City of Asheville to donate funds from class action lawsuit to two local organizations

The City of Asheville will make significant donations to two local nonprofits as part of a legal settlement to distribute the funds raised prior to 2018 Class action taking into account the city’s capital fee, which is charged as part of the combined supply schedule.

The lawsuit alleged that property developers paid these fees to the city without legal authority to collect them. All potential applicants were property developers. The city has consistently denied that it lacked the legal authority to collect these fees or that the collection of these fees harmed individuals or organizations. The comparison was carried out in order to reduce the legal risk and avoid unnecessary costs.

The money for these donations comes straight from the settlement amount after payment of all verified claims submitted by developers for reimbursement. As part of the settlement agreement, the city must donate the remaining money to charity. The recipient organizations required the consent of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the judge in the lawsuit.

The total bill was $ 1.85 million. Of that, $ 949,185.12 has not been claimed and will be split between two organizations – the Asheville City Schools Foundation and CoThinkk.

During their April 13th session, Asheville City Council will vote to approve the $ 949,185.12 for these two organizations. This was not a grant process, but an internal recommendation from the city council that was then presented to class plaintiffs and the court. A traditional public process could not take place because the city was unable to unilaterally select the units. The council selected these organizations for their work in promoting racial justice in our community.

How the money is used

Asheville City Schools Foundation – – The donation will finance two scholarship funds. The first establishes a permanent scholarship that is awarded to black students at Asheville City Schools, with a special focus on black students pursuing careers in education. The second sets up a scholarship fund for black, indigenous, or colored people who are educators and staff at Asheville City Schools and who are pursuing their next level of education and / or certification.

Founded in 1988 by parents, community members, and school staff, the Asheville City Schools Foundation is committed to increasing local support for public education, particularly by engaging the community to increase equity in education.

CoThinkk – CoThinkk is focused on bringing together community leaders who care for the economic and social well-being of color communities in Asheville and western North Carolina. This donation will be used in three areas:

  • Providing access to resources, capacity building and fair grants for local / regional organizations / change agents led by BIPOC / African-American / Latinx to combat racial justice and structural change;
  • As general operational support for CoThinkk in building and supporting innovative internal capacities within our four strategic levers: healing, access to resources, capacity building and system change; and
  • Creation of a structure / fund anchored in equity to address racist justice and structural / system changes. CoThinkk will grow and use dollars from regional / national funders and social impact investors intended for long-term recovery to regional organizations / groups run by BIPOC organizations / change agents.

Both groups will provide written reports on how the donated funds have been used to the Asheville City Council. Reports must be submitted twice a year, with the first six months after the date of donation and then every six months thereafter until funds are depleted (or two years after the date of donation, whichever comes first).

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