Community and Economic Development Partnerships
The City partners with organizations to better serve the community as a whole. Throughout the organization, the City has over 400 agreements with local and regional organizations which help support the growth and development of Asheville. We leverage relationships and resources because our community is better when we work together.
Economic Development partners support Asheville citizens and the region by funding efforts which add value to businesses and the community. These partnerships support Asheville area businesses by providing programs and services services to maximize the impact on economic development.
The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is focused on building community through business. Chamber programs and initiatives are aimed at growing jobs, serving as a voice for business and fostering the prosperity of member businesses.
Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission identifies and attracts sports events and related meetings to enhance the health, wellness and quality of life for area residents and sports enthusiasts. The Sports Commission generates positive economic impact by promoting our region as a recognized sporting destination.
Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) supports economic development of Buncombe County by attracting and servicing visitors, generating income, jobs and tax revenues which make the community a better place to live and visit.
Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County is experienced in assisting businesses with site selection, relocations and expansions for existing employers that are growing. The EDC website provides research reports and a comprehensive resource for businesses considering corporate relocation or expansion in Asheville. You can also contact the Economic Development team directly to leverage them as a site selection consultant for your move to Asheville.
Strategic Development Partnerships are funded in part by the City through taxpayers. These programs support underserved populations and provide resources through an equity-based community development initiative.
About the Strategic Partnership Fund
Each winter, the City of Asheville opens up applications for the annual Strategic Partnership Funds to Asheville area non-profit organizations.
Priority is given to applications that further the Asheville City Council’s Vision 2036. This criteria includes creating opportunities for economic mobility, addressing disparities in low-wealth neighborhoods, such as health, housing, and educational inequities. Also by developing partnerships to support Asheville City Schools and programs that close the achievement gap and Improving food security and healthy food availability in food deserts. Additionally, the City looks for organizations that provide support for small, local, homegrown and minority-owned businesses and provide services that directly support affordable housing and increased employment opportunities, such as child care, transportation and job training.
Current Grant Award Recipients for the 2017-2018 schedule include:
YWCA’s Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World empowers low-income women in Buncombe County to build resources such as assets or support systems for a more prosperous life for themselves, their families, and their communities. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $12,000
The SPARC Foundation’s Changing Together supports marginalized communities/individuals through non-judgmental approaches and evidence-based programs with a mission to keep people out of institutional care (jails, mental health institutions) by providing education and resources to empower individuals. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $13,300
Read to Succeed’s R2S Expands to the 4th Grade program partners with Asheville City Schools to close the achievement gap by providing the highest quality in schools tutoring to reading-challenged students in kindergarten through 3rd grade from low-income/low-literacy homes. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $5,000
Getting Back to the Basic’s Project Lighten Up is a day camp where children are provided a positive environment where they have the opportunity to improve their academic skills, use their creativity, and increase their awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, thereby improving their potential to achieve a high quality of living. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $3,500
Positive Changes Youth Ministries Positive Influences Program empowers the youth with the tools and skills needed to be successful in life through skill building, leadership training, tutoring, mentoring, career interest exploration, community service, college exploration and academic success initiatives. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $6,500
OnTrack Financial Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free state and federal tax preparation and filing to low-income taxpayers. IRS trained volunteers work to ensure that tax clients receive the highest possible refund, obtain Earned Income Tax Credit (where applicable), and avail high-interest refund anticipation loans. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $12,000
One Youth at a Time’s In and After School Initiatives program works with at-risk and delinquent youth from ages 7 to 19, providing them with programs developed to increase academic successes, self-discipline and self-esteem. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $5,000
My Daddy Taught Me That is a program that supports young men through mentorship, education and advocacy. The program works with young men ages 12-20 living in poverty to guide them through leadership development with the support of role models. This group meets twice a week for men’s leadership groups, a warm meal, and kind faces that will hold students accountable and teach them to be responsible citizens. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $20,000
I.b.mee (I Be Me)’s Student Empowerment Training for Read to Succeed Tutors The empowerment program helps develop student and teacher skills in removing the negative impact of traditional school environments 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $3,700
Homeward Bound’s AHOPE Coordinated Assessment supports individuals and families experiencing literal homelessness (living in an emergency shelter, on streets, or in the places not meant for human habitation). Homeward Bounds AHOPE Day Center is the primary site where the local Coordinated Assessment System in implemented. In Coordinated Assessment, people experiencing homelessness are assessed and prioritized for housing based on their vulnerability. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $30,000
Green Opportunities - GO Resiliency Information Database (GRID) creates a common platform that agencies can use to communicate and refer clients to one another for assistance. The GRID makes it easy to capture, in real time, the resilience of service recipients in the community. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $10,000
Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County places a support specialist in Claxton Elementary School for a second year to provide Tier 1 Services (widely available services and resources designed to foster a positive school climate and address school-level risk factor), as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 services (group and individual case management, tutoring, mentoring, and crisis intervention) to students. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $20,000
Bountiful Cities Community Garden Network is a network of 32 community gardens building health and equity through thriving, urban agriculture. The network addresses food insecurity by facilitating resource development and sharing, holding education workshops, monthly Meetups, hosting a monthly newsletter, providing individual garden support, infrastructure development, and volunteer recruitment. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $11,000
Asheville Area Arts Council’s Artist Resources support AAAC’s media lab, by providing access to Mac computers, Adobe Creative Software Suite, printers and scanners. 2017-2018 SPF grant award: $5,000
Asheville City Schools Foundation-In Real Life provides high quality, hands on, equitable and accessible after-school programming for all Asheville City Schools middle school students. In Real Life offers scholarships available to students/families, partners with Asheville City Schools transportation to provide busing around the City to increase access for students and families. By collaborating with community organizations and professionals, In Real Life has developed unique youth-informed programs to meet the demands of Asheville City Schools middle school students. 2017-2018 award-$45,000
The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design - ArtSpace Market Analysis and Feasibility Study provides relevant and actionable data to inform and develop arts-based development pro-formas using national practices. The process includes in-depth community education and stakeholder engagement. 2016-2017 award $25,000
Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative supports a planning process to develop a comprehensive community plan to increase access to affordable, high-quality preschool for three and four year olds. 2016-2017 award $6,200
Outdoor Special Events promote an environment for investment, support entrepreneurship, the arts and creative economy, attract outside spending, raise funds for local charities, increase cultural understanding and promote a high quality of life within the community. The City’s Outdoor Special Events department, within the Economic Development Division, partners with the following organizations through the Community Event Partners initiative for 2017 - 2019. Organizations can re/apply for support in January 2019 through the application process.
