Rebuilding and Connecting Communities

Buncombe County’s Isaac Coleman Grants fund hundreds of thousands of dollars for projects that support social justice, equity, and service access for our county’s black and brown communities of color.

These investments are part of a broader approach, which includes continuing partnerships with nonprofit and faith-based organizations, providing mini-grants to augment emerging and innovative community efforts, supporting small businesses, validating social determinants of health, and investing in education and the economy.

Communities of color in Buncombe County are spearheading projects helping youth learn to read, creating healing environments for local neighborhoods, maintaining our local histories and legacies, and connecting each other to lifesaving resources with the help of Isaac Coleman Grants.

Because of these grants, local organizations are getting the support they need to make meaningful, lasting impacts.

In this video, organizations share their mission, goals, and philosophy for providing much needed services and support to our communities.

“When we talk about the services that are offered [within our community], there is a wider gap with black and brown people,” says Michael Hayes, executive director for UMOJA Health, Wellness, and Justice Collaborative, and grant recipient.

“Because of the Isaac Coleman Grants, we were able to start developing peer support specialists that we need to be in the community to do the work.” As a result, UMOJA can provide safe spaces to help our black and brown communities of color unpack trauma and seek and promote healing. UMOJA is just one of the current five grant recipients providing a wide array of support and/or services for communities in Buncombe County.

The current funded projects for Isaac Coleman Grants are:

  • The E.W. Pearson Project from the Shiloh Community Center in collaboration with Burton Street and East End neighborhood associations whose goal is to create sustainability in collaborative community projects.
  • Hood Huggers International from Asheville Creative Arts whose goal is rebuilding Affrilachia through youth and community engagement.
  • PODER Emma Community Ownership from Colaborativa La Milpa to maintain connection of our Latinx communities to their heritage and community ownership.
  • Read 2 Succeed for work to build equitable opportunities and outcomes for literacy in our communities.
  • UMOJA Health, Wellness, and Justice Collaborative to create place-based peer support services building equity in recovery.

For more information on any of these projects and their goals, please visit the Strategic Partnership Grant project,


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