Golden LEAF was created to receive 50 percent of the annual payments made by cigarette manufacturers to North Carolina under the historic 1999 Master Settlement Agreement that included 46 states. State leaders at the time recognized this rare opportunity to create an organization and build an endowment dedicated to meaningful economic transformation across our state, rather than simply spend the money every year in the state budget.
Through the efforts of our talented and dedicated Board of Directors, we have built an endowment that has funded hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and covered all of our operating expenses with investment income alone. It’s a story that makes other states envious. It’s a story that we pledge to build upon to make even better.
Golden LEAF’s mission is to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation. I thought I’d share the meaning behind the words we chose to describe our mission.