This initiative supports Council strategic goals: support a diverse community, build a connected and engaged community, contribute to a thriving local economy, invest in the community through programs that enrich quality of life in Asheville, demonstrate sustainable practices in waste management and transportation and promote a clean and healthy environment.
Asheville Downtown Association’s mission is to be a leader and advocate for the vitality of downtown.
As a partner, the ADA is responsible for hosting a minimum of 70 special event occasions per year. These events are designed to build community, instill community pride, and offer opportunities for citizen engagement.ADA events provide opportunities for fundraising to local non-profit organizations. They also support workforce development by creating a volunteer training program, for a minimum of 300 local residents, focused on operations and other skill sets that are readily transferable in other industries, jobs, and work settings. ADA events create new opportunities for local musicians to perform and utilize 100% local vendors for event support services and food vendors from WNC region. Additionally, ADA events implement Zero Waste AVL recycling program elements and other sustainable practices at events with assistance from the City’s Office of Sustainability.
Community Betterment Foundation - Folk Heritage Committee (Shindig on the Green)
The mission of the Folk Heritage Committee is to preserve and present the musical heritage of the Southern Appalachians to audiences who attend from throughout the region and world, for entertainment and education.
As a partner, the Committee is responsible for hosting a minimum of 11 special event occasions per year, designed to stimulate awareness and appreciation for the musical and cultural heritage of the region.Folk Heritage Committee events produce a minimum of two intentional program elements that promote young adult and child musicians and/or dancers. They also design and conduct an audience survey, which measuring the impact of the Folk Heritage Committee’s programs on attendees’ interest and engagement in arts and culture in the county. These events illustrates opportunities where collaboration with diverse, cultural organizations broadened the appeal of event programs to an underserved demographic. The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival and Shindig on the Green also create a platform to provide new local or regional product manufacturer an audience, and implement Zero Waste AVL recycling program elements and other sustainable practices at events.
LEAF Community Arts is a non-profit organization, building community, connecting cultures and enriching lives through the arts – locally and globally – with festivals, community events, and arts education programs.
As a partner, LEAF uses the Social Impact Perception Model to increase cultural competency. Attendees leave LEAF events with higher levels of cultural competency, perceiving Asheville as culturally diverse and artistically rich. LEAF Home Run Series Job Fair provides at least 5% of qualified applicants with employment opportunities and increases graduate retention based. LEAF events drive awareness of City’s capital improvement projects, reaching a minimum of 10,000 City residents per year.
Mountain Sports Festival was created with the intention of bringing together the outdoor enthusiasts, outdoor gear creators, and outdoor adventure companies in one setting to celebrate the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the lifestyle they cultivate of great outdoors, music, food, local business, and community.
As a partner, MSF is responsible for hosting a minimum of one outdoor special event occasion per year, designed to promote outdoor activities in a fun, free, and safe atmosphere. This event creates a volunteer training program, for a minimum of 75 local residents, focused on operations training and other skill sets that are readily transferable in other industries, jobs, and work settings. The event has annual goals around increasing local/regional partnerships in order to improve the organization’s capacity for innovation, responsiveness to social climate and comprehensive resilience.
MSF creates a platform to provide nine new regional musicians an opportunity to promote and perform within the MSF and provides a minimum of 32 regional entrepreneurs with opportunities to grow their businesses by participating in MSF sponsored outdoor special events. Additionally, the event Creates and implements an incentive for attendees of MSF who choose carbon emission reducing forms of transportation to/from the event, and implements Zero Waste AVL recycling program elements.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.
As a partner, ASAP is responsible for providing City residents with the opportunity to make more informed choices through exposure to local food producers and farms. ASAP works to improve the health of City residents by conducting a minimum of 76 free public markets citywide per year. City Markets work to increase vendor participation and grow gross market sales to $750,000 annually, and serve over 38,000 market customers with an average of over 1,000 customers per market. ASAP also implements Zero Waste AVL recycling program elements and other sustainable practices at events.
The Asheville Area Arts Council is the collective voice for the arts, advancing Buncombe County by delivering resources, developing innovative collaborations, and fostering creativity in the community.
As a partner, AAAC creates an efficient, reproducible, artist vending model, to be implemented in a highly visible public location in the City of Asheville. AAAC hosts a minimum of 21 special event occasions per year in Asheville, designed to develop economic opportunities for local and regional creative entrepreneurs through the vending of hand-crafted works in an outdoor market. AAAC provides a minimum of 60 entrepreneurs with opportunities to grow their businesses and supports a minimum of three Asheville-based non-profit groups per year through the Asheville Art in the Park Grant Program. AAAC also implements Zero Waste AVL recycling program elements and other sustainable practices at events.
Community & Economic Development Department