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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Newly formed Western N.C. foundations grant millions to local programs

Local Government

By Andrew Giermak | Jan 26, 2020

Transylvania Regional Hospital | Photo courtesy of Mission Health

A handful of Western North Carolina foundations formed less than a year ago recently granted approximately $13 million to 200 programs focused on local health issues such as access to care, education, transportation, housing and food.

AMY Wellness Foundation, Gateway Wellness Foundation, Highlands-Cashiers Health Foundation, Nantahala Health Foundation, Pisgah Health Foundation and WNC Bridge Foundation awarded the grants. The foundations work with Dogwood Health Trust, founded in February 2019 when HCA Healthcare acquired Mission Health – with hospitals and facilities in Asheville and the surrounding region. 

Part of the $1.5 billion transaction established Dogwood. The trust is meant to serve 18 counties with grants, outreach and resource development.

The Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry’s Medical Ministry received a grant of $500,000 through WNC Bridge. 

Before the new grant, the ministry – made up of nearly 300 churches and more than 6,000 volunteers – was experiencing a dire need for donations and cutting services, while seeing a 30-percent increase in uninsured people asking for help, according to Executive Director Rev. Scott Rogers. 

The program helps about 4,000 people in Buncombe County with emergency needs, independent living skills, veteran services and more, according to the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry website

The ministry is restoring its staffing and service levels with the funding, said Rogers. 

Southwestern Community College, in Sylva, received grants from WNC Bridge, Highlands-Cashiers Health and Nantahala Health. 

“Nearly 90 percent of our graduates remain in Western North Carolina, providing the region with well-trained health care professionals while stimulating the local economy through higher salaries,” said Don Tomas, the college’s president.

More programs receiving funding include community clinics serving people at or below the poverty level, migrant workers and the elderly, dental clinics, a program focused on serving children who are victims of abuse or neglect, community food programs, local transportation and home repair.

Dogwood is beginning a five-year, $25 million grant project for fighting substance abuse and disorders in the region this year.

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