Nantahala Health Foundation invites WNC nonprofits to submit NIMble grant proposals

February 22, 2021

Franklin NC — Nantahala Health Foundation, a public nonprofit whose mission is to improve health outcomes for all within its service area, has announced its first 2021 call for grant proposals specifically directed at regional nonprofits and governmental agencies facing immediate needs, including those designed to address COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Applications for NHF’s Needs Immediately Met, or NIMble grants, of up to $10,000 will be accepted March 1-31. NIMble grants are intended to support one-time critical purchases, as well as immediate needs for stabilization, capacity building or crisis response, said Lori Bailey, the foundation’s executive director.

“When we initially conceived of our NIMble grant opportunity last spring, COVID-19’s impact on our community certainly played a large part in our desire to support nonprofits struggling to achieve their missions,” she said. “While the pandemic’s threat has begun to subside–thanks to our community’s adherence to mitigation requirements and vaccines being offered now–our nonprofit partners continue to face an up-hill climb to return to pre-pandemic levels of support.”

In addition to meeting COVID-19 recovery needs throughout NHF’s service area, NIMble grants are offered as a way to identify and partner with organizational leaders who bring innovative ideas for enhancing social determinants of health to our region, Bailey said.

“A growing body of evidence supports the idea that an individual’s health is influenced primarily by factors outside the clinical frameworks found in doctors’ offices and hospitals,” said Bailey.

Known more widely as social determinants of health, these factors include housing conditions, educational opportunities, transportation options, access to healthy food, and the strength of one’s social support system. Each of these elements and many more has been found to significantly influence health outcomes for individuals, families and entire communities.

“No one can deny that COVID-19 has radically altered the nonprofit service provider landscape in Western North Carolina,” Bailey said. “That’s why we felt it was important this fall to hear directly from organizational leaders about barriers to health they are experiencing. Thanks to their input, we were able to revise our original funding priorities earlier this year and ensure we remain on track to advance our mission.”

To grow and strengthen a culture of health in our communities, Nantahala Health Foundation recently announced its Lifestyle Approach to Building a Healthy Community. Within this approach, the foundation seeks to partner with agencies that align with their priorities to promote and produce the best possible health outcomes for all.

“In each of our priority areas, we seek to facilitate innovation and collaboration throughout the region,” said David Garrett, who serves as chair of Nantahala Health Foundation’s Board of Directors. “It is not our intent to supplant current funding resources, but rather to augment them by filling funding gaps and leveraging additional investments from other sources whenever possible.”

Priority funding areas identified by NHF include access to healthcare, education, and employment and economic security. The fourth–organizational and community capacity building–could produce the greatest near-term results, Garrett said.

“We understand that improving long-term regional health outcomes through our first three strategic focus areas will take considerable time and effort,” he said. “That’s why it is vital that we adapt to this upstream ideal of building a healthy community by bolstering the human and technological infrastructure of our service provider partners.

“Long-term results also may require us to address fundamental needs within our communities that serve as building blocks for success in other areas,” Garrett continued. “By first acknowledging the existence of these truths, only then can we act to remove barriers to better health and alleviate their negative impacts on our community.”

NIMble grant applications are anticipated to be reviewed this April, after which the NHF Board of Directors is expected to announce awards by June 1.

Working as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration, Nantahala Health Foundation seeks to partner with nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary to achieve better health outcomes for all.