Celebrating 40 Years

Eliada Homes, Inc. was awarded a 2018 $30,000 Food and Farming focus area grant to support Eliada Farms, a project that adds another dimension to Eliada’s “cradle to career” curriculum and puts land into food production with the goal of building capacity for agency sustainability through an increase in earned revenue. Photo courtesy of Eliada Homes.

What’s the best future you can imagine for Western North Carolina? Forty years ago, a small group of community members—led by retired businessman Ray Hust with support from the United Way and the Junior League—must have wrestled with that very question.


It was 1978. Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Animal House were raking it in at the box office.  Gas was 63 cents a gallon.  Jimmy Carter was President. The average home price was $54,000.  Remember the Susan B. Anthony dollar?  Also, 1978.

That year, The Community Foundation of Greater Asheville was established to meet community needs through the creation of a permanent endowment to generate earnings and distribute grants. Four years later, in 1982, board members expanded the service area to the 18-county region CFWNC serves today.  Assets had reached $310,000 and the first competitive grants totaling $10,600 were awarded to Planned Parenthood of Asheville Buncombe County, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, Buncombe County Council on Aging, WNC Historical Association, Phoenix Organization for Youth and the YMI Cultural Center.

From $310,000, CFWNC assets have multiplied to $307 million (December 2017).  Some of this growth was achieved through large gifts, like the multimillion dollar fund created in 1991 by philanthropist Julian Price or the Janirve Foundation’s $10 million dollar farewell gift to benefit the region’s most vulnerable in 2012.  Much of the growth happened because of generous people like you and people like Frances Farthing, Francine Bowman or the Lane Family.  Today, CFWNC manages more than 1,000 funds large and small reflecting the interests, generosity and values of our community of givers.

As our region has grown and changed, the Foundation has also evolved.  In recent years, we have streamlined operations and focused our funding on People in Need, Food and Farming, Early Childhood Development and Natural and Cultural Resources.  Understanding our fundholders’ philanthropic goals and helping them find grant opportunities that align with their interests is an important part of our work.  It is the depth of these relationships that allows us to steward their charitable legacies, now and forever.

What’s the best future you can imagine for our region? How will you be part of making it happen? How will you invest in Western North Carolina?  We would love to hear from you.  Email us with your thoughts.

Learn more about Julian Price, Asheville's Angel Investor, whose legacy lives on at CFWNC.

Working to fulfill Francine Bowman's Philanthropic Vision

Ray Hust

New York attorney Ray Hust 

retired to Asheville.  After settling into his new home in the mountains, he realized that something precious was missing: a way for local people to invest in their community over the long term. So Hust unretired himself to get the The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina started.  From modest beginnings in 1978, CFWNC broadened its mission in 1982 to cover 18 WNC counties and today manages $307 million in assets and grants average more than $18 million annually.


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