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People in Need

In 2017, Eliada Homes, Inc. received $20,000 to hire a full time farmer to run a hydroponics growing program that supplies vegetables to Eliada's children year round. Photo courtesy of Eliada Homes, Inc.

The Community Foundation offers People in Need Grants up to $20,000 for outstanding programs or projects that promise significant help for economically-disadvantaged people in our mountain communities.  Grants are funded by the Janirve Legacy Fund, CFWNC fundholders and discretionary funds, and private foundations that partner with us. In November 2017, CFWNC awarded $1,158,662 through 67 grants to nonprofits in all 18 counties we serve.

People in Need grants are intended to:

  • Address a timely community need or opportunity not being addressed by other agencies;
  • Replicate or expand a proven program or project;
  • Increase cooperation and coordination among program providers;
  • Build the internal capacity of an organization to be more self-sufficient or efficient;
  • Purchase equipment that provides an immediate and substantial benefit.

  • Projects should be completed within one year of the award.

Deadlines and Dates


  • Letters of Intent are due by 5 p.m. on August 6. 
  • Organizations will be contacted in mid-August if they are selected to submit a full application. 
  • Applications are due on September 6 for funding decisions in mid-November.
  • Projects must begin after December 1, and should be completed within one year.



Organizations are eligible to apply for People in Need grants if they:

  • have missions or programs focused on serving economically-disadvantaged people;
  • are financially sustainable;
  • are tax-exempt as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or governmental entities;
  • are located in or serving one or more of these WNC counties: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey;
  • did not receive a People in Need grant during the most recent People in Need grant cycle.

What We Do Not Fund

  • general operating expenses (except for costs directly related to the proposed project or program) 
  • capital support for new buildings or major expansions 
  • recreational programs and equipment, including playgrounds 
  • private schools and clubs 
  • festivals or one-time events such as exhibits, performances or fundraisers 
  • scholarships 
  • activities taking place or expenses incurred before grant decisions are made 
  • sectarian religious purposes 
  • partisan political purposes 
  • endowment, deficit funding or debt retirement 
  • state or national organizations, unless (1) funding is sought for a portion of the program or project that directly benefits WNC, and (2) local people assume leadership of the program or project 

How to Apply


1. Access Community Foundation Staff Assistance
Prior to submitting a Letter of Intent, you are encouraged to discuss your proposal with CFWNC staff.  For assistance, contact Virginia Dollar, Senior Program Officer, by email or at 828-367-9907.

2. Submit a Letter of Intent
Access the online system HERE to submit a Letter of Intent. Organizations may submit only one funding proposal per grant cycle. For technical assistance with the online grant system, contact Diane Crisp, Grants Manager, by email or at 828-367-9904.

3.  Review Process
Organizations will be notified in mid-August if they are selected to submit a full application. Full applications are due in early September for funding decisions in mid-November.

Reporting Requirements 
An online end-of-grant report verifying use of grant funds and results will be required. Instructions will be included in the grant award letter. Additional reports or site visits may also be required. 


Additional Information


Recent Grants

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