Community Foundation of WNC Announces $1.4 Million in Grants

A child raising their hand in a classroom.

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) recently approved grants totaling $1,421,471 to nonprofits across the region. The awards were made in CFWNC’s four focus areas with 66 People in Need grants totaling $1,152,171 going to nonprofits serving economically-disadvantaged populations across the foundation’s 18-county service area.

OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling was awarded $99,500 from the Matched Savings People in Need program to expand their SECURE program to Haywood, Henderson, and McDowell counties. SECURE provides financial literacy training and a four-to-one match to help low-income people establish and maintain emergency savings, an asset building effort specifically intended to help low-income households achieve economic stability. The Fidel Duke Fund, Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund and an anonymous fund provided co-investment for this grant. With this People in Need award, CFWNC and its fundholders have invested more than $350,000 in the SECURE program.

“The People in Need grant cycle and the investment in the SECURE program fund important work in every county we serve,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “The cycle was broadened by generous co-investment from CFWNC fundholders and three private foundations who combined their assets with funds that CFWNC stewards. There is always more need than can be addressed, and we are grateful to those who join forces with us to support nonprofits serving the region’s most vulnerable individuals and families.”

CFWNC fundholders contributed $541,939 to the grants and include: Brown Family Fund, Carol Waggle Oliver Fund, Charles F. Hamrick and Marguerite D. Hamrick Charitable Fund, Connestee Falls Endowment Fund, Craig Family Foundation Fund, Dahlia Fund, Delphinium Fund, Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund, Fidel Duke Fund, Gretchen Batra Fund, Henri Landwirth Family Endowed Fund, Little Acorn Fund – W, Little Acorn Fund – M, Oliver Family Fund, Peterson Endowment Fund, Rick and Bridget Eckerd Charitable Fund, Walnut Fund, Yeager-Cole Fund and four anonymous funds. The Lipscomb Family Foundation, Sutherland Foundation and Pisgah Investments Foundation also provided generous support.

An Early Childhood Development grant of $99,800 was awarded over two years to Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County (CF/CIS) for the Western North Carolina Early Childhood Coalition that builds the public will necessary to shape and influence policy decisions critical to the success of young children. The Coalition has created an effective policy advocacy framework to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood education and build support at legislative and administrative levels for funding and policy changes to better serve WNC children. Grant funds will expand membership to strengthen a regional voice and continue to connect to state-level efforts. Members will plan and implement engagement and education opportunities for providers, teachers and parents to link policy discussions to those most affected by them. The Lipscomb Family Foundation, Sutherland Foundation, Carol Waggle Oliver Fund, Henri Landwirth Family Endowed Fund and an anonymous fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

A Food and Farming grant of $15,000 was awarded to Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina to partner with Conserving Carolina land trust and the Polk and Rutherford Soil & Water Conservation District staff to identify and prioritize farmland conservation opportunities around the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The goal is to protect the rural landscape in Rutherford and Polk counties and ensure available and affordable farm property for future generations. Other outcomes include the conservation of water resources, preservation of the small-town atmosphere and continued access to agricultural markets and resources. The Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund provided co-investment for this grant.

Natural and Cultural Resources grants totaled $55,000 and included:

$30,000 to the Asheville Art Museum to support pre-K through 12th grade and adult educational programs in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition, Appalachia Now!, an interdisciplinary survey of contemporary art in southern Appalachia. Appalachia Now! is the inaugural special exhibition scheduled during the Museum’s grand re-opening in Spring 2019.

Museum staff estimate that approximately 75,000 WNC residents will see the exhibition and 5,045 will further engage in community programs.

$25,000 to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) to complete of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails, an initiative to increase income for craft artists and businesses, enhance cultural tourism and improve economic opportunity in Western North Carolina. BRNHA is finalizing a marketing plan, launching a web portal with 75 anchor Craft Trails destinations and printing a promotional rack card for distribution at visitor centers across the region. Phase 2 will expand the trail with the addition of 100 craft sites (primarily galleries and artist studios) and events, the creation of curated itineraries and the preparation of heritage content emphasizing the depth and distinctiveness of Western North Carolina as a crafts destination. This grant is contingent on other funding.

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) marks its 40th anniversary in 2018. CFWNC works with families, businesses and nonprofits to strengthen communities through the creation of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking. A permanent charitable resource, the Foundation manages over 1,100 funds and has facilitated more than $234 million in philanthropy since its founding in 1978. CFWNC continues to evolve to help donors and nonprofits meet their charitable goals and to serve the ever-changing needs of Western North Carolina and beyond. Learn more at www.cfwnc.org.