Golden LEAF Staff Spotlight: Barbara B. Smith

Golden LEAF Staff Spotlight: Barbara B. Smith

April 27, 2023

Briefly describe your role at Golden LEAF.
I evaluate proposals, support the implementation of programs, and provide oversight for project monitoring and compliance activities. With a background in program management, higher education and behavioral health I use my experience to help the Foundation further its mission to improve the economies of rural North Carolina.

Describe yourself in three words.
Servant heart and leader.

What’s your favorite part of your job and why?
I enjoy receiving applications that align with Golden LEAF’s funding priorities because these projects help people in our target communities. Golden LEAF’s job creation and economic investment, workforce preparedness, and agriculture priorities improve economic outcomes in a community to help it thrive.

What is your favorite pastime outside of work?
I enjoy reading fiction novels, mysteries, and contemporary stories.

What is your biggest work-related accomplishment within the last year?
I have helped to increase and deepen Golden LEAF’s connections to North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and created opportunities for networking and exposure of funding opportunities as well as the projects the HBCUs are working on in our priority areas. I am proud to help connect these colleges and universities  in a meaningful way that will help grow our economy and benefit our workforce.

What motivates you to support long-term economic development in rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities?
As a first generation college graduate, who was afforded many opportunities due to my education, my personal belief is that education is the tool to help individuals improve their lives as well as break generational poverty gaps. Golden LEAF supports providing opportunities for people to gain an education as well as provides funding to support new jobs through ready sites or infrastructure and then supports projects to train people for these job opportunities. The key to breaking generational poverty is to have these good paying jobs and the skills to obtain these employment opportunities. Without education, a thriving economy is not attainable.

Learn more about Barbara.

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