Nantahala Health Foundation works with local organizations in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary to explore cutting-edge programming to build capacity and address five areas that measure community health: education, economic stability, healthcare, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context.  

Our Board of Directors is addressing two priorities in our inaugural year. First, we seek to understand and identify the challenges that create disparities within our community. Second, we strive to create a stronger network of existing nonprofits and organizations by investing in their strategies and supporting initiatives that address root causes of health inequalities. 

Nantahala Health Foundation looks forward to collaborating with community change agents in innovative organizations with ingenious programming to improve health for all.

Our Priorities

After receiving community input through meetings, surveys, and interviews to inform our priorities and decision making, the following priorities were established for our inaugural grant cycle in late 2019:


  • 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 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 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