GREAT Projects  (Click for more information)

     
Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project
  
General Operating Support Grant
   
Robbinsville High School Sweetwater Creek Restoration and Education Project
   
Graham County Strategic Tourism Implementation Plan Project
  
Graham County Leadership Training Project
     
Graham County Asset Map Project
  
People in Need Grant
   
Nourishing North Carolina

 

      
Name:                     Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project
Funding Agency:     Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team

Summary:

As a result of individual, business and agency donations and support, the Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team organization has been successful in bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the children of Graham County. The organization has agreed to serve as the 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization for this program. Contributions are fully tax deductible and a confirmation letter for your files will be provided following your support.  Through your support of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library you can make a huge difference in the future of Graham County children and the future of our community.  The cost is approximately thirty-five dollars ($35) per child per year. 

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (www.imaginationlibrary.com) is a proven book immersion program that provides high quality books (one per month from birth to age 5) to all registered children in Graham County regardless of income level.  These are high quality, age-appropriate reading materials carefully selected for each age group.  The cost is FREE to all children of Graham County.

Top of Page


      
Name:                     General Operating Support Grant
Funding Agency:     Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
Amount:                  $35,000

Summary:

This funding will support the general operating expenses of the organization and the salary of the Executive Director.  The Executive Director will continue strengthening the organization through recruitment and training of citizen volunteers and implementation of the Strategic Plan resulting in a viable and effective organization.  The executive director will market programs and successes, submit and administer grants, and implement the GREAT Strategic Plan.

Organizational Goal

The organization will continue to address its mission by promoting collaboration and providing a direction for Graham County. The primary purpose of GREAT is to gain an enhanced economic position for the County and its economically disadvantaged population through the use of existing community assets.

Activity 1

The GREAT organization and its partners will continue to fulfill its vision for Graham County "a place where traditional Appalachian culture lives, people flourish and businesses thrive and prosper" by addressing the issue of high unemployment. Tourism is recognized as a major contributor to business growth and increased economic opportunities for Graham County. The implementation of the recommendations of the recently developed Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025 through collaboration of the county, its municipalities and the travel development authorities.

     Activity 2

The GREAT organization, Graham County government, Town of Robbinsville, Town of Lake Santeetlah, Town of Fontana and the Tourism Development Authorities (TDA) will increase capacity building through the collaboration involved in implementation of the recommendations in the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025.

Activity 3

The GREAT organization and its partners will implement the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025 and promote its recommendations to increase economic opportunities for existing businesses, lodging facilities, the artisan community and entrepreneurs in the tourism related areas. A special focus will be placed on the promotion of the local heritage and cultural assets of Graham County to enhance economic opportunities.

Top of Page


      
Name:                      Robbinsville High School Sweetwater Creek Restoration and 

                                 Education Project

Funding Agency:     Cherokee Preservation Foundation - Revitalization of Traditional  

                                  Cherokee Artisan Resiurces (RTCAR)

Amount:                   $9,900

Summary:  

The Project will take advantage of the natural resources found on the Robbinsville High School (RHS) campus to initiate a "living laboratory" along the Sweetwater Creek Greenway, through development and first-year implementation of a management and restoration plan that will involve invasive exotic plant control, native tree and shrub planting, rivercane management and harvesting, and biological monitoring of Sweetwater Creek and its riparian habitat through fish and bird sampling. The project will involve the RHS physical sciences classes in all aspects of the project, utilizing the recently-completed RTCAR-funded outdoor classroom .

The project will work with faculty and staff of Robbinsville High School. GREAT also intends to contract with two non-profit organizations, the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and Southern Appalachian Raptor Research, which will work with the RHS teachers and grounds staff on this project.

 

Top of Page


        
Name:                     Graham County Strategic Tourism Implementation Plan Project
Funding Agency:     Appalachian Regional Commission
Amount:                  $25,000

Summary:

The purpose of this project is to begin to implement portions of the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025 with the goal of doubling visitor spending from $25 million to $50 million over the next ten years. 

The GREAT organization has seven committees including the Tourism and Mountain Culture Committee comprised of business owners, TDA members and interested citizens. This committee has been steering tourism efforts and directed the development of the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025. Implementation of the tourism plan will also be directed by this committee. Major activities include the formation of a Marketing Destination Council comprised of representatives from each TDA and solicitation of a consultant to assist with brand identity, logo development, development of a county-wide marketing plan and uniform signage program.

The project has two major goals:

Goal #1:   Create a single formal marketing entity (Destination Marketing Council) with representatives from all the TDAs authorized to market the county as a single destination while preserving each TDA. Participants will meet every other month to work on implementation of the tourism plan and develop a formal annual marketing plan for the entire county.

