Golden LEAF Foundation offering grants to help hurricane relief efforts
In the 1990s, 46 state attorney generals sued the major tobacco companies for recovery of their tobacco-related health-care costs. In the Master Settlement Agreement between the two parties, the corporations agreed to end certain marketing practices and to pay various annual payments to those 46 states. The State of North Carolina used some of that money to create the Golden LEAF Foundation in 1999.
The Foundation distributes money awarded from the tobacco company payouts and finds uses for it in rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed communities across North Carolina. One of the many ways the Foundation distributes money is through natural disaster relief.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd the governor’s office has used agencies to help out with relief efforts. This year, the Foundation has been tasked with helping to distribute contributions received for hurricane relief efforts made to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, collected by the Governor’s office, and channels them into grants that are awarded to 501(c)(3) agencies and local governments.
"Governors have activated the fund from time to time since Floyd, but others have handled it, most recently the United Way of North Carolina. They did a great job!" said Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach. "Governor Cooper has asked us to take care of the distribution of grants and funds. The money is being collected by the governor's office and we have been given the charge of distributing those funds."
Currently, there is around $1 million in funding available, but as more donations are made to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund more funds can be dispersed.
"The governor is handling the intake of the money. We are just granting it out," Gerlach said. "The most important thing is that none of the money goes to administration costs. Everything we have is going to go to nonprofits to help out with immediate relief efforts. Nothing is going to overhead. It's all going to people who need it the most, and that's the people affected by Hurricane Florence."
The money distributed by Golden LEAF is for immediate relief efforts. This includes, but is not limited to temporary housing, food, water, home repair, and replacing personal property.
"This is for relief efforts, not recovery," Gerlach said. "We can help with long-term recovery efforts with our work with your local cooperative extension agencies, but this grant is for immediate help."
To apply for a grant, visit the Golden LEAF website at https://www.goldenleaf.org/grant-seekers/disaster-recovery-programs/n-c-hurricane-florence-relief-fund/.
If you'd like to donate money to the relief effort, visit https://governor.nc.gov/donate-florence-recovery.