CFWNC Announces Changes to Focus Area Grant Programs

(October 2023) CFWNC is announcing several adjustments to its focus areas. Since 2011, CFWNC’s four priorities for spending discretionary dollars have been Human Services, Early Childhood Development, Food and Farming, and Natural and Cultural Resources.

“While these areas remain critical for a thriving Western North Carolina, much has changed in the funding landscape since we identified our original priorities for grants,” said Elizabeth Brazas, CFWNC President. “Other funders, including Dogwood Health Trust and WNC Bridge Foundation, direct grant dollars toward issues that overlap with ours. Regional funders are collaborating to minimize duplication and ensure that resources are deployed strategically.”

Considering these factors and responding to survey and other responses from a wide spectrum of stakeholders via input during our strategic planning process, CFWNC will implement the following changes to its discretionary grantmaking:

  • First, because CFWNC addresses educational issues in multiple ways, the Foundation’s work, including scholarships, the Learning Links teacher mini-grant program, and discretionary funding, will be aggregated under a broad Education heading. Discretionary grants under this Education focus area will continue to target Early Childhood Development through the end of the current fiscal year (June 30).
  • Second, CFWNC will continue its emphasis on helping Western North Carolina residents meet their basic needs through the Human Services focus area, with some changes coming to this grant program next fall.
  • Third, Food and Farming will no longer be a stand-alone priority. CFWNC will continue to address food insecurity through Human Services grants.
  • Finally, Natural and Cultural Resources will be separated into two focus areas, allowing CFWNC to prioritize independently these two drivers of the economy and quality of life in Western North Carolina. In the coming weeks and months, CFWNC will share specific guidelines for the focus area grant programs with nonprofit partners and its other constituents.

“CFWNC is a permanent charitable resource designed to adapt to changing needs and circumstances,” Brazas added. “As these focus area adjustments indicate, we will continue to be flexible and responsive in our grantmaking, to partner with fundholders, donors and other funders, and to use all of our funding methods to support nonprofit organizations across the region.”