The Golden LEAF Foundation recently announced the launch of the new Golden LEAF SITE Program.

The program will help communities identify potential industrial sites for economic development, complete the due diligence necessary to prepare sites for industrial development and extend public utilities to or conduct rough grading and clearing of sites for which due diligence has been completed.

Golden LEAF has budgeted $10 million for the program this fiscal year which will be awarded in two rounds: fall 2021 and spring 2022.

Applications for the fall 2021 round are due at noon on Thursday for consideration by the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors at its December 2021 meeting.

Golden LEAF will reserve at least $5 million for funding the SITE Program in spring 2022. The application deadline for the spring 2022 round will be announced later this year.

“During a strategic planning process we completed earlier this year, the Golden LEAF Board identified gaps in available funding to support site development necessary to attract businesses, especially to rural and economically distressed areas,” Golden LEAF Board Chairman Bo Biggs said. “In response to these findings, the SITE Program was designed to support the identification, preparation, and development of sites to attract quality jobs to these communities.”


Golden LEAF created the SITE Program with a three-phased approach:

  • Identification support to identify potential industrial sites in communities that do not currently have quality industrial sites to market.
  • Due diligence funding to complete eligible due diligence activities such as environmental assessments, archaeological analyses, and mapping.
  • Development funding for public infrastructure and for publicly owned sites, clearing and rough grading to benefit sites that have completed the due diligence necessary to demonstrate that the site is suitable for development.

“Golden LEAF intends for the SITE Program to complement other site readiness and site development programs existing in North Carolina and has coordinated its requirements with those other programs,” Golden LEAF President and CEO Scott T. Hamilton said. “Applicants will be able to begin the process at any of the three phases, and a site may progress from identification through to development over time.”

The timeline for the first round of funding is intended to support immediate needs. Golden LEAF will launch a second round in early 2022 with the intent that this will be a long-term Golden LEAF program.

Golden LEAF will continue to update the information available regarding requirements of the SITE Program and may modify the requirements before the next round in early 2022 or other future rounds. All updates and details will be posted at www.goldenleaf.org/SITE/.