEAF announces $12.8 million in funding at February meeting, including $10.2 million in the Southeast Prosperity Zone

Golden LEAF announces $12.8 million in funding at February meeting, including $10.2 million in the Southeast Prosperity Zone

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., (February 2, 2023) – Today, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $10,248,815 in funding to support projects through the Community-Based Grants Initiative in the Southeast Prosperity Zone and $1,549,997 in funding to support projects through the Open Grants Program. The Golden LEAF Board also awarded $1,037,080 in funding for projects through the Flood Mitigation Program.

“Today, the Golden LEAF Board awarded projects that represent all three funding priorities of the foundation: job creation and economic investment, workforce preparedness, and agriculture,” said Golden LEAF Board Chair Don Flow. “These projects will support the long-term economic advancement of rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities. We look forward to the impact these projects will make for years to come.”

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded 13 Community-Based Grants Initiative projects totaling $10,248,815 in the Southeastern Prosperity Zone. These projects will support workforce preparedness and job creation and economic investment in Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Pamlico, and Wayne counties. Click here to read more about the projects awarded through the Community-Based Grants Initiative in the Southeast Prosperity Zone.

“Through the Community-Based Grants Initiative, Golden LEAF works directly in one Prosperity Zone annually to identify projects with the greatest potential to have a significant impact,” said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. “This competitive process focuses on projects that invest in the building blocks of economic growth with the ultimate goal of moving the economic needle in a community.”

Additionally, the Golden LEAF Board awarded six projects totaling $1,549,997 in Open Grants Program funding. These projects will support job creation and economic investment, agriculture, and workforce preparedness in New Hanover, Pasquotank, Pender, Rowan, and Wilkes counties.

  • $200,000 to Cabarrus Rowan Community Health Centers, Inc. to support construction costs to expand a primary care clinic in Spencer, N.C., resulting in the creation of seven new jobs. CRCHC is seeking $1,000,000 from UDSA and plans to contribute $180,458 of its own revenues to fund the project.
  • $250,000 to Feast Down East, Inc. located in New Hanover and Pender counties for partial vehicle costs, refrigeration and other equipment, renovations, and related costs to expand cold storage and distribution facilities that would increase regional farmer services and outreach into Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Onslow, Robeson, and Sampson counties from locations in New Hanover and Pender counties.
  • $199,997 to North Carolina State University to support faculty salaries, interpreters, travel, materials, and printing costs to develop and implement required, position-specific, food safety training programs targeting small- and medium-sized food manufacturing and processing business in rural N.C.
  • $500,000 to Northeast Academy for Aerospace & Advanced Technologies located in Pasquotank County to assist with equipment, furniture, and construction costs for a career center that will house the school’s advanced manufacturing and aviation programs and a general hands-on fabrication lab to support middle-grades, career-pathway, feeder courses.
  • $200,000 to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $200,000 for salaries and contracted services to support the development and design of online employability training modules for opportunity youth ages 16- 24 years old in the 37 counties represented by the thirteen Our State Our Work collaboratives. The development and design will include conducting focus group meetings and data-gathering with youth and employers, program marketing, and associated travel.
  • $200,000 to Wilkes Community College for equipment to expand the welding lab space to double its current capacity to help meet local/regional demand for welders. The expansion will allow the college to increase students trained annually to 166 over three years.

The State of North Carolina appropriated the Golden LEAF Foundation $25 million for a Flood Mitigation Program. The Flood Mitigation Program will award funding up to $250,000 per project. Funds may only be awarded to units of local government.

The Golden LEAF Board awarded $1,037,080 in funding to five projects through the Flood Mitigation Program in Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Haywood, and New Hanover counties.

  • $162,200 to the Town of Canton located in Haywood County to replace compromised corrugated metal pipe with reinforced concrete pipe to improve resiliency and mitigate future erosion and property damage that results from storm-related flooding along Meadowbrook Drive in the town.
  • $175,000 to the Town of Kenansville located in Duplin County to map Kenansville’s stormwater systems, and upload them to the GIS maps for the town to identify and assess priority areas and to be proactive in stormwater management and budgeting to mitigate the frequent flooding experienced during heavy rain and tropical events.
  • $200,000 to the Town of Trent Woods in Craven County to develop a Master Drainage Plan that would enable the Town of Trent Woods to establish conceptual projects to reduce flooding and improve water quality when it experiences town-wide flooding during quick and heavy rain events.
  • $249,880 to the City of Whiteville in Columbus County for engineering services for surveying, design/engineering, environmental review, and permitting required to advance from a schematic plan to a complete set of permit-level drawings for the Mollie’s Branch stream restoration and infrastructure improvement project. The project seeks to mitigate frequent flooding and related damage in the area surrounding Mollie’s Branch stream during both heavy rainfall and catastrophic flood events from hurricanes.
  • $250,000 to the City of Wilmington located in New Hanover County to install three reinforced concrete box culverts along Mallard Drive, replacing existing dual culverts, as part of the project that also includes water and sewer conflict relocations, and reconstruction of the street. The project is to mitigate flooding along Clear Run—in the Clear Run watershed—that makes roads in the area impassable.

Since 1999, Golden LEAF has funded 2,077 projects totaling $1.2 billion supporting the mission of advancing economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities.

About Golden LEAF

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For more than 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and rural areas of the state by helping create 67,000 jobs, more than $720 million in new payrolls, and more than 95,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, please visit our website at


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