Raleigh, NC, April 23, 2014 – The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $210,000 to North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities that was distributed among NCICU’s member colleges for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The Golden LEAF Foundation has partnered with North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities to provide scholarship support for 12 years.  During this time, the Foundation has contributed more than $6 million, helping over 1,200 students attend North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. Students are eligible for $3,000 per year.  Recipients of the Golden LEAF Scholarships must reside in rural counties that are tobacco-dependent or economically distressed.  The overall goal of the program is that these students will return home after receiving their degree and help their rural communities.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to building the talent, knowledge and skill of North Carolina students,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. “The Golden LEAF Scholarship program assists in providing the vital funds needed for a quality education, and therefore, helps level the playing field for economic success in our rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed communities.”

Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities expressed deep appreciation to the Golden LEAF Foundation.  “The Golden LEAF Scholarships are critical to providing college access for rural North Carolinians.  Most of these scholarship recipients are first-generation college students, so attending college on a small campus with individual attention can play an important role in their overall success and to their graduation from college.”

About the Golden LEAF Foundation:

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically-distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,248 grants totaling more than $548 million since its inception. The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded more than $29 million for scholarships to over 12,000 students from rural North Carolina, since its inception. Scholarships are available to students attending North Carolina Community Colleges, North Carolina public universities and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.  For more information about Golden LEAF visit www.goldenleaf.org.

About North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities:

The mission of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education.   NCICU is comprised of North Carolina’s 36 private, non-profit liberal arts, comprehensive, and research colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – including Belmont Abbey College. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. We also provide research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conduct staff development opportunities, and coordinate collaborative programs.  The Independent College Fund of North Carolina, a subsidiary of NCICU raises scholarship and other funding through state and national philanthropic communities to support students attending independent colleges and universities.  To help defray administrative costs, NCICU, in some cases, may receive a modest amount of funds under agreements made with participating companies or may accept sponsorships of meetings or other events.  For more information, visit www.ncicu.org.