Focus Area Grants totaling $116,300 Awarded

(February 2024) CFWNC recently approved focus area grants in Education and Natural Resources totaling $116,300. Co-investors contributed $42,875, or 37 percent of the total.

“Collaborative grantmaking is one tool we use to help fundholders achieve their charitable goals,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “We invest time and resources in understanding our donors’ interests, and we ask if they want to be kept informed. If we are supporting a project that may be a good match, we reach out to let them know. It’s rewarding when a donor’s passion aligns with a CFWNC grant opportunity.”

In October, CFWNC announced adjustments to its focus areas and now awards discretionary funding in Education, Cultural Resources, Human Services, and Natural Resources.


Children First/Communities In Schools received $75,000 as the fiscal sponsor for the Western North Carolina Early Childhood Coalition (ECC) to support capacity building, strategic planning and campaign implementation for policy advocacy and base-building through 2024 as ECC prepares for the 2025 NC General Assembly long session. ECC remains focused on policy solutions and public investment for strong and healthy childcare in western counties where: (1) WNC parents can easily access affordable, trustworthy childcare; (2) childcare providers are financially stable and supported in meeting quality benchmarks and retaining great teachers; (3) childcare teachers are well paid and recognized as professionals; and (4) families with young children are provided the resources to support their health and financial stability.

The Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund, John and Janet Garrett Charitable Fund and Carol Waggle Oliver Fund provided co-investment for this grant.

Natural Resources

The Village Green (TVG) received $11,300 to fund unforeseen expenses associated with its participation in a quasi-judicial hearing process in which TVG is advocating to preserve and protect its properties for the Cashiers community. TVG is a privately-owned, 20-acre nonprofit park in the heart of Cashiers, an unincorporated village within Jackson County. Due to its unincorporated status, Cashiers residents have minimal control over future development. Their primary avenue of influence is through a hearing in Jackson County that requires organizations, represented by legal counsel, to establish standing and present expert witness testimony. TVG’s most significant concerns include the potential mismanagement of stormwater and wastewater runoff from the site, the planned removal of 75% of tree cover in the proposed development, inadequate holding tank placement, and the imminent risk of increased sediment and higher turbidity in the streams present on the properties and the Horsepasture and Chattooga Rivers.

Wildlands Network received $30,000 as the fiscal sponsor for the Safe Passage Fund Coalition (SPFC) to further advance wildlife habitat connectivity in Western North Carolina. The mission of SPFC is to raise financial and public support for mitigation measures in reducing wildlife–vehicle collisions along a 28-mile stretch of Interstate 40 in Haywood County’s Pigeon River Gorge. It includes people and organizations who share a vision to balance the needs of native wildlife with the ever-growing human population. Safe Passage members include local, tribal, state, and federal agencies, land managers, conservation organizations, nonprofit partners, and other invested North Carolina and Tennessee community members. CFWNC previously awarded $30,000 for this work in November 2022. With this grant, SPFC will expand local and statewide grassroots support and political momentum created over the last several years.

The Trillium Fund, Rick and Bridget Eckerd Charitable Fund and Rachel Helen Silver Sunshine Fund provided co-investment for this grant.