The N.C. Community Development Initiative has awarded $315,000 in Innovation Fund grants to eight N.C. nonprofits to develop and test promising community economic development projects.
The Innovation Fund provides seed capital for projects that have the potential to create significant economic impact in low-resource communities by promoting job creation, the green economy, leadership development and sustainable development.
“We are excited about the projects and the organizations in which we’re investing,” said Millie Brobston, the Initiative’s program officer for grant investments. “They represent a wide range of creative strategies to create jobs and generate economic impact that will not only help the communities they serve but also offer models other communities can replicate.”
The grants awards, from $30,000-$50,000, will fund projects that range from entrepreneurship training for disadvantaged populations to energy efficiency and home weatherization services to increasing access to healthy, local food.
The eight grant recipients and their grants awards are:
- ADLA Inc., Mt. Olive and Goldsboro, $50,000, to develop a skills training program in culinary arts that promotes leadership development and job creation. ADLA has received commitments from local restaurants to participate and expects to create 30 new jobs.
- Center for Participatory Change, Morganton and Asheville, $35,000, to promote a model for worker-owned businesses that promotes sustainable asset and wealth development for low-income communities. CPC will assist the existing businesses it supports and help a new worker-owned business develop.
- Green Opportunities, Asheville, $50,000, to expand its Energy Efficiency Services project to weatherize 50-85 homes and 215-415 public housing units; educate 250-450 homeowners about energy savings measures; create 15-30 energy audit jobs; train at least 60 people in weatherization; and work with three community development corporations to replicate the program in other areas of the state.
- Millionaires in Training, Raleigh, $30,000, to expand its successful youth entrepreneurial training program, training 100 community members and creating jobs in its southeast Raleigh community. The area has disproportionately higher levels of joblessness, long-term unemployment and single-parent households and lower household median incomes.
- N.C. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Raleigh, $30,000, to launch the Emprendedores project, in partnership with the Latino Credit Union, to strengthen the Hispanic business community. The project will offer a series of classes at sites around the state on how to run a successful business.
- Olive Hill Community Economic Development Corp., Morganton, $30,000, to develop a business incubator serving the western N.C. counties of Burke, Caldwell and Catawba that will help create or expand more than six businesses operated by low-income and traditionally disadvantaged individuals and generate jobs for the region.
- Southeastern N.C. Food Systems Program (Feast Down East), Wilmington, $50,000. The partnership of public and private institutions in 11 counties seeks to respond to local job losses and maximize market opportunities for local farm products. Grant funds will provide healthy, affordable local food for low-income consumers while generating additional income for local small-scale limited resource farmers.
- Step Up Ministry, Raleigh, $40,000, to launch a new entrepreneurship program to help 130 ex-offenders develop businesses, promoting long-term economic development by improving career pathways and the earning potential of participants while promoting economic growth in the local community.
The N.C. Community Development Initiative leads North Carolina’s collaborative community economic development effort, driving innovation, investment and action to create prosperous, sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.ncinitiative.org.