Golden LEAF revamps grant approach

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. – The Golden LEAF Foundation is revamping its approach to grantmaking to give the state’s poorest counties more say in the process, the News & Observer reported March 7.

The Rocky Mount-based funder voted this week to add 13 counties to its program that deploys foundation staffers to rural counties to help local leaders create grant proposals based on community needs.

The foundation, which manages half the more than $4 billion in funds from a 1998 settlement with tobacco manufacturers, traditionally has chosen grantees itself on annual basis.

Foundation President Valeria Lee says the new approach could quadruple the $10 million currently in the budget for county-chosen projects, while cutting by as much as half the $10 million budget for random proposals, the News & Observer says.

Under the new program, the foundation will award grants to half the state’s poorest 41 counties each year, and at some point in the future may add additional counties.

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