BANNER ELK — The Lees-McRae New Opportunity School for Women received a $17,500 People in Need grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina for summer 2020 programming.

The Asheville-based foundation, which marked 40 years of service in the High Country in 2018, is a nonprofit organization that serves the 18 counties of Western North Carolina.

The People in Need grant is offered to those “programs or projects that promise significant help for economically disadvantaged people in our mountain communities,” according to the CFWNC website.

“We are grateful to The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina for this most generous grant,” said Jennie Harpold, director of the NOSW at Lees-McRae. “Funding from the People in Need grant will allow us to better serve throughout our Appalachian region and continue our mission of empowering and transforming women’s lives.”

Founded in 1987 in Berea, Ky., the NOSW opened an expansion site at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk in 2005. The program at Lees-McRae has now graduated more than 130 women.

In its 15th year, NOSW’s mission is to improve the educational, financial and personal circumstances of low-income women who live in or hail from the Southern Appalachian region. Its hallmark event is a three-week residential session on the campus of Lees-McRae that includes creative writing, public speaking, interviewing and Appalachian literature courses.

To learn more about NOSW and Lees-McRae visit

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