(January 2024) CFWNC approved a $50,000 Forward Fund grant to Haywood County Government to conduct community listening sessions to inform its recovery plan following the Pactive Evergeeen plant closure.
The grant will engage two firms: Shining Rock Ventures and Lily Consulting Group, LLC. The listening sessions will target key stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the immediate economic needs, deeper concerns, and future possibilities to inform local leadership and tailor priorities going forward.
“The resulting report will be an essential tool for elected leaders and other economic boards working to meet the needs of Canton, the County and surrounding area post mill closure,” said David B. Francis, AAE, Haywood County Government, Community and Economic Development. “It will examine what types of companies we should attract and expand in Haywood County. It will guide educational institutions in tailoring programs to meet the needs of emerging industries, while adding to our understanding of how stakeholders prioritize broadband, affordable housing and our aging population. The report will support decision making at various levels. We are grateful to The Community Foundation and the donors to the Forward Fund for supporting this important step.”
Lead funders to the Forward Fund include Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and Dogwood Health Trust. CFWNC established the Forward Fund in July to support nonprofit organizations and municipalities impacted by the Pactiv Evergreen closure in Canton. Senior Program Officer Tara Scholtz manages grants from the Fund. It makes proactive grants that enable nonprofit organizations and municipalities to plan, coordinate and increase capacity for collaborative economic-recovery programs and projects.