People in Need

Working in partnership with donors and other funders to address critical needs facing our region's marginalized populations

Food Connection was awarded $20,000 to reduce food waste and to provide chef-prepared meals to low-income people in Buncombe, Madison and McDowell counties. Photo courtesy of Food Connection.

CFWNC fundholders and donors contributed $721,441, or 54% of the 20-21 People in Need grants and include: Dr. Ben Bailey Fund to Feed Hungry Children, Consuelo's Fund, Brown Family Fund, Travis and Jenny Boyer Fund, Connestee Falls Endowment Fund, Craig Family Foundation Fund, Delphinium Fund, Dogwood Charitable Endowment Fund, Rick and Bridget Eckerd Charitable Fund, Samuel and William Elmore Fund for Mental Wellness, Fidel Duke Fund, John and Janet Garrett Charitable Fund, Yeager-Cole Fund, Charles F. Hamrick and Marguerite D. Hamrick Charitable Fund, Henri Landwirth Family Endowed Fund, Matthew Terrence Lee One Love Fund, Carol Waggle Oliver Fund, Peterson Endowment Fund, Walnut Fund, Reichman Family Charitable Fund, Dr. Robert J. and Kimberly S. Reynolds Fund, Wasson - Stowe Charitable Fund, and seven anonymous funds.

Several private foundations partner with CFWNC to support projects in Western North Carolina. The Glass Foundation, Klunk Family Foundation, Lipscomb Family Foundation, Sutherland Foundation and The Leon Levine Foundation provided generous support to these grants.


From CFWNC's founding, a core value has been to support human service nonprofits with the goal of ensuring that everyone has access to resources and services to meet their basic needs.

Unlike the other three focus areas, People in Need offers a competitive program with grants up to $20,000 for outstanding programs or projects that promise significant help for economically-disadvantaged people in the region. Grants are funded by the Janirve Legacy Fund, co-investment from CFWNC fundholders, discretionary funds, and private foundations that partner with us. In November 2020, CFWNC awarded $1,337,503 through seventy-four grants to nonprofits throughout the region.

Grants are intended to:

  • Address a timely community need or opportunity not being addressed by other agencies;
  • 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.

Freedom Life Ministries was awarded $4,543 to replace a transmission in a truck used for on-the-job training for adjudicated clients in McDowell County. Photo courtesy of Freedom Life Ministries.

Strengthening the Region

Janirve Sudden and Urgent Need Grants

Since 2012, CFWNC has also offered Janirve SUN grants of up to $10,000 to assist human service organizations experiencing an unforeseen crisis that impedes their ability to continue their work. With a relatively small amount of funding, SUN grants help organizations address one-time, unbudgeted and time-sensitive emergencies that will enhance or preserve the ability of the organizations to meet their missions. Small but crucial, SUN grants have provided emergency funding totaling $693,419 through 96 awards. In 2020, WNC nonprofits received $53,000 through the grant program before remaining funds were reallocated to the Emergency Disaster Response Fund to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Application Information and Recent Grants

Capacity Grants

Capacity grants help a nonprofit effectively achieve their mission through projects designed to improve communications, volunteer recruitment, development, outcomes, collaboration, and technology. Application is by invitation only.

Capacity Grant History

Proactive Grants Awarded to Support Youth Mental Health and Latinx Communities

In April 2021, CFWNC approved grants totaling $541,300 reaching 17 WNC counties to address needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards, made outside of the Foundation’s regular grant cycles, provide funding for basic human needs in Latinx communities and youth mental health services across the region.

$60,000 to Bakersville Community Medical Clinic to provide school-based mental health services to students in Yancey County Schools.

$20,000 to Black Mountain Counseling Center to provide a comprehensive program for adolescents and families in Buncombe and McDowell counties addressing stress management and mental health and wellness.

$82,800 to Blue Ridge Community Health Services for a school-based mental health program offering counseling sessions to students in Henderson and Transylvania counties that have no insurance or are underinsured.

$20,000 to Blue Ridge Organizing Project to purchase food, provide rental assistance, cover basic utility and medical bills, and meet other emergency needs of unemployed or underemployed Latinx people in Buncombe, Yancey, Mitchell, Madison and Henderson counties.

$30,000 to Centro Unido Latino-Americano to meet emergency needs such as food, rent, utilities and medical assistance for low-income Latinx people in McDowell, Rutherford, Burke, Buncombe, Mitchell, Yancey and Avery counties.

$40,000 to Colaborativa La Milpa (formerly Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion) to provide direct cash assistance for basic needs to Latinx immigrants in Buncombe County who do not qualify for federal aid and are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

$38,500 to Latino Advocacy Coalition to provide mental health services that include group and individual therapy sessions and referrals for Latinx people in Henderson County.

$100,000 to Meridian Behavioral Health Services to provide mental health treatment to youth by increasing services for its in-home program, assisting families with co-pays and increasing translator services for Spanish-speaking residents in Jackson, Cherokee, Graham, Clay, Haywood, Swain, Transylvania and Macon counties.

$100,000 to Vecinos Farmworker Health Program to support low-income Latinx families with basic needs in Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Clay, Cherokee and Haywood counties.

$50,000 to Western North Carolina Workers Center to provide basic need assistance to Latinx immigrant workers in Burke, Henderson, Macon and Buncombe counties.

Photo courtesy of OnTrack.

Investing in Matched Savings

Since 2016, CFWNC has invested more than $500,000 in OnTrack’s SECURE program that provides financial literacy training and a three-to-one match to help low-income people establish and maintain emergency savings. The matched savings grants are a proactive investment in asset building specifically intended to help people exit the cycle of poverty, and CFWNC funds will serve over 500 individuals. Matched savings accounts are intended to enhance economic stability for low-income households and increase financial literacy. Money saved and matched can be used for housing, home repair, post-secondary education, transportation, debt reduction and more.

CFWNC funded a successful pilot project at OnTrack in 2016 and a two-year grant in 2017 that funded expansion into three rural counties. As a result of this sustained investment, OnTrack has a strong process for programming and referrals for SECURE. The main qualifier for participation is income: SECURE is available to people with household incomes between 30% and 80% of Area Median Income (AMI); for example, a family of four qualifies if household income is between $25,750 and $53,100.

The program is available in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and McDowell counties. Since inception, 325 graduates have built an emergency fund, functioning budget and monthly savings habit.

Watch the video

“I want better for me. I want better for my child. I'm willing to work hard for it."

— OnTrack SECURE Client

To learn more about our People in Need focus area, contact Senior Program Officer Virginia Dollar at 828-367-9907.