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SCC,WCU receives nearly $1 million in grants through Golden LEAF Foundation

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors just announced $1,158,333 awarded to support five projects through the Open Grants Program, $3,150,518 in funding for 10 projects through the Flood Mitigation Program, and $2,778,721 in funding for 24 projects through the Food Distribution Assistance Program.

Among the projects the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $1.2 million to, Southwestern Community College was awarded $500,000 for dental equipment and supplies to support the establishment of a new dental assistant program. The one-year program leading to certification as a dental assistant is expected to begin in the fall of 2023. After two years, the college will add a dental hygiene associate degree program.

Students who complete the one-year Dental Assistant program will earn a diploma from Southwestern.

“We are extremely grateful to the Golden LEAF Board of Directors for supporting our Dental Assisting career pathway,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC President. “Employers in the area have been asking us to start this program, and we are excited to offer this opportunity to our students because we know this will be a rewarding and fulfilling career for them.”

For more information about the Dental Assisting program at SCC, contact program coordinator Abra Brooks at 828.339.4319 or

Western Carolina University was awarded $200,000 to purchase nursing curriculum subscriptions, onboarding fees, and equipment to implement a new simulated learning environment using virtual and augmented reality technologies, for Western Carolina University’s Master’s Entry Prelicensure Nursing program.

The State of North Carolina appropriated the Golden LEAF Foundation $25 million for a Flood Mitigation Program. The Flood Mitigation Program awards funding up to $250,000 per project. Funds may only be awarded to units of local government.

The N.C. General Assembly 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.

“The Golden LEAF Board awarded its first round of Food Distribution Assistance Program funding to support 24 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.”

The Golden LEAF Board awarded $2,778,721 to support 24 awards in the first round of Food Distribution Assistance Program funding. Golden LEAF anticipates awarding the remaining available funding at the December 2023 Golden LEAF Board meeting.

For Macon County, the Food Distribution Assistance Program awarded $31,000 to the International Friendship Center for the purchase of a new walk-in cooler/freezer to support their food pantry efforts.

Since 1999, Golden LEAF has funded 2,151 projects totaling $1.2 billion supporting the mission of advancing economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural, tobacco-dependent, and economically distressed communities.

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