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Dogwood Health Trust Announces Economic Opportunity Request For Proposals

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Grants to CDFIs and non-traditional lenders will support their ability to provide capital to under-served entrepreneurs.

Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust has announced a new request for proposals from non-profit, non-traditional small business lenders, such as Community Development Financial Institutions, revolving loan funds, Economic Development Corporations, and similar lenders that serve the 18 counties of Western North Carolina, including the Qualla Boundary. The application will be posted on March 28 and responses are due by 5:00 pm on May 16, 2022. Award notifications will be made by the end of July 2022 with funds being distributed in September 2022. Organizations that wish to learn more or apply are encouraged to attend one of two virtual information sessions: March 29 and April 20, both at 12:00 pm. To register, visit Dogwood’s Economic Opportunity webpage.

With this special program, Accelerating Capital to Under-fueled Entrepreneurs, Dogwood seeks to bolster capital and technical assistance deployment to entrepreneurs of color and rural entrepreneurs.“We know that small businesses are a main driver of jobs in our economy, and that access to capital and knowledge are key to creating and growing a successful small business,” said Sarah Thompson, VP of Impact-Economic Opportunity at Dogwood Health Trust. “Currently, there are too few avenues for entrepreneurs of color and those in rural communities to access that needed capital and knowledge. We are excited to work with organizations who understand the needs of their community’s entrepreneurs, and the importance of investing in them.”

To support “under-fueled entrepreneurs,” meaning entrepreneurs who are under-served or marginalized with traditional funding sources, Dogwood will award grants to non-traditional lenders, ranging from $150,000 to $750,000. These non-traditional lenders will, in turn, serve entrepreneurs of color and rural entrepreneurs in ways that are most impactful to start and expand their small businesses as well as create and retain quality jobs.

Priority will be given to proposals that promote:

  • The increase of non-traditional lending to under-fueled entrepreneurs.
  • The capacity building of non-traditional lenders to deploy capital and development services to under-fueled entrepreneurs in a lasting and enduring manner.
  • The readiness of under-fueled entrepreneurs in accessing capital.
  • The success of under-fueled entrepreneurs through training programs or access to capital.
  • The improvement and transformation of systems for how under-fueled entrepreneurs access capital and development services.
  • The catalyzation of additional federal, state, local, and private capital to serve under-fueled entrepreneurs.

“As Dogwood shared when launching its four Strategic Priorities, our 2022 Community Investment Strategy will include these types of targeted requests for proposal opportunities,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “This type of investment is a key strategy for Dogwood to coalesce partners for deeper impact — in this case an infusion of capital for projects that are typically difficult to fund but will accelerate entrepreneurism in our rural and communities of color.”

Organizations that wish to learn more or apply may visit Dogwood’s website. For questions, please contact Moriah Dean, Impact Associate for Economic Opportunity.

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 well-being 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 wellness, with a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity, and access to care and health resources. 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


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