Asheville Merchants Fund Awards $400,000 in Grants

Working Wheels staff; photo by Michael Oppenheim.

The Asheville Merchants Fund recently awarded a total of $400,000 to eight Buncombe County nonprofit organizations to support innovative projects that strengthen community and stimulate economic growth.

The Asheville Merchants Fund supports community asset development and entrepreneurship; quality jobs and workforce development, including living wage work and job training; social infrastructure encompassing family success and affordable housing; and youth success in school.

The recipients are:

$50,000 over two years to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina to expand its Success 360 program that includes vocational readiness and career path education, critical life skills, financial literacy and aptitude testing.

$50,000 over two years to Black Wall Street AVL to support BIPOC businesses, connecting them to resources to build an inclusive economic ecosystem.

$50,000 over two years to Center for Agricultural and Food Entrepreneurship to support its expanded services via WNC Foodworks, a newly-constructed kitchen complex at the WNC Farmers Market.

$50,000 over two years to Eblen Charities to provide a matched savings component to its Financial Empowerment Pilot Program empowering restaurant workers to take control of their finances in a peer-based environment.

$50,000 over two years to My Daddy Taught Me That to continue its job training and development program through education, job training experience, and partnerships with community members.

$50,000 over two years to Mountain BizWorks to provide micro-loans and business education to a target population of low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on supporting entrepreneurs of color.

$50,000 over two years to United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County to support Community Nights (formerly Homework Diners) at seven local schools: Asheville, Enka, Erwin, Owen, A.C. Reynolds, and N. Buncombe middle schools, and Asheville High/SILSA.

$50,000 over two years to Working Wheels to increase its capacity to provide dependable vehicles and affordable automobile repairs for Buncombe County families.

Asheville Merchants Fund grants are awarded every two years; details can be found at