Focus Area Grants totaling $287,000 Awarded

(May 2024) The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) recently approved focus area grants in Cultural Resources, Education and Natural Resources totaling $287,000.

“We are honored to play a role in assisting the Asheville Symphony through a challenging time, to provide the last piece of funding needed to move forward an important conservation project in Rutherford County, and to show up for our teachers by supporting a unique professional development program,” said CFWNC President Elizabeth Brazas. “

CFWNC awards discretionary funding in Education, Cultural Resources, Human Services, and Natural Resources.

Cultural Resources

Asheville Symphony (ASO) received $40,000 to help alleviate extraordinary financial hardship brought about by the closure of Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (TWA) in the summer of 2023. Funds will be directed toward musician compensation, soloist fees and venue rental costs. TWA, owned and operated by the City of Asheville, served as ASO’s primary home for performances until the venue’s abrupt closure following a catastrophic HVAC failure. The sudden loss created a domino effect, resulting in expenses that could not have been anticipated during ASO’s budget process, increases in other expenses, and decreases in revenue opportunities, adding up to a six-figure deficit this fiscal year.


Go Global NC for the Global Teachers Fellowship WNC (GTF) received $200,000 to implement and endow GTF in several rural counties in WNC. This grant will decrease the burden of annual fundraising and ensure that this established program is available to generations of teachers across WNC. Transitioning to an endowed model will allow one teacher from each county to participate every year, in perpetuity, providing in-depth professional development to equip them with experiences to help their students develop knowledge and skills necessary in an interconnected world. In the past, annual fundraising was required to pay for each educator’s participation; the current effort will endow the program, with only minimal funding required from each participating county. GTF funds are used to support teachers’ experiences, not operational costs. These funds are being matched by public funds.

Natural Resources

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (FCNC) received $47,000 to cover a portion of the acquisition costs for the permanent protection of 1,711 acres in the Pinnacle Mountains section of the South Mountains located in Rutherford County. The project builds upon a network of nearly 60,000 acres of connected, unbroken conservation land across 13 miles. It will become part of a state-federal conservation land assemblage, including Box Creek Wilderness, Bobs Creek State Natural Area, South Mountains State Park, South Mountains Game Land, and FCNC’s Pinnacle Mountains. It protects public water supply watersheds, four miles of streams, riparian buffers, critical habitats for 17 federal and state priority species, and wildlife connectivity.

The Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund, Walnut Fund and Stewart Fund for Life & Love provided co-investment for this grant.