Grant Cycle to Benefit Youth, Young Adults

Online reservations for information sessions closes at 3 p.m. July 3. After that, please call to reserve a seat.

June 17, 2024

FRANKLIN NC — Nantahala Health Foundation will launch its next competitive grant opportunity on July 1 with a focus on investing in educational, healthcare, and workforce programs that benefit youth and young adults, ages 5 – 24.

“At-risk children and young adults are our priority because we believe every young life represents a chance for us to be better, do better, and build for the future,” said NHF Board Chair Lisa Leatherman. “With this grant cycle, we want to ensure all young people living in Western North Carolina have access to everything they need to live healthy, thriving lives.”

Among the things some children and young adults need to thrive, Leatherman said, are a sense of belonging and community, healthy relationships that surround and support them, access to quality healthcare and schools, and, as they move into adulthood, job opportunities that ensure they can provide for themselves and their families later in life.

Since 2019 the foundation has been working to improve health and well-being for everyone, said Executive Director Lori Bailey. This year’s focus on children and young adults marks a modest shift in the foundation’s priorities to create measurable change for good.

“Our success has always been measured by the number of lives we touch, their health improvements, and their ability to be more productive citizens,” she said. “Moving forward, we will continue our effort by focusing on the next generation’s health and by working with and strengthening community organizations dedicated to supporting our region’s most underserved, especially those facing limited opportunities or the inability to speak for themselves.”

According to Bailey, the foundation’s grantmaking work has invested nearly $3.5 million into regional programs over the last five years and mobilized more than $15 million for enhanced health outcomes. This latest grant cycle, which opens online on July 1, is anticipated to invest up to $300,000 in additional grant dollars into the region. Award announcements are expected in December.

“Organizations seeking grant funds this year will be encouraged to think big and can ask for up to $100,000 in support of their ideas,” said Bailey. “We intend to make a significant investment in solutions that have a proven track record or new ideas that are radical in scale, scope, and complexity.”

The foundation’s leadership says they hope the potential for larger awards will provide a single project with the funding it needs to meet its goals and possibly surface critically important efforts that other donors may wish to support.

“Our schools, courts, healthcare providers, and social service teams do an exceptional job responding to a crisis as it unfolds,” said Leatherman. “But what would happen if we could find a way to collaborate with our regional nonprofits to ensure all our children walk the right path toward adulthood? That would certainly be worth the investment.”

Applicant Information Sessions

Though not required to apply, agency representatives are invited to attend an in-person presentation to learn more about our funding priority and application details, including how and when to apply, what criteria will be reviewed, and what outcomes the foundation expects. Sessions are planned for early July in Franklin and Murphy. Registration is requested so that adequate space can be reserved for each session. Visit or call 828.634.1527 to register.

How to Get Involved

NHF is asking for public support to amplify its efforts. Fundraising for this effort has begun, with a year-end goal of $50,000 coming from individuals and business leaders who share the foundation’s values and want to be a part of improving the lives of our youngest citizens.

“Never before has a nonprofit with our resources and insight been deployed in this way for at-risk kids and young adults in Western North Carolina,” Leatherman said. “With your support, our chance of achieving generational change increases exponentially. Contributions will help us build new and improved systems where kids’ hopes for the future become a reality.”

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, the foundation’s impact is broadly felt in its partnerships with regional change-makers.

All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Financial information about NHF and a copy of their license are available from the N.C. State Solicitation Licensing Section at (919) 807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the state.

Since 2019, Nantahala Health Foundation has employed its grantmaking programs to invest more than $3.46 million in support of nearly 180 programs, all of which have contributed to a total regional mobilization of more than $15.6 million and improved thousands of lives.