Croatan Fund for Recovery and Resilience
In the immediate wake of Hurricane Florence's devastating impact on eastern North Carolina, Croatan Institute has developed a special fund focused on longer-term issues of recovery and resilience, beyond initial charitable relief programs.
Rather than re-grant funds to typical local and national charities that often take large administrative overhead fees before distributing funds for short-term relief, the Croatan Fund for Recovery and Resilience will make patient investments in longer-term efforts to build greater regional resilience during the recovery process.
In an area like eastern NC dominated by small towns and rural agricultural landscapes, much more diversified, inclusive approaches to regional land and water management are desperately needed. Helping regions prepare to weather these kinds of storms and mitigate their worst consequences will require thoughtful, targeted investments into more resilient, regenerative models of rural economic development.
By now you have undoubtedly seen the images of the flooded communities where our partners work and the mass drownings associated with the region's notorious concentrated feedlot poultry and hog farms and toxic discharges from poorly managed coal ash and animal waste lagoons. Changing the systems that create these repositories of toxic waste requires long-term thinking about alternative ways to feed and fuel ourselves as communities.
As part of our place-based commitment to harness the power of investment for social good and ecological resilience, Croatan Institute has been working closely through its Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS) with local and regional partners in eastern North Carolina to identify opportunities for investing in the expansion of the region's organic food and agricultural value chain -- and to do it in inclusive ways that build community health and rural wealth. Through community convenings and field-based research, we are working with a wide range of diverse partners to help transition farming operations to more resilient, regenerative organic models and to help entrepreneurs build businesses and infrastructure to make revitalized rural economies work for all.
Regenerative, organic, diversified farming practices create healthier soils and stronger business models that help rural communities bounce back more quickly from major events like Florence. Flooding will be far less severe when farmland and forests have more organic matter to retain moisture. Diversified farms are less reliant on the success of a single crop's harvest. Rural communities are more prepared when their local economies build wealth for their citizens rather than for distant corporations that place farmers into a new form of contractual dependency.
Our first OARS regional summit took place at the New Bern Farmers Market, and we are now doing targeted outreach to other communities that have been deeply affected by Florence-related flooding. Supporting the Croatan Fund for Recovery and Resilience will expand the capacity of partners working across the region's major river basins, by giving them access to new capital sources.
The Fund will initially focus on making micro-loan guarantees to farmers, entrepreneurs and small businesses, and field-building projects that embrace the longer-term imperatives of regional resilience. We aim to add strategic layers of patient capital to integrated capital stacks forged with like-minded partners who share our concerns for harnessing the power of investment for social good and ecological resilience.
If you would like to support longer-term efforts like these focused on investment in a just, inclusive, resilient recovery, rather than just short-term charitable relief, please earmark your gift below for "Recovery and Resilience."
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PO Box 2044
Durham, NC 27702
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Croatan Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent permissible by law.
North Carolina Charitable Solicitation License Number SL008503. Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919-807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State.