Where Have the Latest Community Foundation of Western North Carolina Grants Been Going?

One of the many active community foundations in the Southeast is the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, which is based in Ashville. This is one of the most accessible community funders for grantseekers because it has four well-defined focus areas and about a dozen managed funds that accept grant requests as well.

CFWNC recently announced $460,450 in new grants that fall in line with its four focus areas. Since this foundation’s region covers 18 counties, this is a great funder to know if you live and work in North Carolina. Here are some interesting things that we’ve learned about its grantmaking lately.

Early Childhood Development Grants are Large

In the most recent round of giving, $175,000 went towards early childhood development causes, but this was just split between two groups. Smart Start of Transylvania County received $100,000 to implement an initiative for early ed opportunities, and the Southwestern Child Development Commission received $75,000 to improve early access and quality through four organizations. What stands out here is that these grants are larger than most others awarded lately. 

Local Farmers Receive Support

While many funders that focus on food only award grants to healthy eating initiatives in schools and community gardens, CFWNC awards grants that support local farmers and food entrepreneurs. For example, a grant recently went to the Organic Growers School to support farmer programs and increase the number of early-stage and expanding organic farmers in the region. Other recent grants went towards agriculture workshops, community college agriculture business classes, and relationships between farmers and landowners.

Environment and Arts Grants are in the Same Category

It’s rare to see environmental and arts grantmaking come from the same place, but that’s how CFWNC does it. The funder collectively awarded $108,000 to causes that support the region’s natural systems and the region’s arts & culture economy. Grantees were the Asheville Museum of Science, Carolina Public Press, Madison County, and the NC International Folk Festival/Folkmoot.

Local Waterways Matter to This Funder

CFWNC also manages the Pigeon River Fund, which recently awarded grants totaling $309,635. Since the fund was established in 1996, it has given out over $6.1 million to protect waterways in Buncombe, Haywood, and Madison counties. Interestingly, this fund was established through an agreement between Duke Energy and the State of North Carolina.  

What’s Next?

The next deadlines coming up with this community funder are for the Ramble Charitable Fund and the Biltmore Lake Charitable Fund. These are two of the 12 grant programs that the community foundation manages. The Ramble Charitable Fund’s purpose is to improve the quality of life in the Shiloh and South Asheville communities, and grants up to $7,500 are awarded here. The geographic focus of the Biltmore Lake Charitable Fund is the Enka-Candler communities in Buncombe County. These grants go towards education, economic development, health, and community projects for up to $15,000 per year. Both upcoming deadline are April 3. Learn more about these and other opportunities here.