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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., (August 5, 2021) – Today, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $655,000 in funding to support projects through the Open Grants Program and Disaster Recovery Grant Program. Golden LEAF also heard an update from N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton on the Plant Sciences Initiative.

“We would like to thank Dean Linton for taking time to speak with the Board,” said Golden LEAF Board Chair Bo Biggs. “We are grateful for Dean Linton’s leadership with the Plant Sciences Initiative, which will help bring the brightest minds together to support agriculture and agribusiness in North Carolina. We look forward to the completion of the $160.2 million research and innovation facility in early 2022 and the opportunities it will bring to North Carolina farmers.”

Under the Open Grants Program, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $464,632 for three projects that will support job creation and workforce preparedness in Chowan, Forsyth, Pasquotank, and Robeson counties.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $132,500 to the College of the Albemarle for trucks, trailers, related equipment, and one year of new-instructor salaries to expand the truck driving program that was started in fall 2020 in Edenton (Chowan County). Support will allow the college to increase enrollment from 30 to approximately 72 students annually and address demand for approximately 758 CDL drivers in the seven-county region. The closest training is more than 60 miles away.

In Forsyth County, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $135,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, Inc. for equipment to help create a warehouse logistics training program for individuals. Collaborators include Goodwill Industries, Forsyth Tech, Surry Community College, and local industry. Within three years, 25 individuals will have completed the logistics program, prepared for jobs in forklift operations, warehouse management, and/ or truck driving.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $197,132 to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to work with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Robeson County) and Elizabeth City State University (Pasquotank County) to find opportunities to procure goods and services from vendors in rural N.C. The Anchor Institutions Create Economic Resilience (AICER) initiative seeks to stimulate distressed economies through anchor institution – community partnerships. AICER projects the creation of 15 new, full-time jobs with an average annual wage of $45,000, and $60,000 in private investment in rural North Carolina during the two-year project term.

The Board also approved $190,368 in additional Disaster Recovery Grant Program funding to existing projects in Craven, Robeson, Harnett, andOnslow counties. The Disaster Recovery Grant Program is funded through appropriations by the State of North Carolina to the Golden LEAF Foundation to award funds to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian. The projects awarded are as follows:

  • $21,847 increase of a prior award to Cove City (Craven County) to address higher than expected expenses for a stormwater improvement project.

  • $98,000 increase of a prior award to the Pembroke Rescue Squad (Robeson County) for necessary foundation work at the site of the relocated station.

  • $50,000 increase of a prior award to Dunn (Harnett County) for higher than expected costs for repair of sewer infrastructure.

  • $20,521 increase of a prior award to Greater Shekinah Glory Full Gospel Ministries in Jacksonville (Onslow County) to address additional expenses for roof repair.

The Board also took steps to continue development of a new Site Development and Infrastructure Program as well as revising components of the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program. Additional information about these items will be available in the coming weeks.

“Golden LEAF invests in strengthening the building blocks of economic development,” said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. “These projects will help bolster the workforce, create and retain jobs, and provide funding for resiliency and recovery. Golden LEAF is proud to partner on strategies that will build the economies of rural areas for years to come.”

Over two decades, Golden LEAF has funded 1,945 projects totaling $1.1 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 65,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls and more than 85,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, please visit our website at www.goldenleaf.org.

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