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Our Strategic Priorities

Single white dogwood flower with green leaves poking out form behind,

Dogwood Health Trust wants to help create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all. (And when we say all, we mean all – no exceptions.)  To do this, we’ll focus a large portion of our work on four key strategic areas:

Strategic Area #1

Affordable and workforce housing is in extremely short supply in our region, so we are working to preserve and add to available housing stock. There are many area partners who bring strengths, expertise and assets to this work. In addition to providing some grant funding for this purpose, Dogwood will play the role of bridge funder, loan guarantor, or equity partner rather than simply writing a grant check. This helps increase our impact in the region while preserving grant funds for other strategic purposes.

Strategic Area #2

We are committed to investing deeply across all sectors of education:  early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary. With the significant impact COVID-19 has had on schools, we have centered our early work on helping them face the incredible new challenges they’re experiencing. For example, we provided funding for mobile internet hotspots in the spring, are providing funds for childcare centers across the region to access necessary PPE and cleaning supplies, and have provided funds for urgent needs of K-12 schools and area colleges and universities to reopen.

Strategic Area #3

COVID-19 hit WNC’s tourism economy especially hard and shone a stark light on what our region already knew – that we must diversify. Using the philanthropic tools of impact investing and Program Related Investments, Dogwood Health Trust can help our region’s economic developers attract and grow local businesses to create a more dynamic economy with jobs that support families in their pursuit of healthy and fulfilling lives. We can also help bolster the infrastructure for a growing economy through investments in broadband connectivity and workforce development.

Strategic Area #4

Naturally, most of our health and wellness work has focused on COVID-19, as we have worked to minimize spread, secure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the region, and respond to social needs exacerbated by the pandemic. We’ll continue to address COVID-19 until the virus is controlled, but at the same time we are exploring ways to improve health and wellness over the long term, such as by increasing access to care or improving methods of prevention.

Our Board believes that these four areas will have an impact on everyone’s lives from birth onward. They are intertwined and interdependent. And they are what make a fulfilled life possible.

DHT Infographic about life phases and growth in housing, employment, education, and health.
The elements in the illustration are not necessarily funding focus areas, but milestones that make for a fulfilled life.

Of course, not every need concerning health and well-being will fall in these four areas, so Dogwood Health Trust also will constantly keep an eye toward other opportunities that can deliver results for Western North Carolina communities.