April 1, 2019

Nantahala Health Foundation, a newly formed public 501(c)(3) organization, is pleased to announce its board of directors, as well as the launch of its website.   

At least one resident from each of the six counties and the Qualla Boundary was asked to serve on the NHF Board of Directors based on a number of specific criteria: his or her expertise in one or more of the social determinants of health; strong ties to the community; willingness to commit the time required to invest in NHF; and his or her desire to improve the health and well-being of all people in the westernmost counties of North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary.

NHF Board Chair Jane Kimsey commented on the naming of the new board members, “I’m so grateful for the incredible experience and dedication these board members bring to our newly-formed organization. Their investment in improving the lives of those in our community is inspiring and will make an impact on generations to come.”

Selected based on the above criteria, the NHF Board of Directors is currently made up of the following members:

  • Jane Kimsey, Chair (Regional Representative/Macon County)
  • David Garrett, Vice Chair (Regional Representative/Jackson County)
  • Sonya Wachacha, Secretary (Qualla Boundary)
  • Lisa Leatherman, Interim-Treasurer (Regional Representative/Macon County)
  • Alison Cochran (Swain County)
  • Jason Johnson (Cherokee County)
  • Angie Knight (Graham County)
  • Debbie Mauney (Clay County)

The current board of directors may select up to six additional members, according to the NHF Bylaws, who bring additional areas of expertise to the board and can help to better address the priorities they will be identifying in their strategic planning process over the coming months.

During its inaugural year, the NHF Board of Directors has two priorities:

1. Understanding and identifying the issues that challenge our communities and create health disparities.

2. Through a grassroots approach, creating a better understanding of the inner workings of existing nonprofits in the region, investing in their strategies through capacity building, and supporting their initiatives that address the root causes of the health inequalities in our six-county region.

Nantahala Health Foundation Launches Website:

The NHF Leadership and Board of Directors is also pleased to unveil its website, where interested parties can obtain more information on the social determinants of health and how the NHF plans on addressing barriers to improved health and wellness in the westernmost counties of North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary.

Please visit for more information about the Nantahala Health Foundation and to read biographies for each of the current board members.

The NHF website is still being developed. Please check back for updates as the organization continues to make progress on its 2019 priorities.

Additional Information for FAQs

Q: What is the relationship between Nantahala Health Foundation and Dogwood Health Trust?

A: 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 private foundation. The intent of NHF is to maintain and enhance resources (fundraising, convening and grantmaking) in the broader space of health and well-being in the communities it serves.

Q: Will Nantahala Health Foundation be funding the same priorities as Dogwood Health Trust?

A: NHF is fully independent in its strategy for funding. The NHF is currently engaged in a strategic planning process to gather information that will define its future funding priorities. At which point, NHF, as a fully independent private foundation, will develop resources for community needs, as well as cases and networks of support for the critical gaps and disparities facing the six-westernmost counties and the Qualla Boundary.