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Nantahala foundation awards grants

A Vecinos worker spends some down time playing with a child of one of the farmworkers. Holly Kays photo A Vecinos worker spends some down time playing with a child of one of the farmworkers. Holly Kays photo

The Nantahala Health Foundation has announced its initial grants awarded to local organizations in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, and the Qualla Boundary. 

As a newly formed nonprofit, NHF focused its 2019 efforts on strategic planning and information gathering before making decisions on where to allocate grant funding. Nantahala was formed following the sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare. As Mission hospitals transitioned from nonprofit to for-profit entities, they could no longer operate a foundation to support the hospital and those legacy foundations transformed to adopt a broader health mission for their communities. Angel Medical Center’s legacy foundation turned into Nantahala Health Foundation. As part of the Mission sale, each of the legacy foundations in the region were awarded $5 million and will receive another $10 million over the next three years to invest in community health initiatives. 

After vetting a large number of funding proposals, the foundation has awarded almost $1.5 million to local nonprofits and other organizations addressing the root causes of the community’s most pressing health concerns, including access to healthcare, education, transportation, poverty or quality of housing.

“It is a great privilege to award almost $1.5 million to innovative organizations across Western North Carolina who are working tirelessly to improve the health of people in our community,” said NHF Executive Director Lori Bailey. “The staff and volunteers of these organizations are the true community change agents. We look forward to seeing how our collaboration with each of them will build capacity, help address health disparities and strengthen our community.”

Recipients are:

Blue Ridge Mountains Health Project/Free Dental Clinic — to increase access to emergency, restorative and preventative dental services to low-income residents.

Clay County Emergency Medical Services — to establish a community paramedicine program that will allow EMTs to operate in expanded paramedic roles by assisting with public health, primary healthcare and preventive services to underserved and chronic patient populations.

Clay County Public Health Department – to support expansion of dental services through the mobile dental program.

Clay County Schools – to increase access to school-based counseling and behavioral health services.

Community Care Clinic of Franklin – to increase access to health care and medication assistance services.

KIDS Place – to support the Child Medical Evaluation Program serving child and youth victims of abuse and neglect.

First Baptist Church of Franklin/Macon Medication Assistance Program – to provide vouchers and support for the Macon Medication Assistance Program.

Macon County Emergency Management Services – to provide improvements in the technology infrastructure for Macon County EMS.

Mountain Area Health Education Center – to provide short-term student housing for the Rural Fellowship Program to support student and resident learners who are interested in practicing in the region.

Swain County Emergency Management Services – to establish a community paramedicine program that will allow EMTs to operate in expanded paramedic roles by assisting with public health, primary healthcare and preventive services to underserved and chronic patient populations in the community.

Swain County Health Department – to support expansion of dental services to low-income and uninsured patients.

Vecinos Farmworker Health Program – to purchase medications, preventative supplies, health monitoring devices and vaccines to address patient health concerns and prevent more serious health problems.

Cherokee Indian Hospital – to purchase a simulation mannequin to allow healthcare professionals and students to learn about, prepare for and respond to life threatening emergencies utilizing best standards and evidenced based regimens and equipment.

Graham County Schools – to construct a greenhouse for the Academy that will provide a venue for instruction in gardening, sustainable horticulture and business management and will provide fresh produce for the local community.

HIGHTS – to support the Tiny Home Build proposal, part of the Youth Continuum of Care Project.

Southwestern Child Development – to support expanded eligibility for early childhood education services for children ages 0 to 3.

Southwestern Community College – to purchase equipment for the new optician program.

Swain County Recreation Department – to provide upgrades and renovations to improve accessibility for the recreation department swimming pool, increasing the programming capacity for the county’s Day Camp program.

Clay County Transportation – to support expanded transportation services and to subsidize an affordable fare for passengers within Clay County needing access to employment.

Grace Extended Ministries – to provide transportation alternatives to help establish the women’s residential treatment program.

REACH of Macon County – to purchase a disability equipped passenger van to address transportation barriers.

Clay County Senior Food Project, a collaborative project between Clay County Food Pantry and Matt’s Ministry – to provide food and supplies to address food insecurity among seniors.

HERE in Jackson County – to provide case management services to assist homeless households in securing emergency shelter and aid in obtaining and maintaining permanent, safe, affordable housing.

Jackson County Department of Aging – to purchase thermal hot pads to improve the quality of food delivery to those served by Meals on Wheels.

The Sparrows Nest Food Pantry – to provide food and supplies to address food insecurity among seniors.

Hinton Rural Life Center – to provide supplies for home repair and mold remediation.

Mountain Projects – To provide home repair and rehabilitation for the elderly and disadvantaged people.

For more information on NHF and its funding priorities, visit www.nantahalahealthfoundation.org.

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