Goal #2:  Hire a consultant to facilitate the development of a brand identity, a universal logo and a way-finding signage plan for Graham County. Solicit input from tourism businesses, government officials and the Destination Marketing Council in three public branding workshops.

 

Top of Page


        
Name:                     Graham County Leadership Training Project
Funding Agency:     Appalachian Regional Commission
Amount:                  $4,200

Summary:

The Graham County Leadership Project will provide leadership training for citizens and students in the areas of leadership style determination,  communication skills, conflict resolution, facilitation skills, and the decision making process. The leadership training will enhance the efforts of GREAT to promote collaboration and inclusion of all interested parties in a new and innovative model for this community. Ultimately, the project will impact all citizens of Graham County through the activities of the organization.  The project will consist of three local training sessions for citizens and Robbinsville High School students.

As a result of the Graham County Leadership Project, participants will have learned identified leadership skills and will serve as leadership agents that increase the county’s capacity to compete in the global economy. Agencies will be working together on projects that meet county needs while using resources more efficiently.  More volunteers will be working in the community and serving on local committees. The expectation for participants in the Leadership Project will be service to the community and the GREAT organization. This service may take a variety of formats – being and active participant in the GREAT organization through serving on one of the committees, conducting service projects in Graham County, taking a leadership role in community issues, etc. The overall effect of these impacts will be a strong organization leading a group of citizens who are willing and able to work to improve the quality of life in Graham County through enhanced economic opportunities.

 

Top of Page


             
Name:                     Graham County Asset Map Project
Funding Agency:     Various Sponsors
Amount:                  $15,000

Summary:

The Graham County Asset Map Project will produce maps of Graham County that highlight both the natural and business assets of Graham County. The Natural Assets Map component will provide information on the county’s hiking trails, USFS campgrounds, Brookfield assets, lakes, forests, etc. The Commerce Loop Map component will highlight at least three business loops in the county to promote the private business and attractions on each loop. The goal is to increase economic activity by identifying county assets to enhance the visitor experience.

 

Top of Page


 
Name:                         People in Need Grant

Funding Agency:        The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

Amount:                      $12,000

Summary:

The GREAT organization is composed of seven committees with over 160 members and 40 local, regional and state agencies that work together to enhance economic opportunities and improve the quality of life of Graham County citizens.  The GREAT membership agrees that activities designed to build the capacity of the organization is the most feasible option for success. This funding will allow GREAT to continue meeting community needs and improving the quality of life of citizens.  Also, it will allow the organization to continue to provide its expertise in leadership development, grant writing activities and project implementation to other groups in order to improve their services. The comprehensive nature of the GREAT organization's activities and components of this project will impact all citizens of Graham County (population of approximately 8,861). 

Organizational Continuation

GREAT requests funding to continue and enhance the successful citizen-based organization that addresses many community needs resulting in an improvement of the quality of life for citizens. The success of the organization is a result of the involvement of citizens and agencies in its seven committee work. The recruitment and training of volunteers to serve on the one or more of the committees has resulted in a viable and effective organization. Local funds are not available to finance staff to provide the services to Graham County citizens that GREAT provides.

Increase Economic Opportunities

      The GREAT organization and its partners will continue to fulfill its vision by addressing the issue of high unemployment. Tourism is recognized as a major contributor to business growth and increased economic opportunities for Graham County. A major activity will be the implementation of the Graham County Strategic Tourism Plan Destination 2025.

 

 

Top of Page


 

Name:                         Nourishing North Carolina

Funding Agency:        North Carolina Recreation and Park Association

Amount:                      $3,100

Summary:

The project will focus on the Community Garden recommendation with the concept of providing the community with access to fresh vegetables via community gardens. In addition, the recommendation for Healthy Food Pantries will be met to improve heathier food choices in local food pantries. The GREAT organization will facilitate this unique approach in collaborating with the Graham Health Department, the Emergency Food Pantry and Stoney Hollow Farm in addressing this need. 

The trouble most community gardens run into is maintaining a consistent volunteer base to work the garden and getting the food to the most "at risk" population. This project not only addresses both of these issues, but marries the needs of the food insecure with goals of the health community in providing a wide variety of healthier food options, all the while making the participants into stakeholders.

The grant funds will be used in collaboration with the Graham County Health Department and the Emergency Food Pantry to distribute monthly vouchers to the most needy to be used in selecting and picking fruits and vegetables of their choice. Stoney Hollow Farm has agreed to provide a discount of 10% percent to these customers so they can get a significant volume each month. As an incentive for participants to try new fruits and vegetables, the owners have agreed to provide small class cooking instruction for some of the more exotic items.

This is a unique approach in meeting the overall goal of getting nourishing fruits and vegetables to a needy population, especially food insecure children, through a "hands on" approach by the participants.

Top of Page