Governor Easley is urging a nonprofit charged with overseeing the state's share of tobacco-settlement money to be more aggressive. He says the Golden LEAF Foundation should use money to help build infrastructure in rural communities to attract new businesses and jobs.
Foundation President Valeria Lee says she's heard similar suggestions from Easley's staff and says the foundation is ready to do more. Golden LEAF began in 1999 to oversee money North Carolina received from a government settlement with cigarette manufacturers. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded 560 grants that total 205 million dollars to fund projects that include increasing tourism in rural communities to funding new educational programs.