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Dogwood looks forward to focusing on the following priorities in 2024. The majority of our grant investments will be made through our Strategic Priority Grant Opportunity in the first half of the year. The Strategic Priority Grant applications will open on November 13, 2023.



Maintain momentum and investments in opportunities that prioritize leverage, partnership and collaboration for:

  • Community revitalization.
  • Supportive housing.
  • Senior housing.
  • Deeply affordable housing.
  • Workforce housing (through impact investments).
  • Housing needs assessments, by continuing to fund counties/municipalities.

Invest in learning opportunities to:

  • Better understand how to effectively and respectfully invest in affordable housing in rural areas.
  • Explore strategies to create, with other partners, large-scale pools of financial resources for affordable housing.
  • Gain further clarity on equity in housing, how to remove barriers and how to focus more on people rather than “units.”



Early Childhood

  • Continue to support two ECE Workforce cohorts.
  • Make exploratory/learning investments into family-centered early childhood education in homes and community spaces.


  • Continue to support the existing WNC After 3pm cohort.
  • Deepen out-of-school time investments in rural counties.
  • Invest in programs that focus on adolescents (grades 6-12) and linguistically, ethnically and economically diverse student populations.


  • Explore innovative efforts and promising practices that produce gains in retaining first-generation and underserved learners.


Economic Opportunity

Workforce Development

  • Continue to support existing collaborations.
  • Expand support to collaborative partnerships aimed at reducing barriers to credential attainment, including (but not limited to) Success Coach programs at community colleges.


  • Continue support for the “Access to Capital” cohorts.
  • Increase focus on organizations that provide critical support to small businesses to help them become loan- and investment-ready.

Economic Ecosystems

  • Continue to support economic ecosystem partners.
  • Expand support to initiatives aimed at creating thriving local economic ecosystems that benefit all Western North Carolina residents, especially in rural communities.

Broadband (second half of 2024)

  • In partnership with all of Dogwood’s strategic priority teams, develop and launch an investment initiative focused on equitable access and adoption of broadband – ensuring that all residents of Western North Carolina have a broadband connection, have devices on which to access it, know how to use it, can afford it and understand its relevance to their daily lives.


Health & Wellness

Substance Use Disorder

  • In partnership with Dogwood’s Education team, identify opportunities for collaborations with both school systems and out-of-school time providers to create an ecosystem of support and substance use prevention.
  • Continue to support counties and municipalities in their planning and preparation for the receipt of opioid settlement dollars.
  • In collaboration with all Dogwood strategic priority teams, invest in long-term supports for recovery, such as recovery-friendly workplaces, housing, workforce training, etc.

Accessible Health Ecosystems

  • Invest in learning and mapping the existing landscape of health services and systems in Western North Carolina, identifying gaps and developing multi-year strategies to bridge those gaps.
  • Expand support to safety net providers and organizations serving in the child welfare space (e.g., FQHCs/FQHC look-alikes, public health departments, departments of social services and child advocacy centers).

Equity in the Essentials

  • Build on the support of food banks and pantries to engage with new partners and build more sustainable food systems throughout the region, from farm production to distribution.
  • Pursue additional partnerships with organizations that provide direct assistance to families and individuals for essential needs (such as transportation, diapers, household items and clothing).

Health Workforce

  • In cooperation with Dogwood’s Education and Economic Opportunity teams, explore investments to ensure Western North Carolina has an adequate, available and appreciated healthcare workforce – from physicians and nurses to critical clinical staff such as med techs, CNAs, laboratory staff and others.

Investments in Community Equity, Sustainable Organizations/Leverage Fund and Public Policy/Advocacy will be available on a continual basis throughout the year.

During the second half of the year, we will be launching a new Broadband initiative (see above), as well as offering some flexible funding for collaboration, planning and exploration and capacity building for promising ideas or partners. We’ll have more information about these opportunities in the spring of 2024.

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