Our goal is to improve educational opportunities for all WNC learners.

Photo courtesy of The Literacy and Learning Center.

Education is central to the continued development of a thriving, just, and creative Western North Carolina. It is the foundation of economic progress and effective civic participation. The skills and attributes of an educated public help our region prosper and expand opportunities across it. The educational profile of a region plays a significant role in potential employers’ decisions to invest in an economy. For these reasons and others, CFWNC directs resources toward improving educational outcomes, systems and opportunities through grants and scholarships. This work is aggregated under the Education focus area.

    Education grants are made through competitive and proactive awards.

      Eligible organizations must be: (1) tax-exempt as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, public agencies or faith communities; and (2) located in the Qualla Boundary or one of the following counties in Western North Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania or Yancey. Organizations must already be established in and serving Western North Carolina.

        Marjorie Williams Academy students attended Center Stage with Charlotte's Web at the Barter Theater in Abingdon, VA, with support from the Learning Links grant program. Photo courtesy of Marjorie Williams Academy.

        Competitive Grants

        • Learning Links grants offer grants up to $1,000 per teacher to public schools in order to provide "hands-on" creative learning projects to their students. The goal of this program is to increase students' enthusiasm for learning and staying in school, ultimately through graduation.

        Proactive Grants

        Applications may be invited for timely and effective projects or programs. These opportunities are not governed by the cycles or categories specified for competitive grants but must address the Education focus area goal. Because a limited number of proactive grants can be awarded, applications may be invited as often as quarterly, until all available funds have been committed for that year. To determine eligibility for proactive grants, contact Vice President for Programs Philip Belcher at 828-367-9901 to discuss your proposal. If an application is competitive, he will provide you with a code to access the application in our online system and provide a deadline for submission.


        CFWNC awards scholarships to North Carolina residents who are public high school seniors, who attend the NC School of Science and Mathematics or the UNC School of the Arts High School or who study in a home school registered with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education. There are programs open to private high school students in Buncombe County, and programs open to students already in college or who are employees or children of employees of certain area corporations. Scholarships may be applied to a nonprofit postsecondary two- or four-year college, university, or vocational school in the United States, unless otherwise specified in the relevant fund agreement.

        To learn more about our Education focus area grants, contact Philip Belcher, Vice President for Programs, at 828-367-9901.

        “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

        — Marian Wright Edelman