Highlands Community Fund

Blue Ridge Mountains Health Project was awarded $7,500 to increase access to free, preventive dental services and school-based dental education to residents of the Highlands-Cashiers plateau. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Health Project.

Highlands Community Fund generally provides grants between $2,500-$10,000 for charitable purposes.

Requests that exhibit the greatest community benefit will be given the highest consideration.

  • If an organization other than the applicant will benefit from the grant, e.g., an organization applying to run a program in public schools, then the applicant should include a letter of endorsement from that other organization.
  • Grant funds will be available by the end of September and in most cases should be spent within 10 months of the award.

Deadlines and Dates

The grant application deadline is 5 p.m. on the second Friday in August.


  • Grants may be awarded to qualified 501(c)(3), governmental, educational, and religious organizations serving Highlands.
  • Organizations must already be established in or serving Highlands
  • Eligible organizations, including organizations acting as a fiscal sponsor, may only submit one application per year.
  • Eligible organizations will have submitted End of Grant Reports for all prior Highlands Community Fund awards.

What We Do Not Fund

Grants generally do not support: scholarships, annual giving campaigns, endowment funds, deficit funding or debt retirement, sectarian religious purposes, partisan political purposes, festivals or one-time events such as exhibits, performances or fundraisers, private primary and secondary schools (except for projects or programs that are not directed toward the school's students or staff and that directly address community needs) and private clubs, or activities taking place or expenses incurred before grant decisions are made.

How to Apply

1. Access Community Foundation Staff Assistance

If you would like to discuss your proposal or have questions regarding eligibility, contact Tara Scholtz, Senior Program Officer, by email or at 828-367-9913.

2. Submit a Grant Application

Begin the online application process to submit a grant application. For technical assistance with the online grant system, please contact Diane Crisp, Senior Grants Manager, by email or at 828-367-9904. The online system notifies applicants by email upon receipt of their application.

3. Review Process

Staff screens applications for completeness, clarity, and compliance with eligibility requirements. The Fund’s advisory committee evaluates grant applications, taking into consideration the Fund’s priorities, availability of funds for the stated purposes, applicants’ capabilities, and potential benefits to the community.

CFWNC distributes grant payments by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Each grantee must have current banking information on file at CFWNC to receive payment.

Reporting Requirements

Applicants must submit an online end-of-grant report verifying use of grant funds and results. Instructions will be included in the grant award letter sent by email to the head of the awarded organization, and report deadlines can be found in CFWNC’s online grant system. We may also require additional reports or site visits.

Guideline Modifications

The Fund’s advisory committee may modify these guidelines, or make exceptions to them, in consultation with the staff of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

For additional information, visit Recent Grants.

Return to Grants Directory