At Nantahala Health Foundation, our success stems from the collaboration of organizations in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary. Our team works with agency partners to improve the places and ways in which we live, learn, work, and play. We believe that building capacity and supporting innovative programming will lead to overall better health outcomes.

We will achieve our mission using a two-fold approach. First, we’ll listen to community leaders to gain a better understanding of the challenges that create health disparities within the communities we serve. Then, we’ll create stronger networks of existing organizations by investing in their strategies to remove barriers to health.

Our Priorities

After receiving community input through meetings, surveys, and interviews to inform our priorities and decision making, the following priorities were established:


  • Career Technical Education:  Specifically, innovative projects that prepare individuals for the workforce, particularly by teaching job-readiness and retention skills other than technical skills for all ages.
  • Early Childhood Education initiatives:
    • Assisting expansion of the availability of childcare facilities
    • Increasing childcare affordability (such as scholarships for low-income families on the waiting list for voucher support)
    • Increasing the availability of summer camps and after school programs

Access to Health Care

  • Increasing access to health care, behavioral health services, medication assistance, and dental care.


  • Alleviating poverty
  • Ending food insecurity for older adults
  • Providing or increasing emergency housing shelters

Quality of Housing

  • Increasing the provision of home repair or rehabilitation for people in need
  • Providing access to mold remediation services

Special Interest Category

  • Transportation. This has been identified as a primary need in our region which impacts all of the social determinants of health. We are looking to fund initiatives with either unique solutions and/or current efforts to provide transportation, especially those with collaborative efforts among human service or medical providers.

2019 Grant Recipients

In December 2019, we awarded 28 grants for a total regional investment of nearly $1.5 million. Going forward we will continue to explore the work of local organizations to identify innovative partnership opportunities to address the root causes of health inequalities in our region.

The timeline and format for our next grantmaking cycle have not yet been determined. Check back regularly for updated information, join our email list HERE, contact us directly at (828) 634-1547 or via email at