Nutrition Services Expansion Grants Awarded

April 12, 2024

Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, Nantahala Health Foundation, and Dogwood Health Trust are pleased to announce a collaborative initiative to address the growing demand for senior nutrition services in the far western region of North Carolina.

Through their Food Security Assistance Fund, Dogwood Health Trust has supported HCHF and NHF’s senior meals expansion program with a grant to be managed over two years. The program’s goal is to expand meal services for homebound seniors facing food insecurity and mobility challenges by increasing the number of meals delivered, supplementing meals with fresh food (optimally by partnering with local suppliers), and increasing volunteer involvement.

To implement the program, HCHF and NHF have awarded grants to:

  • Clay County Senior Center
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Graham County Senior Center
  • Jackson County Department on Aging
  • State of Franklin Health Council

Based on outcomes over the next six months, these agencies and others may apply for the program’s second-round distribution later this year.

“It is a privilege to collaborate with HCHF and NHF to serve community partners who are
addressing this urgent need in Western North Carolina,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “At Dogwood, we believe that everyone deserves to have access to healthy and nutritious food regardless of their circumstance. Serving homebound seniors with healthy and local food is a part of our work toward ending food insecurity in our region.”

Accessibility to food resources, proper nutrition, and volunteers to distribute the meals are vital services for the local organizations serving seniors. Since the pandemic, organizations have been struggling to meet the increased demand and needs of seniors in the community. In addition, increased costs and inflation have created barriers to their ability to serve. Both foundation leaders are excited to work together to address this community need.

“Home-delivered meals not only provide reliable, nutritious meals for seniors in our community, they also alleviate financial strain for those living on fixed incomes during a time when food costs are soaring,” said Lori Bailey, Nantahala Health Foundation’s executive director. “Additionally, home-delivered meals enhance independence by supporting seniors to remain in their own homes, providing much-needed support to their caregivers, and encouraging social wellness by offering opportunities for interaction and connection that many seniors would not otherwise have. We are honored to partner with Dogwood Health Trust, Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, and these county senior agencies to support the expansion of this critical community service across our region.”

“Through our partnership with Dogwood Health Trust, Nantahala Health Foundation, and local meal delivery organizations, we’re poised to significantly impact the well-being of homebound seniors,” stated Charlotte Muir, Executive Director of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation. “The expansion of these programs is crucial, as proper nutrition plays a fundamental role in maintaining overall health. By supporting meal deliveries, we will ensure that our neighbors receive the nourishment and care they deserve while fostering community connection.”

About Nantahala Health Foundation

Nantahala Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with other nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary to improve health and wellness outcomes for all. By addressing the root causes of health inequities and by removing barriers to health, NHF’s impact is broadly felt in its partnerships with regional change-makers.

Since its establishment in 2019, Nantahala Health Foundation has employed its grantmaking programs to invest more than $3.46 million in support of some 179 programs, all of which have contributed a total regional mobilization of more than $15.6 million and improved thousands of lives. NHF’s operations, which were launched with a modest $15 million investment under the direction of a volunteer board of directors, require public support to continue to serve as one of Western North Carolina’s most influential health-related philanthropic entities.

Those who wish to learn more about their work within the region and how best to support it are invited to engage with us.

About Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation

The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation was established on February 1, 2019, as a 501(c)3 public charity to improve the health and well-being of Highlands, Cashiers and surrounding communities. Together with generous donors, the Foundation aims to make positive and lasting change by supporting projects and programs that improve health and well-being in the communities we serve. To date, the Health Foundation has awarded more than 115 grants totaling more than $9.7 million to our communities.  Visit to join us in Lifting Health and Well-Being, Together.

About Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellbeing. With a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity and health and wellness, Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit