Polk County Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This community foundation has a number of funds that provide competitive grants to nonprofits in this North Carolina county. It accepts unsolicited applications for many funds.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, land conservation, education, human services, community benefit, arts and culture

IP TAKE:  There are lots of application deadlines here, so grant seekers should pay close attention to the details or call the staff with questions.

PROFILE: The Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF) was established in 1975 and is based in Tyron, North Carolina. It seeks to “support charitable and beneficial activities in the community,” “provide and administer a variety of planned giving programs,” “serve as a responsible steward of all funds entrusted to it,” and “provide initiative in recognizing areas of community needs and supporting solutions.” It supports the town of Tyron and the surrounding communities in the county with grants and scholarships. Landrum, South Carolina, is also included in this funder’s service area. PCCF manages permanently endowed funds and non-permanent funds, such as charitable remainder trusts, and employs a professional asset manager.

There are over 200 funds held at PCCF, and over 100 of those have been established in the past decade. Total foundation assets exceed $62 million. In a recent four-year period, PCCF awarded $7.7 million in grants and scholarships. More than 82 local organizations received grants since 2010.

There are several grant programs here with a competitive application process. It awards unrestricted grants for capital expenses and new projects and programs. PCCF also provides general operating support for start-up organizations and small nonprofits with operating expenses under $75,000. Many local donors have added their contributions to the unrestricted funds here.

The Marjorie M. and Lawrence R. Bradley Endowment Fund was created in 2005 and provides grants and scholarships. Bradley Breakthrough Community Benefit Grants support long-term projects, the Bradley Planning and Studies for Breakthrough Benefits Grants support breakthrough initiatives, the Bradley Emergency Land Conservation Grants fund local land conservation, and the Bradley Fund Board Initiative Grants are used outside normal grantmaking cycles. There is also a student intern program at PCCF and foundation grants that provide funding for the intern’s salary.

Area of interest grants were established at PCCF by donors who cared about specific issues. For example, the Dr. William R. Bosien Fund supports medical care for patients who cannot afford care, the Paul Culberson Agricultural Development Fund supports agricultural advancement, and the Mary F. Kessler Fund funds beautification and developmental improvements. The Saluda Community Fund was established by an anonymous donor to benefit Saluda residents. PCCF also provides event grants for community events and capacity building grants to support local nonprofits. The Kirby Endowment Fund at PCCF provides noncompetitive grants to groups like the Lanier Library, the Congregational Church of Tryon, and the Tryon Fine Arts Center.

PCCF provides over $1 million in grants and scholarships each year. Grant seekers can visit the Dates and Dollars page of the funder’s website to learn about upcoming deadlines for available funds. The long-form application and short-form application can be found on the funder’s website.

There are about 38 board members at PCCF and a professional staff. Elizabeth Nager is the president and CEO. Grant seekers can direct questions to her at foundation@polkccf.org or 828-859-6122. The foundation’s address is 255 South Trade Street, Tyron, North Carolina 28782.

Keep up with their news section. PCCF also maintains a complete record of grant publicity in its library.


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