Nantahala Health Foundation to administer Hometown Revitalization Grant in Dillsboro

Attending the $25,000 check presentation from Duke Energy to Nantahala Health Foundation and the Town of Dillsboro are, from left, Tiffany Henry, Jackson County Economic Development Director; Julie Spiro Donaldson, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Keith Clark, Dillsboro Town Planning Chair; Lisa Leatherman, Duke Energy Local Government and Community Relations Manager; Debbie Coffey, Dillsboro Town Clerk; David Garrett, Nantahala Health Foundation Board Chair; Lori Bailey, Nantahala Health Foundation Executive Director; Lisa Duff, Nantahala Health Foundation Associate Director; and David Jones, Dillsboro Mayor.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy Foundation earlier this month distributed $500,000 in grants to help small businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – continue their ongoing recovery from economic challenges initially triggered by the pandemic.

This is the second consecutive year Duke Energy Foundation has provided targeted grants in support of downtowns throughout the state and the second time the company’s philanthropic division has chosen to work with Nantahala Health Foundation to accomplish its goals.

Grants totaling $25,000 were awarded to 20 nonprofits, each representing one community, which, in Nantahala Health Foundation’s case, is the Town of Dillsboro. With these funds, NHF has established a small-business support microgrant program from which they plan to deploy funds by January 2023. Microgrants are anticipated to range from $500 to $2,500 per individual business.

“We are very pleased to partner with Duke Energy and Nantahala Health Foundation to provide this grant opportunity for our merchants,” said Dillsboro Mayor David Jones. “These funds will go a long way to secure some needed upgrades for our downtown businesses.” 

Lori Bailey, executive director of the Nantahala Health Foundation, says this grant program, which is being referred to as Refresh Dillsboro, is especially timely for Dillsboro.

“Coming on the heels of the challenges of the past two years, this is the perfect time to invest in this historic gem of a town,” said Bailey. “As an organization focused on improving health outcomes, we understand that strengthening the places we live, learn, work and play will ultimately enhance well-being for all. We are pleased to partner with Duke Energy Foundation and the Town of Dillsboro to facilitate revitalization efforts for the small businesses that contribute to the town’s vitality, and we are excited to see how the projects positively impact the downtown area and ultimately Refresh Dillsboro.”

Working from within the parameters set by Duke Energy Foundation, a committee of town, county and Nantahala Health Foundation representatives has established the criteria for grant awards. They include:

  • Awards will be made to business owners with fewer than 50 employees.
  • Business owners must have a storefront in the Dillsboro Town Limits.
  • Nonprofits operating storefronts, like a resale store or café, are eligible to apply.

Because these funds are intended to help small businesses thrive, business expenditure proposals will be considered for awards in order of the following priorities:

  • Priority 1 — Storefront beautification projects enhancing the appearance of the business and downtown region. For example, new exterior paint, awnings, signage, or planters.
  • Priority 2 — Furniture for expanded outdoor capacity, such materials for construction of takeout windows, accessibility compliance for additional outdoor seating, and additional fixtures to enhance customer comfort.
  • Priority 3 — Enhanced services or commerce opportunities, such as modifying physical space, technology to support online sales or expanding capacity for delivering goods and services.

Payroll, incentive pay, rent and utilities are not eligible expenditures.

More information and access to the grant application can be found at Additional information and application support can be found by contacting Dillsboro Town Clerk Debbie Coffey at 828.586-1439.

Duke Energy’s Hometown Revitalization grants were awarded to the following 20 community organizations:

Organization                                                                                    County

  • Asheboro/Randolph Chamber                                                Randolph 
  • Carthage Century Committee Inc.                                          Moore 
  • Cool Spring Downtown District                                               Cumberland 
  • Davidson County Community College Foundation Inc.          Davidson 
  • Downtown Belmont Development Association Inc.                Gaston 
  • Downtown Dunn Development Corp.                                     Harnett 
  • Downtown Morehead City Inc.                                               Carteret 
  • Downtown Salisbury Inc.                                                        Rowan 
  • Downtown Winston-Salem Foundation Inc.                           Forsyth 
  • Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People Inc.         Durham 
  • Gateway Community Development Corp.                              Vance 
  • Heart of Brevard                                                                     Transylvania 
  • Historic Marion Foundation                                                     McDowell 
  • Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce                                    Wake 
  • Mount Olive Community Development Corp.                         Wayne 
  • Nantahala Health Foundation                                                 Jackson 
  • Partnership for a Sustainable Community                              Orange 
  • Siler City Development Organization                                      Chatham 
  • South Brunswick Business Development Committee             Brunswick 
  • Weaverville Business Association                                           Buncombe

“Local storefronts and businesses are the heartbeat of towns across our service territory,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “Last year’s inaugural Hometown Revitalization grants showed us the difference that strategic grants can make for towns throughout North Carolina. We’re honored to partner with local nonprofits and businesses to help build more vibrant communities.”

The Hometown Revitalization grant program was inspired by a successful collaboration between the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Duke Energy that provided nearly 100 grants to downtown Raleigh storefronts. Last year, Duke Energy broadened that impact to small towns and rural communities across the state with its inaugural Hometown Revitalization grants. The grants allowed downtown storefronts the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.

About Duke Energy Foundation

Duke Energy Foundation provides more than $30 million annually in philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation is funded by Duke Energy shareholders.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

About Nantahala Health Foundation

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, and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary to achieve better health and wellness outcomes for all.

By working to address the upstream, root causes of health inequities and by removing barriers to accessing quality healthcare, education and economic opportunities, NHF’s impact is broadly felt in its partnerships with regional change-makers. Since its establishment in 2019, Nantahala Health Foundation has awarded more than $3.1 million in support to some 145+ programs throughout the region.

Visit NHF’s website to join their Healthy Future Movement and follow them at Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with program offerings and regional impact reports.