Golden LEAF Foundation (North Carolina)

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    Funder Type

    Private Foundation

    IT Classification

    C - Funds little to no technology


    Golden Leaf Foundation


    The purpose of Golden LEAF is to fund projects that promise to bring significant economic improvement to the tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities of North Carolina. The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to using the funds entrusted to it for projects that show the most potential for strengthening North Carolina's long-term economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities. 

    Golden LEAF currently has two programs open to eligible entities seeking grants:

    • Open Grants Program places high priority on the areas of agriculture, job creation and retention and workforce preparedness. Other projects that focus on other opportunities to support and develop economic strength in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities are also welcomed. In light of the economic downturn, Golden LEAF will be looking for opportunities to complement and leverage federal and state stimulus programs to increase the impact of its grantmaking on targeted communities.
    • Economic Catalyst Cycle focuses on job creation and/or retention projects associated with business locations or expansions in North Carolina that are at risk without participation from Golden LEAF. Projects submitted by eligible entities must meet specific criteria to be considered for funding. Project requests in this category must be for job creation. The projects must be AT RISK without Golden LEAF participation. Projects are determined to be "At Risk" based on a number of factors including: evidence of urgency for assistance necessary to facilitate job creation, demonstrable need, the county's ability to pay, competitive sites in other states being considered, and others. Grants are available for projects that include the creation of full-time equivalent positions (FTE) in NC. Project support will be determined by considering a number of factors including: the county's tier designation status as published by the NC Department of Commerce, the number of jobs created, and the quality of jobs.

    History of Funding

    Through May 2010, Golden LEAF has received $867,318,889.43 in payments as a result of the settlement of litigation brought by North Carolina and 45 other states against manufacturers of tobacco products. Since the foundation began making grants in 2000, Golden LEAF has awarded 1,089 grants totaling more than $502 million to nonprofit organizations and government entities throughout North Carolina. Past award information is available by searching the foundation's database of grant awards at

    Additional Information

    Golden LEAF has also identified types of requests which typically are of low priority in its Open Grants Program. These include:

    • Endowments
    • Capital Campaigns
    • Construction Projects not tied to specific job creation and retention opportunities
    • Infrastructure Projects not tied to specific job creation and retention opportunities
    • Debt Relief
    • Revolving Loan Funds
    • Purchase of Land
    • After-School or Day Care Programs
    • General Employability Training Programs
    • General Use Community Centers/Facilities

    Other important factors to consider when applying:

    • Golden LEAF is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Grantees must be governmental entities or 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Funds are to be used exclusively for charitable, scientific, educational, or other tax-exempt public purposes.
    • Determine the proposed plan of action.
    • Golden LEAF places priority over funding projects that do the most good for the most people.
    • Explain the difference the project make and how success will be measured.
    • Prepare a budget.
    • All information submitted to Golden LEAF is subject to the Public Records Act.
    • Projects should be outcome-driven.


    Virginia Dollar

    Virginia Dollar
    301 N. Winstead Avenue
    Rocky Mount, NC
    (252) 442-7404

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligible applicants are 501 (c)(3) non-profits and governmental entities across North Carolina.

    Deadline Details

    Deadlines vary based on program area.

    Award Details

    Award amounts vary. In the Open Grants Program, grants are not expected to exceed $200,000. There are no maximum grant amounts in the Economic Catalyst program.

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