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A Catalyst for Collaboration and Innovation

With official winter and all the little winters finally behind us, now seems like a good time to mention that we mountain people love our vegetable gardens. Just before Dogwood Winter, that first breath of warming air against our cheek is enough to send us running outside armed with a rake and a hoe. The glorious image of heavenly scented flowers covered in buzzing bees is easy to conger, especially during Blackberry Winter because the days have grown noticeably longer.

But we know better than to plant our precious seedlings outside until the threat of Britches Winter has passed. Long-time mountain gardeners know a late-spring cold snap is far from the only threat our tender plants could encounter. So we invest the hours required in anticipation of pulling a sun-warmed tomato from the vine come August. Our DNA and The Farmer's Almanac tell us that to enjoy the Ultimate BLT later this summer means ensuring our soil is rich with nutrients, providing abundant water, removing unwanted competitors, and making room for the sun’s rays to reach our leafy greens. We instinctively know that our efforts will be rewarded in the not-so-distant future with a bountiful harvest large enough to fill our freezers and share with our neighbors.


Let’s imagine for a minute that these tender plants represent our region's children and our less fortunate neighbors. If they are to thrive, they, too, must be planted in rich soil. Just as we would never take shortcuts when caring for our growing crop, we must not neglect the most vulnerable among us. We cannot plant our children in poor schools; we cannot ask our neighbors to flourish on low incomes; we cannot withhold healthcare from those in need; nor can we allow harmful influences to negatively impact our neighborhoods.


When we recognize that our tomato plants are failing to thrive, we do not throw up our hands in frustration and admit defeat. That would mean giving up on the anticipation and results of a fruitful harvest. We are mountain people, and season after season we commit to doing what is necessary to succeed. Because when the crop we care for thrives, we all reap the rewards.

Nantahala Health Foundation's work to 'fix the environment' in which we live, work, learn and play has included community investments to:

  • Connect local farmers' produce to an area soup kitchen
  • Pair at-risk youth with adult mentors
  • Ensure low-income and under-insured expectant mothers receive medical services
  • Provide victims of domestic violence with tools to access health and educational resources
  • Support community paramedic programs to reduce emergency room visits for low-income and under-insured community members
  • Enhance safety measures for area senior centers
  • Bolster transportation options and 170+ more community projects designed to promote health and well-being for all

For Our Region

Ribbon of Hope: Collaboration is Key

The N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation invites nonprofit organizations to apply for grants of $50,000 for projects furthering science, health and education in their local communities. Projects that propose collaborative partnerships between several community-based organizations are highly encouraged.

These grants offer organizations an opportunity to develop a new initiative or to grow and expand and/or enhance an existing program. The foundation does not fund core mission support, general operating, indirect or overhead costs, construction or renovation projects, medical assistance or services, or equipment.

Ribbon of Hope Award Eligibility

Ribbon of Hope proposals will be accepted through October 1, 2023. They must relate to the establishment and implementation of new projects or expansion of an existing program that:

  • addresses critical community needs that have been identified through comprehensive needs assessment activities
  • tightly aligns with the goals and objectives of local community agencies
  • demonstrates sustainability after grant funds are expended

NHF's Stance On Collaboration: We understand that one entity acting alone will not accomplish the tremendous amount of work needed to improve the health of those living, learning, working and playing in Western North Carolina. In fact, one of Nantahala Health Foundation's core beliefs is that community collaborations are required to remove barriers to health and wellness. If your organization is interested in pursuing the Ribbon of Hope grant opportunity and we can help, we'd love to hear from you.


From Across the Country

Using Infographics to Support Your Cause

If your organization has not yet embraced the power of graphics to help build a case for public and grant support for your work, here's your sign to give it a try.

The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to transforming health care through evidence and collaboration. Through data visualization, NIHCM puts evidence-based research within easy reach for visual learners and anyone (everyone) with time constraints. NIHCM works with some of the best thought leaders in health care to build bridges and bring to light information on improving health.

Consider using the power of an infographic to quickly garner the attention of someone in a position to support your organization, then fill in the gaps with details about how you propose to solve the problem facing those you serve.

Just a few of the issues NIHCM has made more approachable via infographics include:

  • Helping Children Thrive
  • Food Insecurity and Hunger
  • The Opioid Crisis' Impact
  • Mental Health Care in America
  • Homeless Youth

From Around the World

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

May is International Better Sleep Month, a global observance that emphasizes the significance one-third of our life has on the other two-thirds.

The phrase "I'll sleep when I'm dead" uttered by adventure seekers and others who proclaim an over-zealous lust for life turns out to be ironic when you consider that sleep deprivation is actually more detrimental to your health than food deprivation.

A few other little-known facts about sleep include:

  • 15% of the world's population are sleepwalkers
  • Most dreams are forgotten within 5 minutes of waking up
  • Most people take about 15 minutes to fall asleep
  • 7 - 9 hours of sleep daily provides the most health benefits, including preventing conditions that can lead to expensive hospital visits


When you get inadequate sleep, the long-term effects it can have on the body are an increase in stress hormone production and high blood pressure. The body’s stress levels rise when it does not get enough sleep. The more stress hormones that get released, the harder it is to fall asleep, which helps perpetuate the negative feedback loop of unhealthy sleep cycles. Some consequences of continued poor sleep include mood swings, reduced concentration, a weakened immune system, and irritability.

Sleep deficits are closely associated with weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a lower tolerance for chronic pain. When this issue because severe, poor sleep can be linked to serious sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy.


Partner Spotlight: United Christian Ministries

United Christian Ministries' volunteer Buddy Kennedy unloads a recent food donation from Wal-Mart. Having a cargo van has allowed the organization to receive more donations and meet the needs of more at-risk clients, says Outreach Director Joyce Pope. - Photo contributed by United Christian Ministries

Through our 2021 Collaborative Health Innovation Program (CHIP), Nantahala Health Foundation invested $50,000 in United Christian Ministries' plan to provide consistent access to nutritional fresh food to their clients.

Working with their nonprofit partners at Guiding Sheep Ministries and Ag H.O.P.E. solved the issue of access to fresh food. With NHF's grant, they could financially support the work of Guiding Sheep Ministries and purchase a van to distribute food to homebound elderly residents of Jackson County and low-income families with children.

"We knew our target population could drastically benefit from regular access to fresh, nutritional vegetables," said Joyce Pope, UCM's Director of Outreach. "Having access to fresh produce assures our clients are consuming foods rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In turn, supplementing their diet with fresh, healthy produce may reduce the risk of disease and improve the quality of life for those living with chronic disease.

We are seeing many residents asking for help for the first time ever, like Judy (client's name has been changed), a grandmother who recently got custody of her grandchildren. She was referred to UCM to get help with food. When she saw how much food we provided, she began to cry. She told us that she had not known how she was going to feed the children. She was incredibly grateful for the food pantry's assistance.” -- Joyce Pope, UCM's Director of Outreach


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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