Frequently Asked Questions

Nantahala Health Foundation, a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was created to advance the efforts of improving the health and wellness in the lives of those living in the six-county, westernmost region of North Carolina. This area includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties, as well as the Qualla Boundary.

Angel Medical Center’s service area reached into the far corners of all six counties of WNC. The Board of Directors decided to ensure that the health and well-being of these communities would be their focus. The foundation’s mission is to ensure profound and unprecedented improvements on the health and wellness of our six-county region and the Qualla Boundary.

Nantahala Health Foundation was created from a capacity-building grant dispersed by Mission Health System. The grant was funded initially by an investment from the Mission Health-HCA transaction proceeds. Future funding will be determined by a diverse array of initiatives currently in development.

Nantahala Health Foundation is a wholly independent organization with no affiliation with HCA Healthcare.


There is no formal nature to the relationship between Nantahala Health Foundation and Dogwood Health Trust. NHF does not belong to Dogwood Health Trust and is a fully independent foundation. Our focus is to enhance resources in the broader space of health and well-being for the communities we serve through fundraising, leveraging opportunities, convening of community leaders, grantmaking, and more.

NHF is fully independent of DHT in our strategy for funding. While no formal relationship exists, we are committed to working together through creative partnerships designed to remove barriers to health in Western North Carolina. NHF will also continue to engage community leaders to better inform our ongoing strategic planning process, including further refinement of our funding priorities.

Yes. Our mission to support local nonprofits and government agencies as they work toward improved health outcomes for all citizens of Western North Carolina will require a significant commitment of resources over many years. While it is true our organization was established with the promise of $5 million to be distributed over three years, the reality is that $15 million is a relatively small amount of money if results are truly what we desire.

We invite all who embrace our mission to support upstream solutions to barriers to better health to invest in our work and to be a part of our results. At any level of giving, your support ensures our effort will continue until every resident of Western North Carolina has equitable access to better health outcomes. Whether you can help today with a one-time gift, help every month with sustained giving, or help us well into the future by making health and wellness for all your life’s legacy, we invite you to contact us for more information.

Nantahala Health Foundation’s Board of Directors is made up of representatives from the six counties in westernmost North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary (the territory of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians). The Board of Directors can have up to 15 members, per our bylaws.

You are certainly not alone. Social Determinants of Health are a complex set of circumstances with the potential to interact in thousands of combinations to influence your health. At its most basic, health starts with where and how we live, learn, work and play. Within each of these areas, layers upon layers of experience, truths and consistencies are built over time. Once you’ve grasped the potential for these areas to influence your health, next you must consider how these circumstances impact and influence each other. 

The science around Social Determinants of Health continues to build as we as a society deepen our understanding. Before we allow these concepts to overwhelm us, however, NHF invites you to view these images and ask yourself one simple question.

Our grantmaking will focus on investing in innovative programming to better address: Education, Economic Stability, Healthcare, Neighborhood and Built Environment, and Social and Community Context. Please visit our Funding Priorities and Needs page to learn more about these Social Determinants of Health specifically.

After receiving community input through meetings, surveys, and interviews to better inform our decision-making throughout most of 2019, we awarded 28 WNC nonprofits a total of nearly $1.5 million in December 2019. See a list of our first ever grantees HERE.

Few would disagree that 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. In this year Nantahala Health Foundation responded to the immediate needs of regional nonprofits and governments by creating our Needs Immediately Met, or NIMble, grant. Awards in this category of grantmaking were announced in October 2020. See a list of NIMble grantees HERE.

With our Collaborative Health Innovation Program (CHIP), our second grant cycle in 2020, we encouraged grant-seekers to consider innovation and collaboration as equally valuable components in their work to remove barriers to health. An announcement of CHIP recipients is anticipated in December 2020.

Going forward, we will continue to explore the work of local organizations to identify partnership opportunities to address the root causes of the health inequalities in our region. Check back regularly for updated information, sign up to be included in our correspondences through our contact page on our website, or contact us directly at (828) 634-1527 or by email through [email protected]

Our mission is to invest in and collaborate with community organizations including nonprofits and governmental agencies addressing issues that significantly impact the health and well-being of all people in the communities we serve.


Our physical office is located in Franklin, N.C.


Through our website at Our website is a great resource for interested parties to learn more about the Foundation, social determinants of health, ask questions, and be kept up to date on funding opportunities. You can also sign up to be included in our correspondence list through our contact page on the website or contact us directly at (828) 634-1527 or by email through [email protected]