Golden LEAF Foundation is doing good work

Winston-Salem Journal (Editorial)

October 25, 2012

The grants provided by the Golden Leaf Foundation have generally proved to be effective and successful. They are a strong example of investing in our economic future.

As the Journal’s Richard Craver reported in Sunday’s Journal, grants from Golden LEAF have served as “the closer” — the deciding factor — in many of the major economic-development projects that have been done in the Triad and Northwest N.C. Since 2002, the foundation has provided $13.4 million to 24 area projects that have been used for production equipment and machinery, infrastructure development and training equipment. Beneficiaries include Caterpillar Inc., Honda Aircraft Co. and Piedmont Triad International Airport.

One of the latest beneficiaries is Deere-Hitachi, which will use welders trained by Forsyth Technical Community College, utilizing a Golden LEAF grant of $447,145.

Read more: http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2012/oct/25/golden-leaf-foundation-doing-good-work-ar-2723204/

Full article:

The grants provided by the Golden Leaf Foundation have generally proved to be effective and successful. They are a strong example of investing in our economic future.

As the Journal’s Richard Craver reported in Sunday’s Journal, grants from Golden LEAF have served as “the closer” — the deciding factor — in many of the major economic-development projects that have been done in the Triad and Northwest N.C. Since 2002, the foundation has provided $13.4 million to 24 area projects that have been used for production equipment and machinery, infrastructure development and training equipment. Beneficiaries include Caterpillar Inc., Honda Aircraft Co. and Piedmont Triad International Airport.

One of the latest beneficiaries is Deere-Hitachi, which will use welders trained by Forsyth Technical Community College, utilizing a Golden LEAF grant of $447,145.

The foundation was created by the General Assembly in 1999 as part of a national tobacco settlement of $4.6 billion over 25 years. The foundation’s job is to steer 50 percent of that settlement money to the promotion of new economic ventures, particularly in tobacco-dependent communities. Legislators have attempted to divert the money to related causes at times, and that’s met with objections from the foundation. We have on this page supported using some of the foundation’s money to preserve jobs in education, and we agreed with state House Majority Leader Paul Stam’s short-lived proposal to use it to compensate the victims of the forced-sterilization program. Education jobs are obviously important to the economy, and compensating the victims would enhance the state’s very reputation, which is certainly important in luring new business.

But in general, Golden LEAF has used its money wisely. We wish so much of it didn’t have to go to incentives, but that’s the business culture in which we live. Forsyth County and Winston-Salem have been wise in their use of claw-back provisions to make incentives deals as safe as possible.

The use of this grant money rooted in tobacco is both a symbol of our transforming economy and a bedrock of that transformation.