community equity

Commitment to Equity

At Dogwood, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and these values inform our purpose, our strategic priorities and our decisions. For us, equity exists when all people have unconstrained opportunities to live lives of dignity and wellbeing, regardless of place, race, health, wealth, age, identity or ability. As part of our commitment to equity, we seek to advance racial equity in all aspects of our organization, from our culture to our interactions with partners and our grantmaking decisions.

Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) have played key roles in the history of Western North Carolina. Systems and policies that have benefited many in our society have simultaneously prevented BIPOC individuals and communities from sharing in the opportunity and prosperity that our region can provide.

These circumstances have pervaded every part of WNC life for centuries, and we can start to address them in ways that create permanent, positive change as part of our broader commitment to equity.

Funding Opportunities

We embrace racial equity as a factor across all of our grantmaking and also designate funding specifically for communities of color in our efforts to help create more equitable systems. We support organizations that seek to build awareness of and find solutions that build a more racially just world through innovative ideas, compelling information, just practices and transformative work. Racial equity grants are made on a rolling basis, with approval times generally ranging from three to six months from application to award. The process begins with a conversation; start by clicking the button below.

how to apply

Want to discuss your ideas? Engage With Us to start the process.

partner stories


meet the
equity team

Rebecca Brothers

Vice President – Community Equity
[email protected]

Angela Anderson

Officer – Sustainable Organizations
[email protected]

Jessika Bond

Associate – Sustainable Organizations
[email protected]

Leah Jones-Marcus

Associate – Equity
[email protected]

partner outcomes

partner stories

Asheville Buncombe Community Land Trust

In 2014, the City of Asheville commissioned a report to study the effects of gentrification in the East Riverside area. The report revealed rapid gentrification and displacement in the city, ripple effects of historic discriminatory policies such as redlining and urban renewal.

partner stories

Center For Native Health

The Center for Native Health was established in 2009 to address significant health, social, and economic disparities experienced by Indigenous communities in WNC by integrating traditional, community-based knowledge into all facets of Indigenous health and education.

partner stories

Centro Unido Latino Americano

Serving the rural community of McDowell County and surrounding areas since 2009, Centro Unido Latino Americano offers more than a dozen programs designed to create secure spaces, establish cross-cultural partnerships, and promote social justice, health equity, and inclusive education opportunities for the Latino community and beyond.

partner stories

Eagle Market Streets

By providing access to capital, technical assistance and the support of a cohort, the Community Equity Fund is expected to serve up to 30 businesses and support approximately 150 jobs to help BIPOC business owners and workers begin to build assets and create wealth.

partner stories

Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians

Dogwood is working with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (ECBI) to provide gap funding for programs to meet unexpected demand, enable capacity building and add an additional housing counselor to support low to moderate-income households within the tribe as well as surrounding counties.

partner stories

El Centro (LAC) Of Henderson County

El Centro of Henderson County, also known as the Latino Advocacy Coalition (LAC), is a Latinx-operated community center that alleviates challenges and creates a more inclusive community for Latinx residents by providing free and low-cost services, amplifying grassroots leaders, and bringing people together to access community resources. Established in 2001, El Centro (LAC) meets the needs of the Latinx community through three departments: Advocacy, Education and Mental Health.
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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

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 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 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

Economic Opportunity | Goal 4

Foster Entrepreneurship

Support a well-funded, sustainable, competitive entrepreneur and small business ecosystem throughout the region

Objective 4.1: Increase the number of Person of Color (POC)-led small businesses throughout the region

Objective 4.2: Increase the number of rural small businesses throughout the region

Economic Opportunity | Goal 3

Build Economic Ecosystems

Help build a regional economic ecosystem that supports increased creation/retention of jobs and business ownership

Objective 3.1: Improve access to higher-paying jobs throughout the region, targeting the lowest income populations

Objective 3.2: Increase and retain quality jobs

Objective 3.3: Stimulate economic growth, catalyzing businesses and revenue

Economic Opportunity | Goal 2

Promote Work Readiness

Help build a skilled workforce with the knowledge and technical abilities to excel in a wide range of industry employment opportunities that provide a competitive, sustainable wage

Objective 2.1: Close the educational attainment gap in WNC, staying on pace with regional and county-specific projections (myFutureNC 2030).

Economic Opportunity | Goal 1

Develop a Comprehensive Data Resource

Source, analyze and share a comprehensive, county-by-county data set that paints a full picture of work readiness, economic development and entrepreneurial needs and opportunities specific to Western North Carolina

Education | Goal 3

Support Higher Education Career Readiness

Work in tandem with Economic Opportunity Strategic Priority to invest in career readiness at the community college and university levels

Objective 4.1: Close the educational attainment gap in WNC, staying on pace with regional and county-specific projections (myFutureNC 2030).

Education | Goal 2

Improve K-12 Education

Support K-12 learning experiences with the resources and sustainability to provide an excellent academic and social-emotional education, so that all students graduate ready for college or career

Objective 2.1: Address teacher workforce challenges

Objective 2.2: Equip families of students to support academic growth and social-emotional health

Objective 2.3: Increase capacity of partners to provide supports and services, particularly for children facing challenges related to poverty, systemic racism, being differently abled or English language learners

Education | Goal 1

Improve Early Childhood Education Ecosystem

Invest in an improved early childhood education ecosystem with the resources and sustainability to provide developmentally appropriate, affordable and accessible education and care to support ages birth to five, so that all children in WNC enter kindergarten ready to learn

Objective: Address early childhood educator workforce challenges

Education | Goal 4

Develop a Comprehensive Landscape Study

Source, analyze and share a comprehensive set of publicly available data that provides a regularly updated, county-by-county picture of access, workforce and student outcomes in early childhood education and K-12 education specific to Western North Carolina

Housing | Goal 5

Use Impact Investments to Create Affordable and Workforce Housing

Loans, guarantees, and other financial tools to leverage funding opportunities

Housing | Goal 4

Create and Preserve Housing Units for Persons Below 50% of the Median Income

Increase affordable housing for lowest-income individuals and families

Objective 4.1: Create rental units for households below 50% of the median income

Objective 4.2: Help families pay no more than 30% of their income on housing

Objective 4.3: Create and preserve communities in a way that is representative of the WNC natural landscape

Housing | Goal 3

Create and Preserve Senior Housing

Support age-appropriate resources in affordable and workforce units, rental and owned

Objective 3.1: Create needed rental and homeownership opportunities for seniors

Objective 3.2: Incorporate supportive services in rental housing developments

Objective 3.3: Increase use of universal design in development

Housing | Goal 2

Create and Preserve Supportive Housing Rental Units

Invest in housing with sustainable supports for physical and mental health and wellbeing

Objective 2.1: Create new supportive housing

Objective 2.2: Preserve existing supportive housing

Objective 2.3: Leverage state and federal funds

Single story home in the midst of being build with 3 volunteers helping.

Housing | Goal 1

Support Healthy and Safe Revitalization Opportunities

Support healthy and safe revitalizations that work against displacement and gentrification, preserve home ownership and create generational wealth.

Objective 1.1: Revitalize Neighborhoods

Objective 1.2: Repurpose existing structures to minimize environmental impact

Objective 1.3: Support home ownership