12/07/12 — Agencies receive Golden LEAF funding

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Agencies receive Golden LEAF funding

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 7, 2012 1:46 PM

Projects at Wayne Community College, Wayne County Public Schools and Wayne Action Teams for Community Health (WATCH) will share in more than $2 million in Golden LEAF Community Assistance Initiative grants.

The Golden LEAF Foundation board of directors Thursday announced the grants ending a nearly year-long process that started in January with an organizational meeting followed by five months of community meetings at Wayne Community College to identify local needs that would qualify for the funding.

The outcome was 24 projects representing nearly $27 million in total costs with $13 million sought from the Community Assistance Initiative, a grant-making process targeting the state's economically distressed counties.

A nine-member Wayne County Community Assistance Initiative Review Team narrowed the number to six mostly educational projects totaling more than $2.3 million for funding.

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.

"It is the culmination of a lot of hard work and the Golden LEAF Foundation is greatly appreciative of that," said Dan Gerlach, foundation president.

The three grant awards total $2,001,095. They include:

* $1.25 million for Wayne Community College's training and credentialing project in industrial systems and electronics equipment and classroom renovation. The project goal is to help provide the opportunities for Wayne County residents to get trained to fill job openings for highly-skilled positions and obtain credentials that employers value. Total project cost is $521,690.

* $526,095 for Wayne County Public Schools to open STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Centers. The grant will pay for equipment, materials and workshops for four middle schools in Wayne County to provide project- based learning and increase Algebra I competency, a critical indicator of success in math and science. Total project cost is $851,695.89.

* $225,000 for WATCH for clinical staff, medical supplies and equipment to help the Foundation provide medical care for the uninsured and to provide physicals for working people. Total project cost is $1,760,900.

"The good works of the Goldsboro Family YMCA, Communities in Schools of Wayne County and Mount Olive College were recognized, but grant awards were not extended for those projects," said Pat Cabe, vice president of programs/community assistance and outreach.

Those projects were:

* 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.

* Goldsboro Family YMCA, $500,000 for a multi-sport 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.

Grant agreements will be sent to the agencies that were funded and representatives must also attend a workshop on recordkeeping and other accountability issues. The workshops, which have not yet been scheduled, will be held on a regional basis.

Grant management duties include measuring results, record keeping, bringing the project to completion, and reporting outcomes.

The agreement requires that grantees immediately notify the foundation of any changes to the funded project, including project goals, objectives, timelines, or any proposed changes to the grant budget. Any changes to a grant must be approved by Golden LEAF prior to implementation or expenditure.

"There is a lot of paperwork to implement," Ms. Cabe said. "How the money is paid depends on the life and needs of the project. Normally the money is paid in five 20 percent installments. If a project has a lot of equipment purchases there might be some front loaded costs.

"We always hold back 20 percent until the grantee completes the project and it gets the results that expect. There is a lot of accountability."

All of that has to be worked out between the foundation and grantees, she said.