ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Last week, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors announced more than $11 million in funding for 19 projects across three program areas. Awards include a healthcare project that will create jobs in a rural county, an agriculture research project, a program to provide leadership development and internship opportunities for more than 300 Golden LEAF scholarship recipients, support for three workforce development programs, and 13 disaster recovery and resiliency projects.

The Board also heard an economic update from Tom Barkin, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.   “The Golden LEAF Board was honored to hear from Tom Barkin,” said Bo Biggs, Golden LEAF Board Chair. “As we work on strategies to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we appreciate insight from other experts in the field. Golden LEAF will remain laser-focused on its mission to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities.”

“I appreciated the opportunity to share my perspectives on where the economy is today and where it might be headed,” said Tom Barkin, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. “I was also glad to hear the views and comments of board members, which help keep me informed about conditions in our region.”  

“Together, we will continue to face the difficult task of recovering from this unprecedented economic hit resulting from the pandemic,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “Funding for the projects the Board approved today will help farmers as well as move the state’s economy forward, especially in rural and tobacco-dependent communities, by building the workforce and helping our communities recover from major storms.”  

Through Golden LEAF’s Open Grants Program, the Board of Directors awarded five projects totaling $531,220.80:

  • $100,000.00 awarded to the Mount Olive Family Medicine Center, Inc. to support expansion of the family medical center and walk-in clinic. This project will create at least three full-time jobs and two part-time positions in Wayne County.
  • $76,500 awarded to North Carolina State University to establish a site to support continued research of effective measures to control the guava root-knot nematode which threatens N.C.’s sweet potato industry and farming communities.
  • $354,720.80 awarded to support three workforce training projects benefiting Brunswick, Jackson, Macon, Martin, and Swain counties.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $1.8 million to the Center for Creative Leadership for its eleventh year of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program. The program provides more than 300 Golden LEAF scholarship recipients two leadership development conferences, coaching, and a paid summer work experience in a rural county.

The Board also approved 13 projects totaling nearly $9 million to support recovery from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. These projects support repair or replacement of infrastructure or equipment or construction of new infrastructure for hazard mitigation in Beaufort, Craven, Harnett, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne counties. The Disaster Recovery Grant Program is funded through appropriations by the State of North Carolina to the Golden LEAF Foundation to make grants to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian.

Over two decades, the Foundation has funded 1,897 projects totaling more than $1 billion. Golden LEAF’s 15-member Board of Directors is appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House.

Please see this link to download an Excel spreadsheet of the 19 August 2020 awards totaling more than $11 million. The projects receiving funding are serving the following counties: Beaufort, Brunswick, Craven, Harnett, Jackson, Macon, Martin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Swain, and Wayne counties. The Center for Creative Leadership and North Carolina State University projects have statewide impact.

About Golden LEAF
 The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding received from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.
  The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state by helping create 65,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls and more than 84,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.
  For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, please visit our website at

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