Community Foundation of Gaston County

OVERVIEW: This community funder supports broad funding areas in Gaston County, North Carolina. Education and youth causes are top priorities.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, youth, community benefit, health, human services, environment, faith

IP TAKE: Don't forget to check out this funder's community impact funds for Belmont, Cherryville, and Mount Holly. These accept applications too. 

PROFILE: The Community Foundation of Gaston County (CFGC) is located in Gastonia, North Carolina, and was established in 1978. It was originally called the Garrison Community Foundation and funded with remainder assets of the closed Garrison General Hospital. The name change occurred in 1987, and today CFGC manages over 386 charitable funds.

This funder has granted over $88.6 million in the local community. In a recent year, assets totaled $84.1 million, with over $15 million in unrestricted community endowments. The Allen H. and Anne R. Sims Fund is valued at over $4 million, for example.

CFGC has a competitive grants cycle which accepts applications by a July deadline. Notification of grant awards is typically made by late September. Grants are not typically made to private schools, churches, or religious organizations unless those groups provide a broad community benefit. It does not typically award multiyear grants or capital projects for individual public schools. Grants have gone to the Little Red School House Fund, the Salvation Army, Heart Society of Gaston County, Gaston Hospice, and the Gaston Music Education Foundation.

The Roberts-Miller Children’s Fund Grant is made to assist a North Carolina child with medical needs who cannot afford the services. Applications for individuals and organizations are provided online. Teens Changing Gaston County is a youth philanthropy program with a teen board of directors that was established in partnership with the Gaston YMCA. Harold T. Sumner Professional Education Grants enable nonprofits to send staff members to training sessions. In a recent year, the foundation allocated $5,000 for these awards.

A good resource for local groups is the Regional Indicator Website, which reveals county-specific trends about education, health, and the economy. CFGC also provides scholarships through more than two dozen scholarship funds. They hosts a 5K run and 2K walk in April to raise awareness about local nonprofits and what they do.

Approximately 21 volunteers serve on the board of directors, and administrative costs are kept around 0.86 percent. Ernest Summer is the foundation’s executive director. Other positions include a program coordinator, financial coordinator, First Gaston Foundation Fund and the Albert G. Myers Scholarship Fund coordinator, general grants and scholarships coordinator, and donor development coordinator on staff.

Reach CFGC at 704-864-0927 or via email at A grantseeker’s best contact is Grants Coordinator Elizabeth Patton at The funder’s address is 1201 E. Garrison Boulevard, P.O. Box 123, Gastonia, North Carolina 28053. Keep up with grantmaking on the CFGC news section and with activities on the events section. Annual reports for each recent year are here.


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