Golden LEAF announces $9 million in funding at December meeting, elects Board Officers and Committee Chairs, welcomes new Board member | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    ROCKY MOUNT, N.C.     Today, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $650,000 to support two projects through the Open Grants Program and $3,080,000 to support five projects through the SITE Program. The Golden LEAF Board also awarded $5,540,432 in funding for 50 projects through the Food Distribution Assistance Program.


    The Golden LEAF Board of Directors elected board officers and committee chairs. The officers and committee chairs assumed their roles effective at the conclusion of the Board meeting.

    Board Officers

    Chair of the Board - Ralph Strayhorn of Mecklenburg County

    Vice Chair of the Board - Brian Raynor of Cumberland County

    Treasurer - Johnathan Rhyne, Jr. of Lincoln County

    Secretary - Bobbie Richardson of Franklin County

    Assistant Secretary - Johnathan Rhyne, Jr. of Lincoln County

    Committee Chairs

    Programs Committee - Brian Raynor of Cumberland County

    Personnel / Nominations Committee - David Rose of Nash County

    Finance Committee - Randy Isenhower of Catawba County

    Investment Committee - Don Flow of Forsyth County

    Audit Committee - Barry Dodson of Rockingham County

    Golden LEAF's 15-member Board of Directors is appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House. Jeffrey Lee of Benson in Johnston County was welcomed as the newest member of the Board at the December meeting. Mr. Lee was appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

    Ralph Strayhorn was elected Chair of the Board, replacing Don Flow who had served in that position for the maximum of two consecutive terms.

    "The Board is grateful for the leadership, insight, and service of Don Flow," said Golden LEAF Board Chair Ralph Strayhorn. "During Don's tenure as Board Chair, the Golden LEAF Board awarded more than $207 million in funding to support the long-term economic advancement of North Carolina. He led the Board when it provided funding for three transformative job creation projects resulting in Toyota, VinFast, and Wolfspeed building manufacturing plants in North Carolina. These projects will create thousands of jobs and billions in capital investment. Don also championed a strategic plan for agriculture, called NC Ag Leads, and supported Golden LEAF in implementing state appropriated funding for programs that will help with flood mitigation and food distribution assistance."


    The N.C. General Assembly recently appropriated $10 million to Golden LEAF for the Food Distribution Assistance Program. This program is funded by federal State Fiscal Recovery Funds through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Funds may be used for grants to nonprofit organizations to assist organizations in becoming eligible to be partner agencies of a North Carolina food bank or enhancing or expanding the capacity of current partner agencies of North Carolina food banks. Funds may also be used for grants to nonprofit organizations to assist organizations in establishing a school-based weekend food assistance program or enhancing or expanding the capacity of current school-based weekend food assistance programs.

    "Today, the Golden LEAF Board awarded its second round of Food Distribution Assistance Program funding to support 50 projects across the state," said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. "This funding will be used to address gaps in existing food assistance networks. We are proud that the State of North Carolina entrusted us to assist in this important work. Because of this program, 74 organizations will receive funding to grow food assistance programs and substantially increase the number of households served through food networks across the state."

    The Golden LEAF Board awarded $5.54 million to support 50 awards in the second round of Food Distribution Assistance Program funding. Click here to view a spreadsheet of awards to organizations in 37 counties: Alamance, Ashe, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Dare, Davidson, Durham, Franklin, Gaston, Guilford, Harnett, Iredell, Jones, Lee, Martin, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pasquotank, Pitt, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Scotland, Transylvania, Union, Vance, Wake, Wayne, Wilkes, and Wilson counties.

    The SITE Program offers resources to help communities identify potential sites for economic development, provides funding to complete due diligence on publicly controlled sites, and provides funding to extend public utilities to publicly controlled sites or to conduct clearing and rough grading of publicly owned sites. The three phases of the SITE Program are Identification, Due Diligence, and Development.


    The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $3.08 million in funding for five projects through the Golden LEAF SITE Program in Burke, Greene, Madison, Surry, and Washington counties.

    The SITE Program - Identification phase provides assistance to a community from a firm contracted by Golden LEAF to help identify potential industrial sites in the community. Greene County and Washington County were selected to receive assistance through this phase.

    In the SITE Program - Due Diligence phase, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $50,000 in funding to Burke Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. for the Great Meadows Site to complete a geotechnical report.

    For the SITE Program - Development, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $3,000,000 in funding for two site preparation projects including, clearing and rough grading, to benefit sites that have completed the due diligence necessary to demonstrate that the site is suitable for development. Organizations receiving SITE Program - Development support include:

  • $1,500,000 to Madison County Economic Development for site preparation activities including clearing/grubbing, earthwork, and erosion control at the Madison County Industrial Site to attract businesses expected to create 140 jobs with annual wages at or above $44,200.
  • $1,500,000 to the City of Mount Airy for clearing, grading, and other site preparation of 16 acres at the Westwood Industrial Park that is expected to create 200 new jobs with average wages of $45,000 and $75 million in private investment.

    The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $650,000 in funding for two projects through the Open Grants Program. These projects will support job creation and economic investment and workforce preparedness in Anson, Lee, and Union counties.

  • $200,000 to South Piedmont Community College Foundation, Inc. to purchase the high-fidelity simulation equipment to expand clinical capacity for the college's existing associate degree (ADN) and practical nursing (LPN) programs and new LPN-to-RN program, increasing nursing program completers by 40 annually.
  • $450,000 to Brick Capital Community Development Corporation to support infrastructure needed for a new workforce housing development in Sanford that will include 45 single family homes and a 16-unit apartment complex.

    Since 1999, Golden LEAF has funded 2,218 projects totaling $1.2 billion supporting the mission of advancing economic opportunity in North Carolina's rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities.

    About Golden LEAF

    The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina's funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For nearly 25 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina's rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.


    The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and rural areas of the state by helping create 68,000 jobs, more than $780 million in new payrolls, and more than 98,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

    For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, please visit our website at
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