Tuesday, June 18, 2024

ECU’s Rise-29 helps create jobs in rural communities

Sparking economic growth in rural eastern North Carolina is the goal of a $1 million grant by the Golden LEAF Foundation to the region’s largest educational institution. The money will support East Carolina University’s RISE-29 effort, which helps graduates start businesses throughout the 29-county region or assist existing enterprises that are making succession and continuity plans. A key goal is to reverse the trend of declining population in much of the area.

“This innovative partnership will help create 150 jobs in rural communities and provide long-term business-growth strategies for current and budding business leaders,” Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach said in a press release.

Golden LEAF awarded grants of $207 million and issued grant payments of $69 million in the last two fiscal years. The foundation, which has assets of $1.1 billion, was formed in 1999 to administer 50% of the state’s share of a national agreement with five big tobacco companies related to their marketing of cigarettes. Much of the state’s tobacco production has historically come from the 29 counties.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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