Golden LEAF aiming to grow NC economy

The Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to the economic well-being of North Carolinians, aims to help grow the state’s economy through a $13 million investment to benefit Tier 1 and rural, Tier 2 counties. Tier 1 and 2 counties are North Carolina’s most economically distressed.

The Foundation invested in the Access Capital Community Investment Fund in 2007 to purchase AAA-rated loans in underserved communities. The fund benefits economically distressed communities by freeing up capital for rural lending institutions.

“The Foundation is not only investing in rural North Carolina through grantsmaking, we also are interested in making a difference through our investment arm,” said Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach. “By purchasing these loans, capital becomes available for lending institutions in rural areas to make the loans needed to keep our economy thriving.”

The Foundation originally made a $7 million allotment for loans in Tier 1 counties. The Foundation allotted another $6 million in March 2009. These additional funds will be earmarked for loans in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties.

As of March 31, 2009, the Foundation has invested $7.8 million in mortgages, helping 35 communities in 21 Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties in North Carolina. In all cases, the mortgages are fixed rate and are extended to North Carolinians with income at or below 80% of the area median income.

The Foundation has now almost doubled its direct investment in North Carolina through the Access Capital Community Investment Fund, an investor in community-development projects in rural areas. The fund is managed by Access Capital Strategies, a division of Voyageur Asset Management Inc.

About the Golden LEAF Foundation:

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with local governments, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 762 grants totaling more than $374 million since its inception. For more information about Golden LEAF, or to learn more about applying for a grant, visit or call .888.684.8404.