Human Services and Education

OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling was awarded $20,000 to support a free tax preparation program for low-income people in Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, Mitchell, Madison, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, McDowell and Yancey counties. Photo courtesy of OnTrack.

Although Human Services and Education are distinct focus areas of grantmaking by The Community Foundation, each fall CFWNC also awards grants up to $25,000 in a combined Human Services and Education grant cycle. Human Services grants support programs and projects that address the needs of people in our mountain communities who are disadvantaged economically. Education grants support early childhood development, K-12, and adult education in Western North Carolina in the subject areas specified below.

Human Services Objectives

  • Continue, replicate or expand a proven program or project that provides direct services for people who are economically disadvantaged
  • Purchase equipment, supplies or materials that provide an immediate and substantial benefit to organizations providing direct services to people who are economically disadvantaged

Education Objectives

  • Support early childhood development programs and projects
  • Provide K-12 support in the following areas: afterschool programs, academic achievement, technology and equipment (other than technology and equipment used as a routine matter in classrooms, e.g., laptops, electronic workbooks, whiteboards, etc.)
  • Provide adult education support in areas such as English as a Second Language and Literacy, and Non-Traditional Students

Deadlines and Dates

  • Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, August 26, 2024
  • CFWNC will announce decisions in November or early December 2024
  • Projects must begin after December 1, 2024
  • Projects should be completed within a year of their commencement


Organizations are eligible to apply for Human Services and Education grants if they:

  • for Human Services grants: have missions or programs focused on serving people who are disadvantaged economically
  • for Education grants: provide services outlined under Education Objectives above
  • are financially sustainable
  • are tax-exempt as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or governmental entities
  • are located in and serving one or more of these WNC counties: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey and the Qualla Boundary
  • did not receive a Human Services grant during the most recent fall grant cycle and do not have an open Human Services grant, i.e., have submitted the final report

What We Do Not Fund

  • general operating expenses (except for costs directly related to the proposed project or program)
  • capital support for new buildings or major expansions
  • recreational programs and equipment, including playgrounds
  • 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
  • festivals or one-time events such as exhibits, performances or fundraisers
  • activities taking place or expenses incurred before grant decisions are made
  • sectarian religious purposes
  • partisan political purposes
  • endowment, deficit funding or debt retirement
  • state or national organizations, unless (1) funding is sought for a portion of the program or project that directly benefits WNC, and (2) local people lead the program or project

How to Apply

1. Access Community Foundation Staff Assistance

If you would like to discuss your proposal or have questions regarding eligibility, contact (for Human Services applications) Virginia Dollar, Senior Program Officer, by email or at 828-367-9907; (for Education applications) Philip Belcher, Vice President for Programs, by email or at 828-367-9901.

2. Submit an Application

Begin the online application process to submit an application. Organizations may submit only one funding proposal per grant cycle. For technical assistance with the online grant system, 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. Payment

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.

For additional information, download Recent Grants.

Return to Grants Directory