09/19/12 — $2.3 million in projects submitted to Golden LEAF grant committee

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$2.3 million in projects submitted to Golden LEAF grant committee

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 19, 2012 1:46 PM

Six local, and mostly educational, projects totaling more than $2.3 million have been selected to be eligible for a share of $2 million in funding through the Golden LEAF Foundation's Community Assistance Initiative -- a grant-making process targeting the state's economically distressed counties.

The recommended projects follow six months of community meetings held at Wayne Community College to identify local needs that would qualify for the funding.

The meetings resulted in 24 projects representing nearly $27 million in total costs with $13 million being sought from the Community Assistance Initiative.

Golden LEAF money comes from the tobacco quota buyout and settlement reached several years ago between the federal government and the tobacco companies. A portion of the money paid out by the companies was set aside to boost economic development and quality of life in the state. The foundation was created to distribute the money.

The nine-member Wayne County Community Assistance Initiative Review Team prioritized the following for submission to the Golden LEAF Foundation:

* Wayne Community College, $521,690 for a training and credentialing project to offer programs for machining, HVAC, mechanical engineering, electronics and industrial systems credentialing. Total project cost is $521,690.

* Goldsboro Family YMCA, $500,000 for multisport complex to be built on a 44-acre site at the Y's soccer field on Harding Drive. While it will be built like a soccer field, it can be used for flag football, T-ball, field hockey and lacrosse. Total project cost is $1,344,000.

* Wayne County Public Schools, $526,095.89 for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning centers at Mount Olive, Dillard, Eastern Wayne and Rosewood middle schools. Total project cost is $851,695.89.

* WATCH, $432,100, to hire a new clinical team including a family nurse practitioner and support staff. Total project cost is $1,760,900.

* Communities in Schools of Wayne County, $156,000 for Success for Kids, an expansion of the success coaches program in middle and elementary schools. Total project cost is $156,000.

* Mount Olive College, $216,250 for the Mentoring for Success program that is based on similar programs in other communities in which college students are paired with public school students to encourage continued success in their schooling. Goals for the mentoring program could include career aspirations, academic success, and personal well-being and growth. Shared activities between the paired students and their mentors could include attending workshops, listening to motivational speakers and generally encouraging students to continue their education. Total project cost is $314,000.

The total requested, $2,352,135.89, is more than the $2 million available to the county through the program. However, during the local planning sessions, Golden LEAF officials stressed the need for the committee to submit more than $2 million in proposals just in case one of the projects is not funded.

There is no "re-do" they said, meaning that if a project is eliminated, the committee could not substitute another.

These organizations must now complete full application packages for their projects, which will be subject to review by the Golden LEAF Foundation staff and board of directors, said Pat Cabe, foundation vice president of programs/community assistance and outreach.

Formal proposals will have to be submitted by noon Oct. 15 in order to give the foundation time to study them, Ms. Cabe said. The final decision will be made by the foundation board when it meets Dec. 6.

"Our thanks go out to everyone who participated in the Wayne County Community Assistance Initiative process, and to those who submitted project ideas," she said. "There was great appreciation for all the proposals that were submitted. We look forward to our future work together. We all know there is much more to be done."

The review team was made up of:

* Education and workforce development: Dr. Phillip Kerstetter, Mount Olive College president; Mike Haney, existing industry specialist with the Wayne County Economic Development Alliance; Susie Acree of the Partnership for Children of Wayne County; and alternate Dorothy Moore of Wayne Community College.

* Economic development and infrastructure: Robyn Wade of An Open Door Community Development Corp.; Chuck Allen, Goldsboro City Council; Sherry Archibald, Paramount Theatre; and alternate Kari Sander of Mount Olive College.

* Youth services: Mary Ann Dudley, Boys and Girls Club; Darren Goroski, Goldsboro Family Y; and Linda Dean, principal of Riverbend School at Cherry Hospital; and alternate Mural Lanier of Wayne Community College.

Committee members had to sign a conflict of interest form and were not allowed to vote for any projects they were involved with or stood to profit from.