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Asheville Merchants Fund (AMF)

Grants to Buncombe County, North Carolina Nonprofits and
Agencies for Workforce Development and Training Programs

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

05/10/19 5:00 PM


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Grants of up to $50,000 to Buncombe County, North Carolina nonprofit organizations and government agencies for programs to enhance the local economy. A Letter of Intent must be submitted prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended to support projects in financial education, workforce training, affordable housing, homegrown businesses, entrepreneurship, and academic youth success.

The Asheville Merchants Fund (AMF) seeks to improve the quality of life in Buncombe County by supporting innovative projects that strengthen the community through economic effects in one or more of its Funding Priorities.

Projects must target economic benefit for Buncombe County residents. Priority will be given to projects comprehensively addressing one or more of the following Funding Priorities:

1. Innovative Economic Approaches

- Community asset development: Investing in emerging local economies, especially those related to home-grown businesses
- Entrepreneurship: Resources for entrepreneurs, including access to training, service providers and capital to accelerate business success

2. Quality Jobs and Workforce

- Living wage work: Recruitment, retention and expansion of businesses providing high-quality, well-paying jobs
- Appropriate skills: Training for jobs that are in demand and critical to community viability
- Non-traditional training and employment services: Flexible schedules, short-term certificate programs and community-based (versus academic institutional) settings

3. Social Infrastructure

- Programs contributing to family economic success, including financial education and asset development
- Affordable housing: Developing effective strategies and supporting implementation
- Services that increase employees’ ability to participate fully in the workforce, including health and wellness or dependent care

4. Youth Success in School

- Middle and high school students: Targeted academic (particularly in math, science and technology) and non-academic activities related to job skill development
- Family support: Improving the home environment for learning

AMF supports organizations that have the capacity and vision to develop multi-faceted programs to help Buncombe County and its citizens thrive in the emerging economic environment. Factors considered in evaluating applications include:

- Focus on a critical need that addresses a gap in existing services or continues a proven program
- Defined, measurable results that can be achieved within the grant period and make a long-term difference in the lives of the beneficiaries
- Skilled leadership with the potential to carry out innovative, integrated efforts effectively in one or more of the focus areas
- Demonstrate partnerships that will enhance the potential for project success

Additional Funding Parameters:

- New or existing programs are eligible for support.
- Operating expenses may be approved if the application clearly demonstrates how the proposed work is critically important to achieving the goals of the AMF Grant Program in a significant, time-limited way.
- Programs proposed must be carried out within Buncombe County.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 149302

Number of Grants:

Approximately five to eight grants are awarded during each two-year funding cycle.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Fund provides grants of up to $50,000 over two years.

Term of Contract:

Funding will be available for program expenses incurred during the grant period, which will begin July 1, 2019, and end no later than June 30, 2021.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and governmental entities are eligible to apply for AMF grants.

Statewide or national programs will not be considered unless (1) funding is sought solely for the portion of the program that will directly benefit Buncombe County and (2) local people are significantly involved in program development and management.

Asheville Merchants Fund grants generally do not support: Scholarships; sectarian religious purposes; partisan political purposes; endowment funds; deficit funding or debt retirement; capital support for new buildings or major expansions; festivals or one-time events such as exhibits, performances or fundraisers; or activities taking place or expenses incurred before grant funds are awarded.

Pre-Application Information:

Deadlines and Dates:

- Letters of Intent are due by 5 p.m. on March 8, 2019.
- Semi-finalists selected to complete a full application will be notified by mid-April.
- Full applications from semi-finalists are due by 5 p.m. on May 10, 2019.
- Site visits by the AMF Advisory Committee will occur between May 27 and June 13.
- Final funding decisions will be made and announced by mid-June 2019.
- Funding will be available for program expenses incurred during the grant period, which will begin July 1, 2019, and end no later than June 30, 2021.

Grants are awarded during each two-year funding cycle. Grants are paid in two installments, with the second year of funding contingent upon reasonable progress toward expected results.

Organizations may submit only one funding proposal per grant cycle.

Prior to submitting a Letter of Intent, you are encouraged to discuss your proposal with CFWNC staff. For assistance, contact Tara Scholtz, Senior Program Officer.

For technical assistance with the online grant system, please contact Diane Crisp, Grants Manager.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To submit the online Letter of Intent:

Tara Scholtz, Senior Program Officer

For technical assistance:

Diane Crisp, Grants Manager

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina
4 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Suite 300
Asheville, NC 28803

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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USA: North Carolina: Buncombe County

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