Cherokee Preservation Foundation (CPFdn) announced on Monday, March 28 it has awarded 24 new grants totaling more than $2.7 million that support cultural preservation, economic development, job creation and environmental preservation. They include:
• A grant to the EBCI’s Strategic Energy Committee to create showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on the Qualla Boundary so the public can see them firsthand and learn their benefits. Projects will include thermal solar installations that heat water, photovoltaic cells that turn sunlight into electricity, and facilities retrofitted with high-efficiency light bulbs, motion detectors, improved insulation and timers on HVAC units.
• A grant to the Sequoyah Fund for its revolving loan fund so it can meet increased demand for business start-up and expansion loans throughout the Qualla Boundary and seven far western counties of North Carolina. The Sequoyah Fund is part of the strategy of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to diversify and revitalize the local economy and help tribal members succeed as business owners.
The Sequoyah Fund is introducing several new lending products, including a New Economy Fund to provide capital for green, knowledge-based or creative economy businesses and a Healthy Foods Venture to provide lending to local businesses focused on meeting the demand of consumers looking for fresh, healthy, locally produced foods.
As part of the grant, the Sequoyah Fund will sponsor 20 teachers from the Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) and enable them to attend the North Carolina Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (NC REAL) Institute so they can learn how to incorporate entrepreneurship skill development into the CCS core class curriculum.
The grant will also enable the Sequoyah Fund to conduct a business plan competition involving students from Western Carolina University, Southwestern Community College, Tri-Counties Community College and Haywood Community College. The inaugural competition in 2010 was a great success.
• A grant to the Cherokee Business Development Center, which works closely with the Sequoyah Fund, that will enable the Center to provide a permanent place for community members to receive information on credit scores and get credit counseling, budgeting and other types of training. The grant will also fund the first ever Cherokee High School Business Plan Competition, for which 11th and 12th grade students will be eligible.
• A grant to design a new environmentally friendly Cherokee Children’s Home (CCH) facility. Since 1958, the CCH has provided a safe, stable environment for over 1,700 children in need. The CCH allows Cherokee youth to stay in contact with the Cherokee community by being located on the Qualla Boundary, but deteriorating buildings are beginning to limit their capacity to help the youth. Therefore, the CCH will be working with an architectural firm to develop a facility plan that will increase its capacity to help the youth. The plans will have some Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification components that focus on utilizing smart/green construction and operating techniques. The CCH will also be using the grant to develop a fundraising campaign that will help them complete this project by drawing additional financial support.
• A grant to Cherokee Central Schools to purchase equipment for science laboratories and the instrumental music program at the middle school and for the digital media studio at the high school. The resources will give students more hand-on opportunities for creative expression and problem solving. The grant will also enable the formation of an Elders Advisory Council that will give students more opportunities to interact and learn from tribal elders.
• A grant to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian to present the Southeast Tribes Festival, to have a Cherokee Language Camp in the Snowbird community, and to construct an artifact collection room storage system. The sixth annual Southeast Tribes Festival will bring together master artisans, traditional dance groups, living history demonstrators and athletes for two days of cultural activities. The fifth annual Snowbird Cherokee language camp directed by Shirley Oswalt will focus on student language immersion. The Museum’s new collection room will feature a mobile filing system that increases its artifact storing capacity, thus permitting the Tribe to retrieve archaeological collections that are currently unobtainable due to storage constraints.
• A grant to the EBCI Marketing and Promotion Program to present the Festival of Native Peoples, a cultural event that showcases native peoples from across the country. During the Festival, visitors will have the opportunity to experience numerous activities, including traditional dances, songs, stories and foods.
• A grant to the Asheville Art Museum so it can present an exhibition of baskets from the Cherokee, the Appalachians and the Lowcountry to examine similarities and differences in the three styles. The Museum will also use the funds to plan a 2012 exhibition of contemporary Cherokee pottery.
• A grant to the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program to support the translation of approximately 80 stories for books that will be used in Cherokee language and culture instruction.
– Cherokee Preservation Foundation