LA 34 Class Projects

We're teaming up with local groups for the benefit of our community.

A significant component of the LA Program is a small team project focusing on service, teamwork, and collaboration.  These projects provide participants the opportunity to make a difference in the community. They also serve as a training ground for solving complex issues by providing opportunities for experimentation and practice, as well as exposure to different perspectives from team members. Themes and topics vary from year to year, with project partnerships solicited from an array of community organizations.

Below are details on the nine community organizations we are partnered with for the 34th class of Leadership Asheville:

Asheville on Bikes

As Asheville, Buncombe County, and the NC Department of Transportation continue to invest in expanding and improving bicycle infrastructure, the need for bicycleeducation programming is evident. Asheville on Bikes (AoB), in partnership withthe Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, teaches a variety of both student and adult bicycle education classes. This project team will be working to establish a comprehensive bicycle education plan that would include building partnerships throughout the community to host and support the classes, establishing teaching opportunities at Asheville High, UNCA, AB Tech and other interested organizations, and conducting a feasibility study on the establishment of a classroom and storage facility for bicycle education. Visit the site!

Western North Carolina Nature Center

The WNC Nature Center is the premier zoological experience in Western North Carolina and features over 60 species of animals native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains.  The Center has experienced a significant growth spurt over the past few years and attendance has climbed to over 115,000 guests per year.  This project team will be working to support the WNC Nature Center in its growth by conducting an economic impact assessment/study of the benefit of the Nature Center to Asheville/Buncombe County on an economic scale. ​Visit the site!

Asheville Grown Business Alliance

The Asheville Grown Business Alliance is a grassroots organization responsible for launching the Love Asheville Go Local campaign. Their mission is to foster entrepreneurship and enhance collaboration among locally owned businesses in the community. With the fall of 2015, Franzi Charen has become the first staff person devoted to expanding the impact of Asheville Grown in our community. This project team will be working closely with Franzi to help create and determine the direction Asheville Grown will take as it expands its programs and events, and explores new opportunities. This project could go in many different directions, and will be a good fit for those who enjoy flexibility and creativity. Visit the site!


As Asheville continues to grow, LEAF Community Arts seeks to expand access to local arts and culture opportunities for marginalized communities, especially youth and public housing communities. In August 2015, LEAF unveiled its new mobile performance stage called the “U-LEAF” which will allow neighborhoods and community groups to host outdoor performances on this borrowed or rented stage. This project team will work with LEAF staff to assess which communities could most benefit from use of the U-LEAF stage and will create an easily accessible process by which to support these communities in using this new resource. Visit the site!

Young Professionals of Asheville

The YPA is a program of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce that connects young adults in order to better lead and serve the greater Asheville Community. Both the Chamber and the YPA are concerned about the attrition of young professionals away from the Asheville area due to the lack of professional upward mobility opportunities in our community. This project team will work with the YPA board to research, propose, and potentially help develop new programming that can further address this problem and assist young professionals in career advancement. Visit the site!

Goodwill Industries

Through the sale of donated items in their stores, Goodwill helps fund employment and training programs that help people find hope, opportunity and jobs. Goodwill NWNC runs workforce development programs that serve diverse populations seeking help with career planning, job search assistance, skill development, education, and job placement and retention. This project team will be exploring and developing a prospective new “Employer Services” program at Goodwill that seeks to better understand and accommodate the needs of local employers. Visit the site!

Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design

CCCD is a national arts nonprofit based out of downtown Asheville that seeks to advance the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, critical dialogue, and professional development. CCCD is poised to enter a significant period of growth and requests help from an LA team to help the organization maintain a balanced and sustainable operating plan during this time of growth. This project team will be focusing on strategic program evaluation and examining earned income models for their future expanded facility. Visit the site!

Haywood Street Respite

HSC is a faith community in downtown Asheville that extends a particular welcome to those most often excluded, including the estimated 500 city residents that are homeless. HSC pursues its mission in the context of programs that help address basic needs of individuals experiencing homelessness and/or struggling in poverty, including their respite program which allows for short-term residence in a homelike setting following a hospital stay. This project team will be exploring and developing implementation plans for additional sources of earned income to support the Respite program. Visit the site!

City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy

Since 2007, CAYLA has provided 140 Asheville High School students with meaningful summer internships, year-round community service opportunities, and academic assistance with a focus on college entry. 83%of CAYLA alumni are still attending college or have already graduated with an AA or BA degree, as compared to national statistics of less than 20 percent college completion for first generation students. This project team will be working to connect local employers with CAYLA graduates and develop a database to help the students secure employment with business partners in the area. Visit the site!