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Grant Application Notice

In June 2020, the Board of Commissioners approved 3-year grants. Funding will be extended for current grantees until June 30, 2023, subject to budget availability and project performance.

Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment

Programs and services alone are not enough. Health, safety and wellbeing are culturally created…not professionally prescribed.

A photo portrait of Isaac Coleman

Isaac Coleman

People and neighborhoods are impacted by race, poverty and trauma. These factors create barriers to economic success for adults and even impact the health of newborn babies. From early on, these cumulative pressures impact children, hampering the development of the necessary social, emotional, educational, and work skills to achieve self-sufficiency. As a community we cannot leave this talent behind. We need every child in our community to realize their potential and contribute to our community.

Based on recent data, we know our current efforts have not decreased disparities in health, education and economic opportunity. This requires us to think differently and employ different strategies.

What we have learned is that health, safety and wellbeing are culturally created rather than professionally prescribed. If we want to improve the economic opportunity, health and safety of communities then we must engage with communities in ways that allow them to lead. We also know that focusing on individuals alone will not address the pervasive effects of race, poverty and trauma. Three factors that determine the environmental conditions within communities are: equitable economic and educational opportunity, people, and place. By focusing on these factors and harnessing the talents of community members, together we can build a more robust workforce and more resilient neighborhoods.

Improving Equitable Opportunity
  • Pipelines to jobs
  • Apprenticeships
  • Self-sustaining businesses
Connecting People
  • Rebuilding trust
  • Fostering a sense of "we"
  • Building a can do sense that neighbors can work together to get things done
  • Supporting emerging leaders
Ensuring Positive Place
  • Healthy public spaces that encourage gathering
  • Gardens and walking trails
  • Cultural identity that brings people together


About the Isaac Coleman Plan & Review Group

Our goal with this investment is to rebuild the health, safety, and self-sufficiency in our communities.

Named for social justice champion Isaac Coleman, the Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment plan calls for targeted investments in our communities that are currently working to champion equitable opportunity.

These investments are part of a broader approach, which includes continued partnerships with nonprofit and faith-based organizations, mini-grants to augment emerging and innovative community efforts, support for small businesses, and investments in education and the economy. This mix of formal and informal approaches is intended to strengthen community infrastructure so that meaningful and sustainable change can take root.

Isaac Coleman Grant Review Group

  • Dr. Frank Castelblanco
  • Dr. Tiece Ruffin
  • Drew Reisinger
  • Natasha Adwaters
  • Sandy Feutz

Grants Announcements

Community Innovation/Grant Announcements & Information

Application Process

Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment funding is available for three years and is subject to Buncombe County’s annual budget approval. Awards available range from $50,000 to $150,000.

Isaac Coleman grants are supported by the Community Engagement Team within the Strategic Partnerships Department. Community engagement is a way of partnering that cultivates trust, authenticity and inclusion in support of community outcomes. We aim to cultivate a strong learning collaborative, build relationships across efforts and share learning and resources where appropriate.

FY2023 Grant Reports

Locate & Contact

Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment


Rachael Nygaard
Director of Strategic Partnerships
200 College Street
Asheville, NC 28801
P. (828) 250-6536

Community Investment
200 College Street, Suite 300
Asheville, NC 28801

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Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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