Nantahala Health Foundation to Invest More Than $204,000 in 27 WNC Nonprofits

Release Date: June 8, 2021

Nantahala Health Foundation announced today its intent to invest more than $204,000 in Western North Carolina nonprofits and public service organizations working to improve health and wellness outcomes for all. Needs Immediately Met (NIMble) grants have been approved for 27 organizations in support of essential organizational needs and/or health and wellness programs, said Nantahala Health Foundation Executive Director Lori Bailey.

“The devastating impacts of COVID-19 were front and center when we first envisioned how our NIMble grants could be implemented to support struggling WNC nonprofits early in 2020,” Bailey said. “Now that pandemic concerns are relaxing, we are eager to turn our attention to addressing the social determinants that continue to impact all our lives and to building capacity within the nonprofit and public service agencies that work so diligently every day in support of others.”

Organizations awarded NIMble grants are working to improve the health and well-being of individuals in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Swain, Jackson and Macon counties, as well as on the Qualla Boundary. Additionally, NIMble grant funds support programs designed to address NHF’s funding priorities, which include access to healthcare and general wellness opportunities, formal and informal education initiatives, economic stability, and community and organizational capacity building. Within these priority categories are many of the social determinants of health known to impact up to 80 percent of an individual’s health outcomes over a lifetime.

“An ever-growing body of research has proven that where and how a person lives, learns, works and plays far exceeds cumulative clinical visits when it comes to determining health outcomes,” said David Garrett, NHF’s board chair. “Addressing these social determinants is the primary reason Nantahala Health Foundation has chosen to work with organizations to specifically identify and support upstream methods of improving wellness for all in Western North Carolina.”

NIMble grant investments totaling $204,222 have been awarded to organizations in these categories:


  • AWAKE Children’s Advocacy Center, Sylva – To support the purchase of their current facility, thus providing the agency with a permanent operational headquarters.
  • Blue Ridge Mountains Health Project, Cashiers – To enhance their organization’s technological capacity to better serve free dental clinic patients.
  • Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital, Murphy – To support the establishment of a health clinic within the Graham County School System, thus providing children and teachers direct access to medical care.
  • Full Spectrum Farms, Cullowhee – To create an art studio and educational space that will allow the organization’s growing list of clients to be served in a safe indoor setting.
  • Graham County Sheriff’s Office, Robbinsville – To purchase comprehensive first aid kits for each patrol car, thus ensuring sheriff’s department officers have access to necessary equipment to provide first-responder medical care as needed.
  • Hospice House Foundation of WNC, Franklin – To purchase appliances necessary to the operation of the nonprofit’s facility, scheduled to open later in 2021.
  • North Carolina Bartram Trail Society, Franklin – To repair trail maintenance equipment and ensure their secure storage, thus ensuring safe equipment is available to volunteers during scheduled workdays and further ensuring trail users experience a safer, more enjoyable outdoor activity.
  • Rotary Club of Franklin-Daybreak, Franklin – To support the repair of a Little Tennessee Greenway pavilion, thus providing the public an additional outdoor meeting space within Macon County.
  • Special Olympics North Carolina, Morrisville – To address the healthcare accessibility challenges and health inequities of more than 600 WNC children and adults who are at greater health risks due to leading sedentary lifestyles, thus ensuring this population has access to health and wellness programming targeting priority issues.


  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Asheville – To provide community food sites budgets to purchase local farm products that meet the needs of their programs.
  • God’s Way Fellowship, Balsam Grove – To increase food security for at-risk residents of Jackson County.
  • Grace Place, A Community Table, Robbinsville – To expand the organization’s current food pantry capacity to address food insecurity within Graham County.
  • Jordan Peer Recovery, Candler – To establish a Community Health Worker Apprenticeship program to support recovery and re-entry efforts of individuals returning to society after time spent in prison and/or drug rehabilitation facilities.
  • Macon Program for Progress, Franklin – To decrease financial hardships for Macon County’s most vulnerable populations, including the elderly, disabled, and veterans of America’s armed forces, thus ensuring their basic, day-to-day needs are met.
  • Mountain Projects, Waynesville – To decrease financial hardships for Jackson County’s most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled, and low-income workers, thus ensuring their basic, day-to-day needs are met.
  • Rolling Start NC, Sylva – To repair at least six donated vehicles, which can then be gifted to individuals in need of safe, reliable transportation.
  • Southwestern Resource Conservation and Development Council, Waynesville – To support the implementation of a WNC Farm-to-Table project in Jackson County by covering transportation (fuel and maintenance) costs, thus ensuring food products can be delivered from local farmers to at least five categories of end-users, including restaurants, farmers markets, food banks, institutions, and producers of value-added products.
  • State of Franklin Health Council, Bryson City – To install a commercial kitchen within the Swain County Senior Center, thus ensuring the staff’s ability to prepare healthy, hot meals and make them available on-site and for home delivery.
  • Stecoah Valley Arts Crafts and Educational Center, Robbinsville – To upgrade their facility’s internet, WiFi and telephone technology, thus ensuring community residents and visitors to Graham County have access to these vital services.


  • Andrews Elementary School, Andrews – To purchase 60 desks and chairs constructed of anti-micro bacterial materials for three classrooms and to purchase a UV cleaner.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC, Asheville – To support the initiation of an outdoor hiking program for youth and their adult mentors, thus teaching at-risk, under-served children about the advantages of spending time in natural surroundings, increasing their physical fitness level, and instilling long-term, healthy habits around leisure activity and nutrition choices.
  • Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority, Cherokee – To establish a Nurse Aide training program, which will attract individuals interested in access to healthcare jobs.
  • Graham County Public Library, Robbinsville – To provide library users with a comprehensive collection of online materials and resources to aid their pursuit of information, research, education, recreation, and the development of creative capacities in their leisure time.
  • Graham County Schools, Robbinsville – To repair an elementary school freezer by replacing its compressor, thus ensuring the safety of food available to students.
  • Heart for Families, Franklin – To purchase materials and support facilitator stipends as required to offer the Love and Logic program, thus providing parenting classes designed to improve childhood and family experiences.
  • Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center, Franklin – To provide Earn While You Learn program availability online and in Spanish via DVDs, thus eliminating a variety of barriers their clients have faced when attempting to access this educational resource.
  • Southwestern Community College, Sylva – To purchase a chemistry analyzer, thus ensuring health science students have access to this educational tool in support of their chosen field of study and to support the outcomes of community clinics offered to the public.

Included in the total NIMble grant investments, $112,104 (or 55 percent) has been allocated to grow organizational capacity-building efforts, while $146,122 (or 72 percent) will address organizational needs related to overcoming the impacts of Covid-19.

Soon after their establishment in early 2019, Nantahala Health Foundation’s Board of Directors focused on strategic planning and information gathering. After hosting an extensive series of listening sessions designed to identify issues challenging Western North Carolina, they defined their initial priorities and set about allocating funds in support of achieving their mission.  During this time when we have all been impacted by COVID, NHF has continued their listening sessions and work to connect with the communities they serve during 2020 and 2021 and have further refined funding priorities accordingly. 

NHF’s 2021 NIMble grant cycle, during which grants were capped at $10,000 each, marks the organization’s fourth completed grant cycle and collective community investment to date of nearly $2.4 million in support of addressing social determinants of health.