Funding Needs & Priorities

A Lifestyle Approach to Building a Healthy Community

Nantahala Health Foundation seeks to be a catalyst for community initiatives designed to improve the health and wellbeing of all individuals living, learning, working, and thriving in our region. We offer grants and other opportunities to organizational leaders who dare to dream of innovative, collaborative solutions designed to build a healthy community.

In all of these areas, we seek to facilitate innovation and collaboration throughout our region. It is our intent to not supplant current funding resources but rather to augment them, filling gaps in funding and leveraging additional investments from other sources whenever possible. 

Strategic Priority #1 – Access to Healthcare

First, we are born. To arrive in the world on the best possible footing, we must rely on our parents. They and their support system must be healthy in the present and possess attainable hopes and aspirations for the future. Maintaining one’s health from birth to end of life starts with optimal socioeconomic factors, followed by the ability to make and maintain healthy behavioral decisions for mind and body. Additionally, access to quality health services provided by professionals plays a significant role in one’s complete health picture.

Within our Access to Healthcare priority area, Nantahala Health Foundation is committed to supporting innovative initiatives that address these focus areas, especially for those in our communities with current barriers to care:

  • General health and wellness
  • Specialty healthcare services
  • Behavioral healthcare services
  • Dental health services

Strategic Focus #2 – Education

A newborn immediately begins to learn, first from his/her parents and their support system, followed by formal education designed to create individuals who can both contribute to and enhance society in a meaningful way and, in turn, enjoy many years of productive fulfillment. Having access to education through a variety of avenues later in life can further augment health and wellness in one’s golden years.

Funding Priorities Infographic

Within our Education priority area, Nantahala Health Foundation is committed to supporting innovative initiatives that address these focus areas:

  • Early childhood learning
  • K-12 formal and informal education
  • Post-secondary formal education
  • Adult continuing educational opportunities beyond the traditional, formal academic setting, specifically those designed to enhance health and wellness

Strategic Focus #3 – Employment and Economic Security

When an individual’s educational career has been successful, access to a fulfilling professional/technical career should follow. As the child born at the beginning of this exercise outgrows the protective physical and economic shelter provided by his/her parents, the employment he/she finds must meet basic needs – safe housing with functioning, affordable utilities; access to healthy, nutritious food; community safety and support – followed by its ability to increase individual wealth and provide security for the future.

Within our Employment and Economic Security priority area, Nantahala Health Foundation is committed to supporting innovative initiatives that address these focus areas:

  • Economic development
  • Job readiness and retention
  • Housing stability and safety
  • Access to nutritional food security

Strategic Focus #4 – Organizational and Community Capacity Building

We understand that improving regional health outcomes through our first three strategic focus areas will take time. We further understand that adapting to this upstream ideal of building a healthy community will require bolstering the human and technological infrastructure of many WNC service providers. It also may require addressing fundamental needs within our communities that serve as building blocks for success in other areas. By first acknowledging the existence of these truths, only then can we act to remove barriers and alleviate their negative impacts on our community.

To that end, Nantahala Health Foundation is committed to supporting organizational and community capacity building as identified by nonprofit and governmental service providers facing and/or addressing these focus areas:

  • Organizational leadership and professional development
  • Organizational infrastructure shortfalls
  • Increasing affordable and workforce housing
  • Community nutrition supply chains
  • Access to high-functioning utilities, specifically broadband
  • Pandemics and other highly volatile health crises
  • Transportation solutions, specifically those designed to enhance health and wellness

How Social Determinants of Health
Impact Our Lives

Education

The connection between education and health and well-being. This domain includes key issues such as graduating from high school, enrollment in higher education, educational attainment in general, language and literacy, and early childhood education and development.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionSocial Determinants of Health

Neighborhoods and Built Environment

The connection between where a person lives (e.g., housing, neighborhood, and environment) and his or her health and well-being. Articles cover such topics as quality of housing, access to transportation, availability of healthy foods, quality of the water or air, and neighborhood crime and violence.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionSocial Determinants of Health

Social & Community Context

The connection between characteristics of the contexts within which people live, learn, work, and play, and their health and well-being. Articles cover such topics as cohesion within a community, civic participation, discrimination, conditions in the workplace, and incarceration.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionSocial Determinants of Health

Health & Healthcare

The connection between people’s access to and understanding of health services and their own health. This domain includes key issues such as access to healthcare, access to primary care, health insurance coverage, and health literacy.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionSocial Determinants of Health

Economic Stability

The connection between the financial resources people have (e.g., income, cost of living, and socioeconomic status) and their health. This domain includes key issues such as poverty, employment, food security, and housing stability.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionSocial Determinants of Health

Of the 29 counties in Appalachian North Carolina, 18 are served by a fixed-route bus service. However, only 26 percent of workers live within a half-mile of these services.

–Appalachian Regional Commission