What is the One Buncombe Fund?
One Buncombe is a community fund designed to provide relief to individuals and locally owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19. OneBuncombe.org is a centralized COVID-19 donation and relief center, where people seeking relief as well as people wanting to make donations can do so.
One Buncombe provides funding for basic needs for unemployed individuals and bridge funding for small businesses.
The Buncombe County TDA has said it can’t redirect occupancy tax revenue to COVID-19 relief. So, how was it able to donate to the One Buncombe Fund?
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority contributed $50,000 to One Buncombe, the community fund designed to provide relief to individuals and locally owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19, joining with Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, Land of Sky Regional Council, Mountain BizWorks, members of the Asheville-area Chamber of Commerce, and others in contributing to this initiative.
The funding came from revenue earned from advertising on the ExploreAsheville.com website. This is discretionary income – that is, it is not subject to the restrictions that the occupancy tax has.
The Buncombe County TDA created this separate source of funding in 2016 and has dedicated its earned income primarily to providing grants and sponsorships to community festivals and cultural events, supporting beloved community events such as Shindig on the Green, Asheville Fringe Arts Festival, Goombay, and the recent local Mardi Gras festivities and the Asheville Celtic Festival.
With this donation, the Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund and all earned revenue will have been depleted. When area attractions, lodging, restaurants, and other entities resume advertising on ExploreAsheville.com, we will be able to rebuild the fund.