Investing in Worthy Agricultural-Related Community Efforts
Corporate Mission Fund Supports 25 Nonprofits Annually
Community-based, hands-on projects go a long way toward educating people of all ages about the amazing world of agriculture. Take, for example, raised garden beds on school grounds where students can experience first-hand what it takes to get seeds to germinate, to water and nurture seedlings, to watch a plant grow, to not only harvest what they grow but to taste the fruits of their labors.
Or consider the life lessons children may learn – patience, responsibility, perseverance, sportsmanship -- in caring for and showing an animal. Or the life-changing experience for a disabled person to gain access to therapeutic horseback riding.
These are just a few examples of the 25 efforts Carolina Farm Credit is supporting this year through its Corporate Mission Fund. While Farm Credit is a stockholder-owned cooperative that provides financing to farmers and agricultural-related businesses, and to those constructing or purchasing a home, it is much more.
Corporate Mission Fund Supports Nonprofits and Students
Carolina Farm Credit and its employees and customer members are active participants in communities across the 54 western most counties in the state. In support of those communities, Carolina Farm Credit’s Corporate Mission Fund provides as much as $160,000 in grants and student scholarships each year to a wide range of worthy efforts. It has invested in local nonprofits throughout the region since 2014 with the mission to build strong partnerships and alliances, leveraging the resources within the fund to preserve and promote the farmer, the family, and our rural communities.
Who Is Eligible to Apply?
Any nonprofit organization with some type of agricultural-related project in the 54-county Carolina Farm Credit region may apply for a grant of up to $5,000.
“We’ve had broad ranges of projects from churches, schools, rescue and emergency organizations, and other nonprofits,” says Jocelyn Roten, marketing specialist. “We have good representation each year across our region.”
Giving a Boost to Local Communities
One of the benefits of the program is that it often gives a boost to schools or other community efforts. Jocelyn shares that sometimes funding may not be available through schools to support installing a school garden, for example, but a Corporate Mission Fund grant can be a great source for funding to get a garden up and growing.
School projects with an agricultural component seem to be quite popular. In addition to school gardens, other efforts include an FFA organization purchasing FFA jackets for every member; installation of fencing for a small livestock herd; and a working chute system for livestock, which enhances a livestock showing program for 4-H and FFA groups.
Community projects this year included the purchase of grain bin rescue equipment, the construction of a shed for drying and processing herbs, flowers and vegetables as part of an employment program for incarcerated women, the installation of a mobile cold storage unit for a mobile fresh market that provides access to fresh, local food, and a portable automated lift mechanism for ATVs for easier access and transport of those injured in farm accidents.
How to Apply
The application period for 2023 is open through June 30, 2022. Grants are awarded to nonprofit groups or organizations. It is not open to individuals or private farms. Find the electronic application form on the website.
Proposals will be reviewed during the last quarter of the year by a seven-member panel. Recipients will be notified in October or November. Checks will be delivered either in December or in January.
Winners are showcased in printed materials published by Carolina Farm Credit. Grant recipients and a couple of representatives from each organization are invited to a May luncheon, a fun time to showcase the worthy projects and to give recipients a chance to network with each other and with Carolina Farm Credit representatives and elected officials.
A Chance for More Cash
Each grant recipient has the opportunity to share a video of their project in progress. Videos are shown at a luncheon for all recipients and other guests. One winner is selected and awarded an additional $1,000 for their project.
Scholarships for Students
Carolina Farm Credit’s investment in education extends to college students as well. Each year, the fund awards four scholarships to students enrolled in agricultural studies at each of the three universities in the state with agricultural programs: N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University, and the University of Mount Olive. Each of these 12 students received a $2,500 scholarship. See guidelines for each school.
For More Information
After you review the application form, feel free to contact Jocelyn Roten, marketing specialist, with any questions at Marketing@carolinafarmcredit.com or (800) 521-9952 x 2897.
More from a Grant Recipient
In the second part of this 2-part series, Reid Ledbetter, agriculture teacher at the North Carolina School for the Deaf, shares information on how the Corporate Mission Fund helped his school create and expand gardening programs (and math and science skills) with the addition of a high tunnel and hydroponic system.
By Leah Chester-Davis