People in Need

Dig In! Yancey Community Garden was awarded $15,000 to hire a full-time Farm and Education Manager to increase production and provide educational services. Photo courtesy of Dig In!.

The Community Foundation offers People in Need Grants up to $20,000 for outstanding programs or projects that promise significant help for economically-disadvantaged people in our mountain communities. Grants are funded by the Janirve Legacy Fund, CFWNC fundholders and discretionary funds, and private foundations that partner with us. In November 2019, CFWNC awarded $1,173,782 through 69 grants to nonprofits throughout the region.

People in Need objectives are to:

(applicants need to meet at least one of the below objectives)

  • Address a timely community need or opportunity not being addressed by other agencies
  • Continue, replicate or expand a proven program or project
  • Increase cooperation and coordination among program providers
  • Build the internal capacity of an organization to be more self-sufficient or efficient
  • Purchase equipment that provides an immediate and substantial benefit.

Projects should be completed within one year of the award.

Deadlines and Dates

  • Letters of Intent are due by 5 p.m. on August 5.
  • Organizations will be contacted in mid-August if they are selected to submit a full application.
  • Applications are due on September 9 for funding decisions in mid-November.
  • Projects must begin after December 1, and should be completed within one year.


Organizations are eligible to apply for People in Need grants if they:

  • have missions or programs focused on serving economically-disadvantaged people;
  • 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;
  • did not receive a People in Need grant during the most recent People in Need grant cycle.

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
  • scholarships
  • 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 assume leadership of 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, you are welcome to contact Virginia Dollar, Senior Program Officer, by email or at 828-367-9907.

2. Submit a Letter of Intent

Access the online application process to submit a Letter of Intent. Organizations may submit only one funding proposal per grant cycle. For technical assistance with the online grant system, contact Diane Crisp, Grants Manager, by email or at 828-367-9904.

3. Review Process

Organizations will be notified in mid-August if they are selected to submit a full application. Full applications are due in early September for funding decisions in mid-November.

Reporting Requirements

An online end-of-grant report verifying use of grant funds and results will be required. Instructions will be included in the grant award letter. Additional reports or site visits may also be required.

For additional information, download Recent Grants.

Return to Grants Directory