Golden LEAF announces $5,005,962 in funding, elects board officers and committee chairs

Golden LEAF announces $5,005,962 in funding, elects board officers and committee chairs

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., (December 2, 2021) – Today, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $4,910,962 in funds for the first round of the new SITE Program. The Board also awarded $95,000 in funding to support a project through the Open Grants Program.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors elected board officers and committee chairs. The officers and committee chairs assumed their roles effective at the conclusion of the Board meeting.

Board Officers
Chair of the Board – Don Flow of Forsyth County
Vice Chair of the Board – Ralph Strayhorn of Mecklenburg County
Treasurer – Bobbie Richardson of Franklin County
Secretary – Johnathan Rhyne, Jr. of Lincoln County
Assistant Secretary – Bobbie Richardson of Franklin County 

Committee Chairs
Programs Committee – Brian Raynor of Cumberland County
Personnel / Nominations Committee – David Rose of Nash County
Finance Committee – Jerome Vick of Wilson County
Investment Committee – Ralph Strayhorn of Mecklenburg County
Audit Committee – Barry Dodson of Rockingham County

“The Board is grateful for the leadership, insight, and service of outgoing Board Chair Bo Biggs,” said Golden LEAF Board Chair Don Flow. “Bo helped lead the Board through a strategic planning process to make Golden LEAF more effective in moving the economic needle in rural, economically distressed, and tobacco-dependent North Carolina communities. During his time as Chair, Golden LEAF awarded 168 projects totaling $94.8 million dollars. Thank you, Bo, for your strategic vision.”

The SITE Program supports communities in identifying potential sites for economic development and provides funds to enable completion of due diligence on sites already identified or to extend public utilities to or conduct rough grading and clearing of sites for which due diligence has been completed. The three phases of the SITE Program are Identification, Due Diligence, and Development.

“The need for industrial sites, especially in rural areas, was a gap identified in our strategic planning process,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “The Golden LEAF Board was excited to award the first round of SITE Program projects that will help increase economic opportunity in North Carolina by establishing or readying available industrial sites. Golden LEAF will launch a second round of the SITE Program in 2022.”

The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $4,910,962 for 11 projects through the Golden LEAF SITE Program in Macon, Montgomery, Halifax, Nash, Alexander, Yancey, Cumberland, Duplin, Franklin, McDowell, and Rockingham counties. 

SITE Program – Identification allocates funds to a firm contracted by Golden LEAF to help identify potential industrial sites in a community that does not currently have a quality industrial site to market. Macon County and Montgomery County were selected to receive assistance in this phase. 

The Golden LEAF Board awarded $86,000 in funding to support three SITE Program – Due Diligence projects. These projects will receive funding to complete eligible due diligence activities such as environmental assessments, archaeological analyses, and mapping. Organizations receiving SITE Program – Due Diligence support include:

  • $18,500 to Halifax County for the Enfield Industrial Park.
  • $50,000 to Nash County for the Middlesex Corporate Centre.
  • $17,500 to the Foundation for Duplin County Industrial and Business Development for the Duplin County AirPark.

For the SITE Program – Development, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $4,794,962 in funding for six projects that will provide public infrastructure and, for publicly owned sites, clearing and rough grading, to benefit sites that have completed the due diligence necessary to demonstrate that the site is suitable for development. Organizations receiving SITE Program – Due Development support include:

  • $632,412 to Alexander County Economic Development Corporation for grading and erosion control for a building pad.
  • $1,000,000 to East Yancey Water and Sewer District to provide roughly 11,000 linear feet of water main extension and grading at a new industrial park. The project will support the location of Little Leaf Farms that will create 100 jobs at a $53,700 annual average wage, $86 million in private investment, and another potential site at this new park.
  • $965,830 to the City of Fayetteville to upgrade a sewer lift station and construct a force main, and some due diligence activities for 172.13 acres located at Fayetteville Regional Airport.
  • $252,720 to the Town of Louisburg for clearing, grubbing, and rough grading at Louisburg Commerce Park, an approximately 50-acre site that recently expanded.
  • $952,000 to McDowell County for clearing and grubbing, and rough grading of approximately 50 percent of the 413-acre Universal Technology Park site.
  • $992,000 to Rockingham County for clearing, grubbing, and rough grading of a 33-acre lot within Reidsville Industrial Park.

Additionally, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $95,000 in Open Grants Program funding to McDowell Economic Development Association, Inc. (MEDA) to help extend water and sewer infrastructure to support expansion of an existing company in McDowell County. The company will create 25 new jobs that will pay wages of $42,146, which is above the county average.

Over two decades, Golden LEAF has funded 1,962 projects totaling more than $1 billion.

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 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 66,000 jobs, more than $700 million in new payrolls, and more than 90,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

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


Jenny Tinklepaugh
Communications & External Affairs Manager
Mobile 252.801.1370
jtinkle[email protected]

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