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Tipping the Scales: County Grants Bolster Grassroots Efforts, Help Provide Vital Resources for Students, Adults, & More

“When I came home and unpacked all that food, I just started to cry, I was so grateful. My daughter died, and now I’m taking care of her children. [Bounty & Soul’s] support is a blessing to me and my grandkids,” exclaimed an anonymous person after receiving free produce from Bounty & Soul. The Buncombe County-based nonprofit works tirelessly to provide food to those in need. Like many nonprofits in our community, Bounty & Soul is truly making a difference in the day-to-day lives of people. And to help efforts like this, Buncombe County’s Tipping Point Grants provide one-time cash infusions to help nonprofits with a specific program, resource, or expenditure. Each year, the County allocates $100,000 for 20 grants of $5,000 each that help tip a nonprofit toward success in their community-driven missions.

"It's a relatively small grant amount, but applicants are the people and nonprofit organizations in the community doing the work. They know where a $5,000 award can make a real difference,” explains Tipping Point Grant review team member Ray Hemachandra. “That specificity of project need and outcome is very satisfying and gives the program particular value." From connecting veterans to trauma recovery to cleaning up the French Broad River, and from providing free tutors for students to providing fitness programs for adults with disabilities: Buncombe County’s Tipping Point Grants are making a difference in numerous grassroots efforts across our community. "These nonprofits are not looking for recognition, they're looking to have an impact and to lift up their neighbors. But sometimes as a County, as a community, and in serving on this review committee, it feels good to be able to center them, celebrate them, and support them."

Tipping Point Grant recipient Bounty & Soul distributes 1,000 boxes of whole foods every week and is intentional about working with the County’s Hispanic communities. To help its outreach efforts, Bounty & Soul is using the grant funding to forge stronger connections and utilize digital engagement to further the mission of providing fresh food for our community. “We partner with over 46 local farms, community gardens, and home gardens in Buncombe and surrounding counties to provide local foods at our Produce to the People markets. Through this program we invest in and support our local food system and our Appalachian farmers,” explain Bounty & Soul staff.

Grant recipient RiverLink is using the Tipping Point Grant to expand its mission of promoting the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River by partnering with afterschool programs. Students get the chance to learn more about aquatic ecology and the importance of a healthy watershed. “A recent survey from the Racial Justice Coalition shows that youth programming like this is a top priority for many families in these communities. RiverLink's partnerships with groups like Open Doors and the Christine Avery Learning Center is helping to provide opportunities for these students to engage with their environment with confidence and understanding,” notes RiverLink staff. “While searching for bugs at West Asheville Park, RiverLink staff recalls one student saying, ‘This crayfish is the best thing I've seen all day! His name is Bubbles, and I would do anything to make sure he's safe.’ Statements like this really illustrate the deep connections these kids can make with their environment.”

Some other Tipping Point Grant recipients are:

Buncombe County is proud of our Tipping Point Grant recipients and knows their work is truly having immediate and profound effects on our community.

Do you know of a project that might be great for a Tipping Point Grant? The next funding cycle will open in mid-December 2022 with applications due in February 2023.

To learn more about Tipping Point and other County grants, click here.

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Updated Feb 08, 2023 12:40 PM
Published Nov 03, 2022 07:00 AM