A process of determining how to
spend a Community Assistance Initiative grant of up to $2 million from
the Golden LEAF Foundation for Wilkes County starts with a meeting on
Andrew Guinn, a researcher from
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government,
will meet with local government, business, health, human service and
education leaders and representatives of other segments of the community
in a meeting in the commissioners’ room of the Wilkes County Office
Building in Wilkesboro at 2 p.m. Aug. 28.
Guinn will gather information for a report on
demographic, governance, education and health care trends in Wilkes
County, as well as economic development challenges and opportunities.
Guinn said he is working with a team of researchers
in the School of Government’s Community and Economic Development program
to create a report for the Golden LEAF Foundation as part of the
Community Assistance Initiative process.
Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation,
announced Wilkes county’s participation in the process during a meeting
last month at the Wilkes County Office building.
"This will be a nine-month to yearlong evolving
process,” said Gary Blevins, chairman of the Wilkes County
commissioners. "It will be a very public process. The amount of money
the county receives will be dependent on which projects are approved.”
Forty counties have already been approved for funding from the foundation, said Blevins.
Although the series of community meetings designed to
identify priorities and how to address them with a Community Assistance
Initiative grant will be held this year, the money will not necessarily
be awarded this year, said Patricia Cabe, Golden Leaf vice president of
programs for community assistance.
"We typically contact the county manager first to
get names and get people together” to start the process in a county. The
foundation’s priorities revolve around economic development, including
workforce training and making transitions. Agriculture is always a
priority,” said Ms. Cabe.
Efforts approved for Community Assistance Initiative grants vary significantly in different counties.
In 2009, Surry County was awarded a $2.06 million
Community Assistance Initiative grant to extend water and sewer lines
just east of Elkin and elsewhere and to renovate buildings in Pilot
Mountain and Elkin for use as Surry Community College satellite
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit
organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s
economy. It gets half of North Carolina funds from the 1998 Master
Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special
emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distresses and/or
rural communities across the state.