Focus Area Grants of $216,811 Announced

(September 2020) The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina recently approved grants totaling $216,811 to nonprofits across the region. The awards were made in CFWNC’s Early Childhood Development, Food and Farming and Natural and Cultural Resources focus areas.

“With these awards, CFWNC resumes making grants in its focus areas after redirecting resources to COVID relief earlier this year,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “As the pandemic continues to disrupt all aspects of our lives, CFWNC is pleased to be able to support nonprofits working to mitigate its effects on children and families, the region’s farmers and important cultural institutions.”

Early Childhood Development grants total $161,811 and include:

$72,000 over two years to Blue Ridge Partnership for Children/Alliance for Young Children of the Blue Ridge to extend the benefits of the initiative to Avery and Mitchell counties. Since 2014, CFWNC has supported the Alliance in coordinating the efforts of agencies and citizens across Yancey County to achieve the systemic changes needed to prepare the region's children for school and life success. The project ensures the availability and affordability of health, education and parent support services. The Crutchfield Charitable Fund and John and Janet Garrett Charitable Fund provided co-investment for this grant.

$14,811 to Grace Community Church to build a playground that meets North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education standards so that the Church can operate a Preschool for McDowell County. The Grace Preschool will enroll 50 percent of children from high need populations and, therefore, will receive NC Child Care subsidy support. Grace Preschool will work with McDowell County Schools and will not be focused on Church members. The Matthew Terrence Lee One Love Fund provided co-investment for this grant.

$75,000 over two years to Smart Start of Transylvania County to support family resilience and social cohesion by removing barriers that prevent children from thriving. Transylvania County has a child poverty rate of 35 percent, and the COVID-19 crisis has upended families’ lives, disrupting access to early learning and interrupting key social services. Simultaneously, families have faced stress from social isolation, employment loss and an unstable economy. Strategic goals include quality early learning, early educator workforce development and family support and health. The June Litchfield Charitable Fund and the John and Janet Garrett Charitable Fund provided co-investment for this grant.

The Organic Growers School was awarded a $25,000 Food and Farming grant to implement programming that provides WNC farmers with individualized support, advanced education and mentoring services to enhance success and sustainability. The services target farmers in years 3-10 of their farming careers, critical years that help small farmers overcome the challenges of scale and burnout that often break farm businesses. The John and Janet Garrett Charitable Fund, Little Acorn Fund – W and an anonymous fund provided co-investment for this grant.

The Asheville Area Arts Council was awarded a $30,000 Natural and Cultural Resources grant for a series of benefit performances in Pack Square Park to provide aid for cultural institutions. This funding would make it possible for ten events featuring a different nonprofit. A suggested donation will be collected from attendees to benefit that evening’s featured organization. The City of Asheville is waiving the fees associated with presenting an event in the Park. Grant funds will pay for an event manager, marketing campaign and provide a basic lighting and sound package.