Focus Area Grants of $1.4 Million Announced

More than $1.1 Million Supporting People in Need

Photo courtesy of TRACTOR.

(November 2019) CFWNC recently approved grants totaling $1,395,156 to nonprofits across the region. The awards were made in CFWNC’s Food and Farming, Natural and Cultural Resources, and People in Need focus areas with 69 grants totaling $1,173,782 going to nonprofits serving economically-disadvantaged populations across the Foundation’s 18-county service area.

CFWNC fundholders contributed $617,431 to the People in Need grants and include: Dr. Ben Bailey Fund to Feed Hungry Children, Gretchen Batra Fund, Biltmore Estate Charitable Fund, Brown Family Fund, Connestee Falls Endowment Fund, Consuelo's Fund, Crutchfield Charitable Fund, Delphinium Fund, Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund, Fidel Duke Fund, Rick and Bridget Eckerd Charitable Fund, John and Janet Garrett Charitable Fund, Charles F. Hamrick and Marguerite D. Hamrick Charitable Fund, Little Acorn Fund - W, Minigowin Fund, Mountain Jewell Fund, Carol Waggle Oliver Fund, Oliver Family Fund, Peterson Endowment Fund, Matthew Terrence Lee One Love Fund, Dr. Robert J. and Kimberly S. Reynolds Fund, Walnut Fund, Wasson - Stowe Charitable Fund, Yeager-Cole Fund and six anonymous funds. The Glass Foundation, Lipscomb Family Foundation and Sutherland Foundation also provided generous support.

“This People in Need cycle is historic for CFWNC. These grants address housing, hunger, mental health, dental services, mobile clinics and so much more,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “For the first time, co-investment from CFWNC fundholders and donors exceeds CFWNC discretionary funds allocated to the grants. We could not be more grateful to generous philanthropists who help us extend the reach of our charitable assets and support the efforts of hard-working nonprofits serving people in challenging circumstances across 18 counties. CFWNC is honored to serve as a conduit for the generosity of so many.”

Food and Farminggrants totaled $158,284 and included:

$50,000 was awarded to Macon Co. Public Health, on behalf of MountainWise, to support Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), a national model, supported by the Fair Food Network and largely funded by the USDA, that provides a 1:1 match for SNAP/EBT customers to spend on fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. MountainWise is a collaboration of eight far west health departments, and the DUFB will serve Buncombe, Jackson, Haywood, Transylvania, Mitchell, Yancey and Henderson counties. The Biltmore Estate Charitable Fund provided co-investment for this grant.

$43,284 was awarded to Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization Regional (TRACTOR) to expand the capacity of its multi-farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to reach a wider base of farmers and, in turn, provide the community with greater access to local food. TRACTOR’S CSA aggregates products from a diverse set of farms, rather than using products from a single farm. The multi-farm CSA model has benefited beginning farmers who seek technical assistance and training and have not developed direct relationships with customers. This particularly helps specialty small producers, who may not have the time, resources or products to manage a full CSA on their own. The Riverbend Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.

$45,000 was awarded to MANNA FoodBank to support the MANNA Community Market (MCM), a new mobile pantry and resource center that extends MANNA’s general food distribution program, which serves an estimated 90,900 food-insecure individuals in WNC. The MCM reaches people and communities located in food pantry deserts that also have a large number of low-income households. The initial ten sites are located in Avery, McDowell, Henderson, Buncombe, Transylvania, Swain, Macon, Graham and Cherokee counties.

$20,000 was awarded to Organic Growers School to support the Food Security Planning Initiative, a collaborative of nonprofit, governmental and educational organizations planning for a more equitable, sustainable and resilient local food system resulting in greater regional food security. The one-year planning project includes professional facilitation, administrative support, professional consulting and supplies. Interpretation and translation services, childcare services, and participant compensation will enable broad participation. The process will result in a collective strategic plan with feasible strategies for shared programming, communications, assets and resources and the development of a model for regional food system resilience.

Natural and Cultural Resources grants totaled $63,090 and included:

$30,000 was awarded to the EcoForesters (EF) to match seed funding for its Invasive Species Stewardship Fund (ISF), contingent upon the grantee raising other money needed. Once funded, area land trusts can apply for funds from the ISF to match funds on a 1:1 basis for the purpose of enabling the land trusts to control non-native invasive species and promote awareness of the threats these species pose to WNC forests. EF is a relatively new nonprofit dedicated to developing and implementing forest stewardship strategies that promote sustainability and resiliency believing that new solutions to growing forest threats will be found through collaboration and community partnerships.

$20,000 was awarded to the Vagabond School of the Drama dba Flat Rock Playhouse to complete upgrades to the theatre’s sound and lighting equipment. Flat Rock Playhouse, NC’s State Theatre, attracts an audience exceeding 84,000 annually and is a local economic engine responsible for $14 million in tourism spending annually in Henderson County alone. New light and sound systems will bring Flat Rock Playhouse’s visual and audio infrastructure up-to-date and in-line with the expectations of today’s theatre patrons.

$13,090 was awarded to Western Carolina University/Bardo Arts Center for an exhibition examining the human effect on the landscape and environment entitled, “Plotted and Pieced: WNC from the Air,” by acclaimed photographer Alex MacLean. The exhibition will take place at the WCU Fine Art Museum in Jackson County and at The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts in Macon County. The Lipscomb Family Foundation and Rick and Bridget Eckerd Charitable Fund partnered with CFWNC to fund this grant.