Dogwood Health Trust Awards More Than $3.7 Million in Immediate Opportunities and Needs (ION) Grants to 259 WNC Organizations

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Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust has awarded more than $3.7 million to a diverse range of 259 nonprofit and government agencies from every county and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina through its Immediate Opportunities and Needs (ION) grant program. Of the 492 applicants, 53% were awarded a grant, with the average award amount totaling $14,600. Of those funded, 34% of requests will advance equity or reduce disparities.

“Originally, we planned to begin funding in fall 2020, but the board was eager to begin investing in the community at the start of the year,” said Janice Brumit, chair of the Dogwood Health Trust board of directors. “The purpose of this round of funding was to meet immediate needs and build initial relationships throughout our region. We plan to use what we learned from this round of funding to inform the work we’re doing now to design our strategic initiatives. Meeting immediate needs is one thing, but what we really want to do is move the needle on key issues and make lasting change.”

An initial budget of $2.5 million was allocated to the ION grant program. “Our goal throughout the ION grantmaking process focused on awarding grants to a diverse representation and on inclusion in our 18 county and Qualla Boundary region,” said Jackie Simms, chair of the programs and grants committee. “We gave particular attention to smaller nonprofits headquartered in the counties and tribe served by Dogwood and to organizations led by people of color. Choosing recipients was a challenging and awe-inspiring task; so many organizations are doing such important work in our region.”

ION grants awarded will support affordable housing development, dependable cars for working families, a rescue mission day center expansion, cybersecurity improvements, roof repairs, and a portable X-ray device, to name a few. The Vecinos Farmworker Health Program, located in Jackson County, and serving Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, and Transylvania counties received an ION grant that will support a larger project to address and improve patient data security within their mobile clinics. “This is a game changer for us as a clinic,” said Marianne Martinez, executive director for Vecinos. Martinez plans to purchase laptops and technology to support secure connections while treating patients in their mobile clinics. “Patient data security should not be sacrificed, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status,” adds Martinez. “Providing a health care system that is both standardized and secure promotes equity of care and reduces barriers to health care while increasing patient safety.”

The Hendersonville Rescue Mission located just off Seventh Avenue in downtown Hendersonville received a grant to offset unforeseen costs associated with their Day Center expansion project. This expansion project will take the current Day Center space from 788 square feet to 2700 square feet, providing much needed space for personal hygiene and health needs, resources for job seekers, and a charging station for its clients. Once complete, the Day Center expects triple the number of client visits, dramatically impacting the disparities associated with people who face extreme poverty, including those who are homeless or have inadequate housing conditions, have limited access to sanitation facilities, or access to community resources. “We are so grateful to Dogwood Health Trust for walking alongside us to address this growing need in our community,” said Anthony McMinn, CEO for the Hendersonville Rescue Mission. “This additional funding will allow us to address unexpected costs and complete the Day Center expansion.”

ION grants awarded were in alignment with Dogwood’s work to improve health and wellness and address the social determinants of health in the region. To see a full list of award recipients or to learn more about Dogwood Health Trust’s grant opportunities, including the Leverage Fund, visit www.dht.org.

Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust became operational upon the sale of Mission Health’s assets to HCA Healthcare and is the recipient of the net proceeds of the sale. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.

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