Name: Dr. Bobbie Richardson
City of Residence: Louisburg, NC
County of Residence: Franklin
Employment: Retired, Former North Carolina Legislator, Director, Exceptional Children Programs, Exceptional Children Program Administrator (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction), and Teacher
Appointed by: Governor
Appointed to the Board: December 2018
What are other activities or leadership roles do you provide for the community?
I am active with several organizations including the Board of Trustees for Louisburg College in Franklin County, the Board of Franklin County Safe Space, the Northeastern Revitalization Board and Committee, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Lake Gaston Area Chapter of Links Incorporated, Gillfield Missionary Baptist Church, and the Board of Perry’s Alumni Association. As a former member of the N.C. General Assembly, I also remain very active in state and local politics.
What is your connection to rural, tobacco-dependent or economically distressed areas?
My connection goes back to my birthplace. I was born in Franklin County on my parents’ farm. They grew tobacco and other crops to provide for the family. My parents raised and educated their family of 18 from the proceeds received from the farm. I returned to Franklin County in 1998, after living in Durham for thirty years. With the absence of tobacco, my family farm is almost non-existent. My neighbors travel miles to access work because farming and other industry is limited in my hometown community.
How does your personal and/or professional life complement Golden LEAF’s mission and priorities?
I believe my life work is and has been to promote opportunities for economic attainment for my fellow citizens. I have worked collaboratively, in all aspects of my career, to ensure that life circumstances for myself and others were improved. I understand policy making and grantmaking and have participated in these processes most of my career. My life goal is to lead, collaborate, and improve the community and state, leaving it a better place for future generations.
What are you most excited about seeing happen in economic development in rural NC in the next 5-10 years?
The impact of COVID-19 will have severe implications for the future of NC communities. However, I am excited that Golden LEAF will continue to spur exponential growth and profound innovation in rural North Carolina. Continued growth and development will create opportunities for industrial expansion and educational improvement and will result in a more qualified workforce. My excitement now is that the Golden LEAF Foundation’s roots are deep enough that we can help shepherd our community back to economic progress after the pandemic has ended. I know Golden LEAF will be a major catalyst in our economic recovery.
What do you want others to know about the Golden LEAF Foundation?
I want people to know Golden LEAF has been assisting communities in economic development for twenty years. Golden LEAF has been and will continue to be, great stewards of the resources entrusted to the Foundation. Thousands of jobs have been created and hundreds of thousands of lives have been changed because of Golden LEAF’s investments. Additionally, the staff of Golden LEAF are exceptionally qualified and skilled to support and execute the mission and goals of the Foundation. The present and past Board members have been outstanding stewards, innovative thinkers, and collaborators whose primary mission to grow rural NC into thriving communities for years to come.