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A Catalyst for Collaboration and Innovation




September 2023

Hello and Welcome to Nantahala Health Foundation's monthly newsletter. There's no shortage of newsletters you can subscribe to, so THANK YOU for reading ours today. If you find value in the content below, please share this information with your friends and colleagues.

In this Edition

  • Now + Next Fall Cohort Set to Launch
  • Take Our Alternative Education Survey
  • Partner Spotlight: Duke Energy Foundation + Town of Dillsboro
  • Our Myth-Busting Series to Shift Gears to Affordable Housing

Now + Next Graduates Second Cohort;

Fall Cohort Launches September 27

Under-resourced for generations, human service-focused nonprofits operating in Western North Carolina continue to do their best to fill gaps despite a long tradition of facing professional leadership capacity challenges.

These challenges start with attracting and retaining talented individuals willing to accept nonprofit’s notoriously high workloads for even more notoriously low salaries. Next, engaging and growing talented individuals from diverse perspectives within existing communities is also challenging, though necessary due to fewer professional-level and working-age people migrating into our area. This leaves agencies and boards of directors dependent on recruiting from a smaller talent pool.

Magnifying the issue of leadership capacity is the fact that younger residents with leadership potential often leave their rural hometowns for perceived increased opportunities in urban areas. A general lack of social diversity underpinned by a scarcity or deficit mindset rounds out the list of barriers to full engagement in under-represented communities.

To help address these challenges, Nantahala Health Foundation convened regionally respected leaders from various professional backgrounds to design a training program to address the challenges unique to our region. The result is Now + Next, a leadership capacity-building program that gives nonprofit staff the room they need outside their office environments to deepen their skills, empowering them to become more effective, empathetic, and adaptable leaders.

Through this program, Nantahala Health Foundation has already graduated leaders who will positively impact their teams and organizations toward mission fulfillment. Program alumni are equipped with the tools and knowledge to drive organizational growth, increase efficiency, and achieve strategic objectives that ultimately benefit all they serve. Simultaneously, these leaders gain skills in caring for themselves and their teams to ensure leadership resilience for our future. Our next cohort will launch September 27.


Your Feedback is Requested:

Take Our Alternative Education Survey

Nantahala Health Foundation is gathering information about Alternative Education Systems and related supports in WNC.

If you have had personal or professional contact with the alternative education systems in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Swain counties or on the Qualla Boundary, please take our short, 9-question survey. In addition to learning more about your experiences with these programs, we are asking for your ideas to improve student success rates.

If someone you know could contribute to our knowledge-gathering effort, please share the survey link with them. Through survey responses, we welcome extensive input from various stakeholders.

Alternative Education Programs are designed to support students who lack success in traditional school settings. These programs recognize that some students may be better served by a different style of teaching and, for various reasons, that some students may need to recover credits or to have additional assistance removing barriers to learning in a traditional setting.

Alternative education programs are designed to meet student needs through non-traditional best practices in education and other supports designed to assist students with academic, behavior, and/or mental health challenges that impede their success in traditional school environments. Alternative education programs provide a range of educational, social and personal, transition, and drop-out prevention services.


The deadline to submit the survey is September 25.


Partner Spotlight: Duke Energy Foundation + Town of Dillsboro

Whistle Stop Refresh Dillsboro

Thanks to a grant made available by Duke Energy Foundation, Nantahala Health Foundation was chosen to administer $25,000 in Hometown Revitalization funding for 11 businesses in the Town of Dillsboro.

Most of the 11 projects have been completed in time for fall leave-lookers to arrive, with just two projects requiring extra time to achieve their goals (as indicated by asterisks below).

Businesses that benefited from Refresh Dillsboro funding were:

  • Catamount Electric
  • Corn Crib
  • Dillsboro Chocolate Factory
  • Dogwood Crafters
  • *Front Porch on Church Street
  • Haircuts by Jill
  • Nancy Tut's Christmas Shop
  • *R+R Tavern
  • Shear Images
  • Tunnel Mountain Crafts
  • Whistle Stop Inn (photo above provided by Whistle Stop)

The business refresh and safety projects were supported by Duke Energy Foundation and Nantahala Health Foundation based on the knowledge that a community's economic stability contributes significantly to the health of its residents. Including funds business owners contributed, the Refresh Dillsboro grant investment was anticipated to provide the town with nearly $64,000 in value-added improvements based on total project expense estimates.

"We were able to reglaze the front windows and paint the front of the building," said Anita Rogers at The Corn Crib. "As a result of this grant, our windows no longer leak, and the front of our building is refreshed and more inviting."


Myth-Busting: Affordable Housing Edition

Our second social media myth-bunking series, which is set to launch later this month, will take a closer look at affordable housing. As we did with our poverty series, we aim to debunk the 10 most firmly held and frustrating myths about affordable housing's impact on individuals and families, specifically here in the Appalachian Region.

Our #TruthTuesday posts on Facebook and Instagram will continue to run for the next several weeks. If you find one in your social feed, be sure to give it a thumbs up, double tap, and share it with your friends. The more we collectively understand and share the truth about this issue, the better our solutions will be.

Affordable + Safe Go Hand in Hand: Understanding that safe living conditions greatly impact health, Nantahala Health Foundation set out to address the issue with our partners at Dogwood Health Trust and Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation. So far, we have invested more than $400,000 to ensure home repairs and modifications for low-income individuals and families to create better, healthier living environments for all.


While strides have been made to create more affordable, safe housing opportunities in our region, too many men, women, and children continue to struggle with sub-standard housing. The fact is that easing the housing burden not only will improve the health and life expectancy of those currently oppressed, but it will also dramatically improve the health of our entire community.

Donate today to help ease the suffering of your neighbors living in sub-standard housing and other social drivers of health negatively impacting the less fortunate.


Our Funding Priorities

Our grant-making priorities are designed to create a strong network of organizations by investing in your strategies to remove barriers to health.

Meet Our Partners

At Nantahala Health Foundation, we build partnerships with forward-thinking organizations focused on improving the overall health of the region. 

Our Values Statement

Our values speak to who we are as an organization and how we intend to achieve our mission. Read our full statement of values and let us know what you think.

Financial information about our organization and a copy of our license are available from the N.C. State Solicitation Licensing Section at (919) 807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State.

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1547 Highlands Road
Franklin, NC 28734
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