Thank you for your interest in our virtual community meetings where we shared updates on regional investments, provided an overview of the progress made toward developing goals in each of our four Strategic Priority areas and heard community input.
Dogwood accepts pre-applications for funding on a rolling basis. This pre-application, which you can begin here (or download the Word version here), offers a place to share ideas and plans and initiate the process of working with the Dogwood Health Trust Impact Team. Once this pre-application is received through our online portal, an Impact Team member will follow-up within a few days.
We supply both single- and multi-year grants, depending on the scope of the work.
We anticipate doing more requests for proposals in 2022 that can help us gather partners around certain goals for deeper or broader impact. As always, our goal will be to keep the RFP process as smooth and easy as possible. However, we also know that there will be opportunities beyond our RFP process that will complement and support our goals, so we will keep the rolling grants application process open.
As a private foundation, we are limited in some aspects of our funding and have shared these limitations on our Funding page. Some of these limitations include not making direct payments to individuals, for-profit companies, and/or work outside of our 18-county service area.
Absolutely! We recognize that many organizations operate programs that address one or more of our four strategic priorities and can help create solutions across all these areas and more.
Dogwood is proud to have made grants of all sizes while also encouraging some of our smaller partners to dream bigger and think about ways to grow their reach and impact. Sometimes we can be the spark that gets a new idea or initiative going. On the other hand, we are limited by the IRS as to how much of any single organization’s budget we can contribute. With all this in mind, we often encourage smaller organizations to explore opportunities for partnership with other nonprofits or government agencies to help elevate their work for broader or deeper impact. We always welcome this conversation and can help organizations looking for these connections.
Dogwood does intend to support capacity building that will help improve our nonprofit sector’s ability to tackle specific issues, and we are currently defining our approach for this. We have a belief that we cannot achieve our goals if our partners in the region are not strong, so supporting the organizational infrastructure of our partners is important. We want to make capacity building funding as flexible as possible to meet the different needs of different communities. Things we might fund could include data and research, facilitation and convening, community meetings, and/or leadership development. We will have more to share about that as we finalize our goals and move into in 2022, and we will be utilizing partners to do a lot of that work as well.
Yes! Collaboration and community ownership are absolutely necessary if our region is going to dramatically improve health and wellness. Therefore, we would be very interested in learning more about community-driven collaboratives that are aligned with our strategic priorities.
We are always open to ideas and having a conversation. That is how we learn and how we make new connections. For new organizations, we would want to know about the need the organization seeks to address, whether similar organizations already exist, and where there may be opportunities to leverage – rather than duplicate – existing efforts. Support for a new organization might come from direct assistance from Dogwood, also may be offered through a capacity building organization that is a Dogwood partner.
In our budgeting process, we look at the opportunities rather than having predetermined amounts to deploy for each of the areas. We also know that our priority areas are tightly intertwined, so rather than focus solely on dividing grant dollars between each area or another, we also look for cross-sector solutions that will dramatically improve the health and wellbeing of all Western North Carolinians.
To start, we use data such as the Community Health Assessments that are available for every community. We also are commissioning our own data collection and studies to inform our work. But the primary way we learn about the needs and opportunities within communities is through our conversations with our partners on the ground, and through the community members who serve alongside our board members on our Programs & Grants Committee. We look for opportunities to invest in organizations that have a reach into multiple counties and can activate other partners on the ground. We also look at some of those smaller, but deeply knowledgeable and innovative partners who are driving true change in their communities and becoming beacons for others.
Dogwood recognizes that moving the needle in the areas of Housing, Education, Economic Opportunity and Health & Wellness will mean intentionally including those who are often left out of the conversations to work together toward equitable outcomes. We do this by working to identify community partners who are deeply engaged with those impacted by the needs they seek to address. As a private foundation, Dogwood does not have a public grant approval process, but we do include community members who serve alongside our board on our Programs & Grants Committee.
Requesting support from the Leverage Fund only requires a conversation to discuss the funding you’re seeking and the best grant writer match for you. Dogwood’s support typically includes the fees of the professional grant writer and other costs that may be associated with creating a competitive grant application; however, we remain open to listening to the specific needs of our partners and how we may be able to help. Please send us an email at [email protected] to get started. You can also learn more about the Leverage Fund here.
Per IRS regulations, new private foundations like Dogwood Health Trust have five years to ramp up to the 5% payout requirement. However, we are making every effort to accelerate that timeline. By the end of this year, we will have invested more $65 million in our communities, and we expect to exceed that next year. Right now, we are estimating somewhere around $75 million in grants for 2022, but we won’t have a final number until our board meets and approves our 2022 grantmaking budget later this year.
Dogwood has, and will continue to, work with the Legacy Foundations as funding partners, sharing support for projects in the region. For example, over the past year we’ve worked with Gateway Wellness Foundation in the east region on the creation of two different affordable housing projects. And we’ve worked with Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation in the west region to support a new primary care health clinic. In this way, we and the Legacy Foundations are able to leverage one another’s work to increase overall impact.
Dogwood has many partners and local community foundations are certainly among them. On more than one occasion, Dogwood partnered with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to quickly get emergency funds into the region for COVID-19 support, equitable vaccine distribution and natural disaster response. Dogwood also has partnered with local United Way organizations and other foundations to help meet local immediate needs.
We are in the process of establishing the metrics for each of our Strategic Priority goals, so that we will know whether we are “moving the needle.” Some of those metrics exist for our region, and some may not. We will be engaging data experts to help us think through this piece, and where there are gaps or where the data doesn’t exist, we are likely to commission regional studies, which we will share with the region. Ultimately, our goal is to be completely transparent with regard to our grantmaking goals and metrics for success, and we will absolutely share these once they are identified.
While the people of WNC have long realized the limits we face in broadband access, the pandemic highlighted the need to enhance connectivity, and we see how this is essential to make progress in all of Dogwood’s strategic priority areas. IRS regulations limit the ways in which we can support broadband expansion, but we are very interested in partnering on projects related to improving broadband access to support education and healthcare, bridging rural divides and addressing racial equity issues specifically. Please reach out to our team at [email protected] – we’d love to hear ideas for potential projects!
Dogwood has a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across every one of the four strategic priority areas. And we’ve granted more than $5 million since last fall for specific racial equity projects. Some of those have included data collection to inform reparations work, and we have proposals currently in our system that would do even more.
When we say “create a WNC where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive – no exceptions,” we mean just that: no exceptions. That includes finding ways to address the needs of persons with disabilities in housing, education, economic opportunity and health & wellness – and in places where those strategic priorities might intersect. Over the past year, we have invested in housing and health and wellness projects specifically targeted at populations with physical and mental disabilities.