Dogwood Health Trust was born from a long legacy of caring – one that combines the resilience and “can-do” spirit of Western North Carolina with the sincere desire to help out one’s neighbors. Our story began with seeds planted in 1885, when the women of the Flower Mission, an auxiliary of the North Carolina branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, created the first Mission Hospital. In an era where quality medical care was reserved for those with an ability to pay for it directly, Anna Woodfin, Fanny Patton, Rose Chapman and Lily Carmichael, recognized as the Flower Mission’s most prominent figures, established a place of healing for anyone who was sick or in need of a home. Their effort became known as “The Little Flower Mission,” and it transformed healthcare in Western North Carolina. Mission Hospital’s first facility, a five-room cottage, opened in Asheville in October 1885 with funding that these four women raised by selling flowers in downtown Asheville.
Over the next century, Mission Hospital expanded, relocated and consolidated with several other hospitals to become the Mission Health System, a comprehensive, high-quality health system that included one flagship hospital and five regional hospitals serving the 18 counties of Western North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary. The caring spirit of the Little Flower Mission remained at the forefront throughout Mission Health System’s growth, even as market forces drove a widening wedge between the cost of providing healthcare and the available sources of payment in a region with more health challenges than most.
In 2018, Mission Health System was sold, creating Dogwood Health Trust as a new, independent entity to carry on the commitment and compassion of the Little Flower Mission. Today, Dogwood’s team carries that spirit into its work to address the upstream factors that influence the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities: housing, education, economic opportunity and health & wellness.
Support programs and networks that reduce deaths, treat addiction, and prevent first use
Help reduce disparities based on race, location, education and income factors
Invest in integrated heath care with seamless connections to supportive services
Support communities that promote healthy living and resiliency and help mitigate the impact of trauma, isolation and stress on individuals and families, especially those experiencing poverty
Support a well-funded, sustainable, competitive entrepreneur and small business ecosystem throughout the region
Help build a regional economic ecosystem that supports increased creation/retention of jobs and business ownership
Help build a skilled workforce with the knowledge and technical abilities to excel in a wide range of industry employment opportunities that provide a competitive, sustainable wage
Source, analyze and share a comprehensive, county-by-county data set that paints a full picture of work readiness, economic development and entrepreneurial needs and opportunities specific to Western North Carolina
Work in tandem with Economic Opportunity Strategic Priority to invest in career readiness at the community college and university levels
Support K-12 learning experiences with the resources and sustainability to provide an excellent academic and social-emotional education, so that all students graduate ready for college or career
Invest in an improved early childhood education ecosystem with the resources and sustainability to provide developmentally appropriate, affordable and accessible education and care to support ages birth to five, so that all children in WNC enter kindergarten ready to learn
Source, analyze and share a comprehensive set of publicly available data that provides a regularly updated, county-by-county picture of access, workforce and student outcomes in early childhood education and K-12 education specific to Western North Carolina
Loans, guarantees, and other financial tools to leverage funding opportunities
Increase affordable housing for lowest-income individuals and families
Support age-appropriate resources in affordable and workforce units, rental and owned
Invest in housing with sustainable supports for physical and mental health and wellbeing
Support healthy and safe revitalizations that work against displacement and gentrification, preserve home ownership and create generational wealth.