Creating New Economies Fund

Created to help our partners implement innovative triple bottom line projects, Resourceful Communities’ Creating New Economies Fund grant program provides seed grants up to $15,000 for projects that might otherwise go unfunded.


The Creating New Economies Fund (CNEF) grant program was established with generous support from the Ford Foundation in 2001 to build local capacity and broaden community leaders’ experience with sustainable development.

Since those first awards, Resourceful Communities has awarded 221 grants totaling more than $2 million. We are grateful to the Ford Foundation and funders who have subsequently joined in support of CNEF, including Anheuser-Busch Companies, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, the NC Rural Economic Development Center and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.



Providing resources and building capacity are primary goals of the CNEF program.  Each CNEF applicant is required to attend a technical assistance session prior to submitting a proposal where Resourceful Communities staff review grantwriting skills and the CNEF grant program.  Afterwards, staff continue to work with partners on an individual basis to design projects, compose grant proposals, develop budgets and evaluate accomplishments as needed.

In addition, Resourceful Communities works directly and “behind the scenes” to leverage additional support of triple bottom line projects.  To date, the program has leveraged more than $8 million for partner organizations and increased awareness of creative work going on throughout North Carolina’s underserved communities