Golden LEAF, Center for Public Leadership and Governance partner to launch Local Government Training Initiative

An American flag flies outside a red brick building in downtown Kinston, North Carolina

The Golden LEAF Foundation and the Center for Public Leadership and Governance (CPLG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s  School of Government are partnering to launch the Golden LEAF Local Government Training Initiative for mid- and entry-level public leaders from economically distressed North Carolina communities.

The initiative is made possible through $493,546 in funding awarded by the Golden LEAF Board of Directors.

“Golden LEAF is proud to work with the Center for Public Leadership and Governance to support local government leaders in rural North Carolina,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “Golden LEAF is focused on improving the competitiveness, capacity, and vitality of rural communities. This Initiative will ease the financial burden for qualified public leaders to attend professional development training.”

Set to launch in March 2021, the initiative aims to strengthen local governments in North Carolina’s Tier 1 communities by providing scholarships to attend professional development opportunities for their mid- and entry-level public leaders.

“At the School of Government, we see the positive impact of professional development for local government employees every day,” said Mike Smith, dean of the UNC School of Government. “This program is a ‘win’ for employees, local governments, communities, and North Carolina. We are grateful to Golden LEAF for their support.”

“These funds will ensure that local governments in our state’s most economically distressed communities can access meaningful leadership and professional development opportunities,“ said Peg Carlson, director of the Center for Public Leadership and Governance.

The initiative is open to municipal and county governments located in Tier One counties across the state as specified by the North Carolina Department of Commerce 2020, 2021, and 2022 County Distress Rankings. With an emphasis on nurturing future leaders, support will target public professionals working at the department director level and below, and local elected leaders from small municipalities with mayor-council forms of government.

Qualifying local governments can participate via three distinct programs:

1.      Training for employees in public management and supervision;

2.      Individual scholarships for School of Government programs;

3.      Organizational scholarships for customized advising and training.

For more information on how an employee or local government organization can participate in the Golden LEAF Local Government Training Initiative, please visit our informational webpage, sign up for the mailing list, or contact Jenny Neville at

About CPLG

CPLG equips public officials with the knowledge and skills they need to lead and govern in their organizations and communities. The center trains, develops, and supports thoughtful and engaged public leaders who are prepared to successfully navigate today’s governing challenges. Learn more at

About Golden LEAF

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state by helping create 65,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls and more than 85,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, please visit our website at