Golden LEAF Board Budgets $25 Million for Major Site Development

The Golden LEAF Foundation and the Rural Infrastructure Authority today announced details of their collaboration to provide funding to large industrial sites across North Carolina to reduce the time needed for development and increase their competitiveness for major projects with substantial job creation and private capital investment.

At its April 6 meeting, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors voted to reserve up to $25 million over the next three years to support public infrastructure needs for the Major Site Development Initiative (MSDI) in rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed areas.

Golden LEAF’s efforts complement earlier commitments. In February 2016, the Rural Infrastructure Authority voted to reserve $10 million from the Utility Fund for eligible expenses related to the MSDI. In addition, Duke Energy will contribute support toward the analysis of readiness of sites to qualify for this program. Other funders may join the initiative.

“The Major Site Development Initiative provides the collaboration and focus to move the economic needle,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “We are providing substantial resources to reduce the preparation time and increase the competitiveness of sites across North Carolina.”

“Creating assets that prep industrial properties for job creation calls for a team approach,” said John E. Skvarla, III, North Carolina’s Commerce Secretary. “When paired with other resources, the Utility Fund (financed by Job Development Investment grants) can help construct the modern infrastructure the state needs to compete effectively for projects with economic significance.”

In order to be considered for funding, applicants must have public ownership or public control of a site that is at least 150 contiguous acres. Competitive applications will demonstrate appropriate local financial support, show recent private sector interest in developing an industrial project at the site, and have a strategy to market the site to identified clients. Each project should result in a site that is ready for development as a result of the improvements. An independent evaluation of the site’s readiness and qualifications will be provided.

“Today’s economic development projects demand low schedule and site risk,” added John Geib, Director of Economic Development for Duke Energy. “Duke Energy is delighted to support this collaborative effort to increase the level of preparedness and confidence of industrial clients in sites across North Carolina.”

Golden LEAF and the Rural Infrastructure Authority will confer on applications; however, the individual governing boards will retain the authority to award grants. More details on the timing of grant applications will be forthcoming.

About Golden LEAF:
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The Foundation receives a portion 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 governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,360 grants worth over $597 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit or call 888.684.8404.

About NC Rural Infrastructure Authority:
The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) reviews, approves and monitors requests for state and federal funds administered by NC Commerce’s Rural Economic Development team. The RIA is comprised of 15 members appointed by the Governor and General Assembly leaders. The Commerce Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Authority, which meets six times a year. Since the Authority’s creation in late 2013, the RIA and Commerce Rural Economic Development have facilitated $89 million in grants and loans in support of utility upgrades, road and rail access, building reuse and demolition projects, plus other infrastructure improvements that enable job creation in North Carolina’s less populated communities.

About Duke Energy and Duke Energy Carolinas:
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas, renewables and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to about 2.5 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at