(November 2023) The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) and Dogwood Health Trust are partnering to launch the WNC Community Enhancement Program that will award grants to charitable organizations and eligible public agencies to fund projects in downtowns or commercial corridors that enhance appearance, infrastructure, or the pedestrian experience.
CFWNC will administer the program and will award grants up to $10,000 for projects not exceeding a total cost of $50,000. Dogwood Health Trust provided the funding for the one-year pilot. Grants will be reviewed and announced quarterly.
To apply, organizations must be tax-exempt and located in the Qualla Boundary or one of the following counties in Western North Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania or Yancey. Priority will be given to projects located in rural or other under-resourced areas.
“WNC Community Enhancement grants can help build, rebuild or refresh community spaces that foster connections and economic development,” said CFWNC Scholarship and Program Officer Lezette Parks who will manage the program. “In general, funded projects will be stand-alone, rather than part of a larger project, and we anticipate that most will address beautification or infrastructure improvements.”
“Dogwood Health Trust is glad to have partners in the region that we can work with to try new approaches to rural economic development,” said Sarah Thompson, Dogwood Vice President - Economic Opportunity. “Enhancements to rural downtowns and commercial districts can spur economic growth and revitalization and support small businesses.”