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Economic Opportunity


Health & Wellness

Everyone deserves to be healthy regardless of status, resources or circumstances. Equity within health and wellness occurs when people can attain their full health potential. No one should be disadvantaged in this opportunity. The Health and Wellness strategic portfolio aims to support access to care and improving on current conditions, as well as upstream interventions and social determinants of health.

Health & Wellness Grant Activity 2023

The factors that influence health and wellbeing for individuals and families are nearly countless and weave throughout all of Dogwood’s Strategic Priority Areas. An ever-growing body of research, as well as stories from across our region, shows that trauma and toxic stress play a critical role in shaping health outcomes, particularly for marginalized populations and for children. Our region’s struggle with mental health and addiction is a key indicator of the levels of trauma and stress currently at play. If we can provide supports for parents and children that reduce trauma and stress, work compassionately to address those dealing with mental health challenges and substance use disorder, and create welcoming and interconnected communities for people of all ages, we can create a healthier Western North Carolina.  

Within our overarching Goals and Objectives (see below) our 2023 Health & Wellness focus areas and activities include:  

  • Prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and youth engagement with the child welfare system. Efforts within this goal will focus on increasing access to support services that eliminate exposure to violence, provide appropriate trauma-informed clinical care, and enhance both the stability and nourishing aspects of the family ecosystem in which children live and learn. 
  • Improve maternal & child health outcomes. Specifically, we are looking to enhance access to clinical care services and support services across the entire spectrum of pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and post-partum phases. 
  • Enhance services related to Behavioral Health / Substance Use Disorder. Our focus is to bolster recovery services associated with stable housing, meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities, and other recovery support services. In addition to the recovery focus, we have a particular interest in work that seeks to enhance access to clinical treatment services for SUD, as well as prevention oriented work targeting youth and adolescents. 
  • Support efforts to bolster the health-related workforce, in collaboration with Economic Opportunity team. We seek to build a comprehensive understanding of the health-related workforce challenges in WNC, particularly as they relate to primary care, oral healthcare, and behavioral health. In addition to assessing this landscape, we aim to bolster existing services and programs serving as allied health professions training centers. 

More details about 2023 grant opportunities will be coming soon. Please join our mailing list for updates or check this webpage. 

Health and Wellness Goals & Objectives

Partner Highlights

Mountain Community Health Partnership

El Centro


EBCI Public Health & Human Services

McDowell Local Food Advisory Council Foothills Food Hub


Images of healthcare workers and volunteers with "THRIVE" written over them.
Dentist working on patient

Mountain Community Health Partnership

A partnership between Dogwood and Mountain Community Health Partnership (MCHP) brings dental services to low-income, uninsured adults and children at the Bakersville Community Medical Clinic. State and national dental health reports indicated that over 50% of adults in MCHP’s service area have had a permanent tooth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease, approximately 25% of children have not had an oral health exam in over a year and 18% of children have experienced oral health problems. MCHP continues to keep dental health accessible as more residents experience job loss and health insurance in the wake of COVID-19.

El Centro

Located in Henderson County, El Centro is home to many programs, including the Latino Advocacy Coalition (LAC). For the past 14 years, LAC has provided support for the Latinx community throughout WNC, including English and Spanish classes, after-school tutoring, GED classes, family mutual support programs, civic education, free and low-cost counseling and cognitive, trauma and grief therapy and cooperative programs with state and local officials. This small-but-mighty organization was ready to take the next step toward stability and growth, and Dogwood’s capacity-building support will help LAC’s staff of three add a new administrative and fundraising professional. This new team member is creating a broad fundraising campaign for LAC and supporting the growth of new programs and partnerships. 


Helpmate works to eliminate abuse and fear by providing safety, shelter and support for victims and survivors of intimate partner domestic violence. Dogwood funds support the work of Helpmate’s case managers, who help victims address the impacts of domestic violence on housing, employment, transportation and childcare. Helpmate offers case management at each of its three service locations: the Buncombe County Family Justice Center, the Buncombe County Courthouse and its emergency shelter that serves the highest-need survivors who face lethal danger from ex-partners and who are homeless due to the abuse they have experienced. Helpmate also offers specialized child and family advocacy case management services, which help reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences among children exposed to domestic violence.

EBCI Public Health & Human Services

The Public Health and Human Services division of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) serves an important role in the community by providing enrolled members with information and communications regarding public health and safety. Having a modern, mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate website is important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dogwood provided funding to the EBCI to update its website to better serve its members and share critical messaging about COVID-safe behaviors and vaccine safety and availability.

McDowell Local Food Advisory Council Foothills Food Hub

The McDowell Local Food Advisory Council’s (LFAC) Foothills Food Hub addresses food insecurity, supports the local food economy and works to transform the food system and public health infrastructure of McDowell County. The Hub offers farmers services related to produce packing and storage and serves as an aggregation site for farmers who want to diversify their market opportunities. It also provides a central hub where donated food can be delivered in bulk and stored for pickup by partner agencies and food pantries of all sizes. As COVID-19 strained the resources of households throughout the county, Dogwood realized the need for additional food support for the community and has provided three grants in partnership with the Food Council to support the growth of the LFAC to connect local farmers with people in need. Dogwood’s Leverage Fund helped the LFAC secure an additional grant to build its dream Food Hub space. The Food Hub provides food, much of it local, to over 1,000 families every week.


Vecinos has historically served migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Their partnership with Dogwood enables them to extend services to a broader range of individuals and offer bilingual, culturally-appropriate healthcare to uninsured, low-income Latinx community members in seven WNC counties. They collaborate with community leaders to bring medical care and wrap-around services, such as healthy food, safe housing and legal services to the Latinx population. With Dogwood’s support, Vecinos expanded community health worker services to families in need during COVID-19 to integrate chronic disease management and start a community engagement program in WNC’s seven westernmost counties.

Health & Wellness | Goal 1

Support and Build Healthy Communities

Support communities that promote healthy living and resiliency and help mitigate the impact of trauma, isolation and stress on individuals and families, especially those experiencing poverty

Objective 1.1: Decrease adverse experiences (ACEs and traumatic violence) and improve individual and family resiliency

Objective 1.2: Increase access to community environments that promote healthy living and social connectedness across the age continuum

Health & Wellness | Goal 2

Increase Access to Whole-Person Health Care

Invest in integrated heath care with seamless connections to supportive services

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of people with affordable health insurance coverage

Objective 2.2: Increase the available workforce for primary and allied health care services

Objective 2.3: Increase access to comprehensive and integrated care

Objective 2.4: Increase access to community-based services in low-income, elderly and rural communities

Health & Wellness | Goal 3

Address Health Disparities

Help reduce disparities based on race, location, education and income factors

Objective 3.1: Improve health outcomes for women and infants in rural and low-income communities and communities of color

Objective 3.2: Reduce the prevalence of common chronic health diseases in disproportionately affected communities

Objective 3.3: Increase effectiveness of health care through delivery of culturally aligned services

Health & Wellness | Goal 4

Increase Access to Behavioral Health and Substance Use Prevention and Treatment

Support programs and networks that reduce deaths, treat addiction, and prevent first use

Objective 4.1: Reduce opioid overdose mortality throughout the region

Objective 4.2: Reduce untreated behavioral health and substance use disorder in disproportionately affected communities

Objective 4.3: Prevent and reduce behavioral health issues and substance use (tobacco, alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs) in youth