Our efforts are focused on that which makes WNC unique – its natural environment, agricultural economy, and of course, its people.
WNC Communities empowers the people of Western North Carolina to cultivate the vitality and prosperity of our mountain communities through collaboration and agricultural opportunities.
Impactful: We are committed to creating lasting, positive economic, environmental, and social outcomes for the people living in our mountain communities.
Responsive: We are nimble and opportunity-ready in order to provide proper and timely action to address community needs.
Collaborative: We are focused on building relationships and working with partners in order to leverage resources and talent because we accomplish more together.
Trustworthy: We are good stewards of funds and resources, with a proven track record that we continue to build upon.
Resourceful: We are passionate about elevating the grassroots ideas and needs of our communities and creatively finding solutions that meet those needs.
OUR AREAS OF FOCUS
Our WNC Honors Awards recognizes community leadership and lends support to community centers across 20 counties. These community centers or clubs are at the heart of their communities, serving as a collection point for grassroots educational programming, environmental stewardship, public health improvements, and community involvement. Community clubs active in Honors are able to participate in seminars about volunteer recruitment, strategic planning, etc. hosted by WNC Communities. This network of community relationships allows us to connect people with resources and opportunities. The George H.V. Cecil Journey Scholarship is available to high school students who live or participate in active Honors communities.
WNC Communities oversees the WNC Ag Options grant program, which awards small cost-share grants to farmers and farm business to expand or diversify their operations. Funded by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the WNC Ag Options grants help to build sustainable farming communities in the mountain region by providing resources directly to farmers. WNC Communities also oversees several Agricultural commissions, the Western North Carolina Agricultural Hall of Fame, WNC Brewer's Grain program, and the WNC Regional Livestock Center.
Forestry health is vital to our region of Western Carolina. The Hemlock Restoration Initiative, a program supported by WNC Communities, aims to restore eastern and Carolina hemlocks to their native habitats throughout North Carolina and to mitigate damage to hemlocks caused by infestation of the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). WNC Communities has also supported past forestry projects like the Aleen Steinberg Visitors Center in Dupont State Forest.
WHERE WE WORK
WNC Communities works with over 20 counties in the western mountain region of North Carolina. Counties included may vary based on the program and the partners we work with.