Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust recently awarded more than $15 million in multi-year funding grants to support organizations that provide high-quality, evidence-based out-of-school-time (OST) programs, with an emphasis on supporting all young people, especially those most frequently underserved. The grants were made to 47 organizations and institutions across the region and will serve young people in every county throughout the 18 counties of Dogwood’s service area and the Qualla Boundary. To view a full list of grant recipients, visit Dogwood’s website.
Grants were awarded following a request for proposals (RFP) announced by Dogwood in May 2023. The RFP resulted from a study commissioned by Dogwood and conducted by the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP), which found that OST programs provide measurable benefits to youth and families. The RFP sought proposals to increase access to programming throughout Western North Carolina with priority given to supporting Black students, English language learners, students learning with disabilities and students experiencing elevated levels of poverty.
“The OST landscape analysis found that these programs have a great impact on young people, and it also helped identify challenges our regional partners face with delivering high-quality, stable and impactful opportunities that help youth to develop holistically with the psychological, social, academic and emotional competencies necessary for adulthood,” said Ereka Williams, Ph.D., vice president – education, Dogwood Health Trust. “I look forward to seeing the long-term impacts and transformational change in the OST programs as a result of these initiatives.”
The grants will focus on providing funding over a three to five-year timeframe and range from $50,000 to $500,000 depending on organizational capacity. Funding for the initiative is divided into four focus areas:
- Providing culturally competent programming.
- Replicating or expanding a successful model.
- Addressing the social and emotional needs of students and OST providers.
- Developing new and innovative programs.
In addition to implementing their own programs funded by Dogwood, grantees will participate in the WNC After 3PM Collaborative. This initiative allows participants to learn from each other, as well as to engage in learning from experts in the field about best practices, opportunities to collaborate, and ways to enhance program quality.
“These programs play a crucial role in their communities by providing safe, nurturing, educational and enriching opportunities for students,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “Investing in OST will help improve access to these programs, resulting in the healthy development of young people across the region.”
The WNC After 3PM Collaborative will have regular convenings throughout the duration of the project. Its inaugural meeting launched the initiative and took place on Thursday, January 25 at the Transylvania County Library in Brevard, NC.
About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina 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 www.dht.org.