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The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers.

ROCKY MOUNT — Golden LEAF Foundation announced the launch of the new Golden LEAF SITE Program on Sept. 23.

The program will help communities identify potential industrial sites for economic development, complete the due diligence necessary to prepare sites for industrial development, and extend public utilities to or conduct rough grading and clearing of sites for which due diligence has been completed.

Golden LEAF has budgeted $10 million for the program this fiscal year which will be awarded in two rounds: fall 2021 and spring 2022. Applications for the fall 2021 round are due Oct. 14 at noon for consideration by the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors at their December 2021 meeting. Golden LEAF will reserve at least $5 million for funding the SITE Program in Spring 2022. The application deadline for the Spring 2022 round will be announced later this year.

To kick off the new SITE Program, Golden LEAF staff will host an informational webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 9 a.m.

“During a strategic planning process we completed earlier this year, the Golden LEAF Board identified gaps in available funding to support site development necessary to attract businesses, especially to rural and economically distressed areas,” Golden LEAF Board Chair Bo Biggs said. “In response to these findings, the SITE Program was designed to support the identification, preparation, and development of sites to attract quality jobs to these communities.”

Golden LEAF created the SITE Program with a three-phased approach: identification support to identify potential industrial sites in communities that do not currently have quality industrial sites to market, due diligence funding to complete eligible due diligence activities such as environmental assessments, archaeological analyses, and mapping and development funding for public infrastructure and, for publicly owned sites, clearing and rough grading, to benefit sites that have completed the due diligence necessary to demonstrate that the site is suitable for development.

“Golden LEAF intends for the SITE Program to complement other site readiness and site development programs existing in North Carolina and has coordinated its requirements with those other programs,” Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF president and Chief Executive Officer said. “Applicants will be able to begin the process at any of the three phases, and a site may progress from identification through to development over time.”

The timeline for the first round of funding is intended to support immediate needs. Golden LEAF will launch a second round in early 2022 with the intent that this will be a long-term Golden LEAF program.

Golden LEAF will continue to update the information available regarding requirements of the SITE Program and may modify the requirements before the next round in early 2022 or other future rounds.

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state by helping create 66,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls and more than 90,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, visit www.goldenleaf.org.

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