People in Need

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

Freedom Life Ministries was awarded $15,000 to purchase a truck for its power washing program that provides transitional employment, training and life skills for formerly incarcerated people in McDowell County. Obtaining employment reduces the risk of re-arrest, but most employers are reluctant to hire applicants with criminal records. Photo courtesy of Freedom Life Ministries.


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, CFWNC fundholders and discretionary funds, and private foundations that partner with us. In November 2019, CFWNC awarded $1,173,782 through sixty-nine grants to nonprofits throughout the region. The grant cycle began in August 2020.

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.

The Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center works to strengthen bonds among the residents of Haywood County and its communities. A grease fire caused extensive damage to the kitchen and other parts of the building. Weeks of work with contractors and insurance representatives resulted in a final restoration plan. Before construction could begin, vandals seriously damaged the kitchen. A $10,000 Janirve SUN grant allowed the repairs and electrical work to finish in time for two hot meals to be served to students and staff of the Center’s Summer Enrichment Program, which works to meet gaps in educational opportunities. Photo courtesy of Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center.

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

Client Michael Whitmire and OnTrack Financial Counselor Anna Marie Smith. 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.

Watch the video

“I now feel secure, knowing that one bad week or month will not leave me wondering whether to buy gas or groceries. Thanks to the classes and coaching, I have increased confidence in my ability to manage money.."

— OnTrack SECURE Client

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