Click above to watch WLOS-TV’s Jan. 16, 2023, coverage of the Refresh Dillsboro grant awards.
December 19, 2022
Several Dillsboro business owners received an early Christmas gift this year, thanks to Duke Energy Foundation’s Hometown Revitalization Grant program.
As administered by Nantahala Health Foundation, Duke Energy’s program is part of the power company’s effort to help small businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – continue their ongoing recovery from economic challenges initially triggered by the pandemic. Locally, the program took on the moniker of Refresh Dillsboro due to its strategic focus to identify and support enhancement and beautification projects.
Grants totaling $25,000 were awarded to 11 Dillsboro business owners, each with a plan to refresh their business and create a more secure economic base for the small mountain town.
Refresh Dillsboro award recipients and their award-winning projects are:
- Catamount Electric, where lighted signage will be installed on their building and along the roadside;
- Dillsboro Chocolate Factory, where the front porch with be decked out with new outdoor furniture, lighting fixtures and decorative railing;
- Dogwood Crafters, where window-box planters, a new flagpole, and benches and tables will be installed;
- Front Porch on Church Street, where gravel will be added to assist with an erosion issue and to enhance curb appeal;
- Haircuts By Jill, where work will include an updated sign, necessary gutter repairs and vegetation maintenance;
- Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop, where the front porch, window frames and rocking chairs will all receive a fresh coat of a paint;
- Shear Images, where a new sign will be affixed the building;
- The Corn Crib, where windows will be reglazed, after the building is pressure washed and painted;
- The Rivers and Rails Tavern, where vinyl siding will be replaced, and a fresh coat of paint will be added to the roof;
- Tunnel Mountain Crafts, where the front-entry steps will be replaced, the business sign will be upgraded, and new gutters will be installed; and
- Whistle Stop Inn Bed and Breakfast, where the porch will be expanded, making it more accessible for guests of all abilities.
All Refresh Dillsboro projects are expected to be completed by summer 2023.
“We were very pleased to partner with Duke Energy and Nantahala Health Foundation to provide this grant opportunity for our merchants,” said Dillsboro Town Clerk Debbie Coffey. “These funds will go a long way toward securing needed upgrades for our downtown businesses.”
Coffey also expressed her appreciation for the volunteer committee members who grappled with making final award decisions from the more than 20 innovative projects submitted. In addition to Coffey, committee members included former Dillsboro Mayor David Jones, newly installed Dillsboro Alderman Keith Clark, Jackson County Economic Development Director Tiffany Henry, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Donaldson, and Nantahala Health Foundation Board Chair David Garrett.
Lori Bailey, executive director of the Nantahala Health Foundation, said this grant program was especially timely for Dillsboro.
“Coming on the heels of the challenges of the past two years, this is the perfect time to invest in this historic gem of a town,” said Bailey. “As an organization focused on improving health outcomes, we understand that strengthening the places we live, learn, work and play will ultimately enhance well-being for all. We were pleased to once again partner with Duke Energy Foundation to facilitate Dillsboro’s revitalization efforts for the small businesses that contribute to the town’s vitality, and we are excited to see how these projects will positively impact the downtown area and ultimately Refresh Dillsboro.”
About Duke Energy’s Hometown Revitalization Grant Program
This marks the second consecutive year Duke Energy Foundation has provided targeted grants in support of downtowns throughout the state and the second time the company’s philanthropic division has chosen to work with Nantahala Health Foundation, a grant-making organization on a mission to improve the health and well-being of all the North Carolina’s far western counties, to accomplish its goals.
The Hometown Revitalization grant program was inspired by a successful collaboration between the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Duke Energy to provide nearly 100 grants to downtown Raleigh storefronts during the height of the pandemic. Last year, Duke Energy broadened that impact to small towns and rural communities across the state with its inaugural Hometown Revitalization grants. The grants allowed downtown storefronts the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.
About Duke Energy Foundation
Duke Energy Foundation provides more than $30 million annually in philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation is funded by Duke Energy shareholders.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
About Nantahala Health Foundation
Working as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration, Nantahala Health Foundation seeks to partner with nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary to achieve better health and wellness outcomes for all.
By working to address the upstream, root causes of health inequities and by removing barriers to accessing quality healthcare, education and economic opportunities, NHF’s impact is broadly felt in its partnerships with regional change-makers. Since its establishment in 2019, Nantahala Health Foundation has awarded more than $3.46 million in support to some 175+ programs totally a financial investment of more than $11 million throughout the region.