Nantahala Health Foundation, a public nonprofit with a mission to improve health and wellness outcomes in the six westernmost counties of North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary, has announced its two signature grant programs will both open on April 4 for proposal submissions.
This year marks the third request for proposals NHF has announced for its Needs Immediately Met (NIMble) and Collaborative Health Innovation Program (CHIP) grant cycles. It also marks the first significant revisions in how both will operate, according to Nantahala Health Foundation Executive Director Lori Bailey.
“We are extremely pleased by the impact these two initiatives have had on regional health and wellness outcomes since we launched them in 2020,” Bailey said. “Likewise, we are thrilled to offer both funding opportunities again this year with operational modifications we believe will make them even more impactful.”
This year NIMble grants of up to $5,000 per organization will be offered on a rolling-decision basis, meaning NHF will accept applications and make awards to projects that met NIMble requirements until funding allocated to this program is exhausted. While this year’s total NIMble investment remains somewhat flexible, it will likely be around $125,000, Bailey said.
NIMble grants are designed to support one-time critical purchases, immediate needs for stabilization or crisis response, or small-scale projects that address health and well-being for those facing disparities or inequities. Grantees should have high confidence in their ability to complete their projects within 12 months.
“If an organization is considering a large-scale project and has the ability to wait until November for funding, they may want to consider applying for our Collaborative Health Innovation Program (CHIP), which is also open for review,” Bailey said.
While the major difference between NIMble and CHIP has always been the dollar amount available per organization (CHIP’s cap is $50,000), this year’s CHIP hopefuls will be asked to complete pre-qualifying questions, host a site visit, and clearly demonstrate how they and their collaborators will implement a problem-solving project to improve health and wellness outcomes for underserved individuals living in the Nantahala Health Foundation region, she said.
“Because our CHIP grant program represents the largest potential for investments and since COVID restrictions are being relaxed, it was important to us to further ensure our limited grant funds are making the biggest impact possible,” Bailey said. “This new series of eligibility steps will help us learn more about the needs facing our region and the organizations working to address these needs. When we make our final award decisions in October, we should have complete clarity about how our grantees’ problem-solving projects will improve health and well-being outcomes for individuals facing disparities or inequities in our region.”
Additionally, the NHF executive director said CHIP grantees and their collaborators will have up to two years to complete their projects and achieve their goals.
Eligibility for funding from these two programs will remain the same as in years past, with an emphasis placed on Nantahala Health Foundation’s approach to improving the health and well-being for all in WNC. Organizational eligibility includes those with nonprofit status, including faith-based organizations, and units of government, including public school systems and the Eastern Band of Cherokee. Supporting local organizations that address the social drivers of health will remain a Foundation constant, Bailey said.
“When you stop to consider that only about 20 percent of your health is directly attributed to your clinical visits and physician care, you realize that the remaining 80 percent has a much larger impact,” Bailey said. “It’s the social drivers of health – like where you live, the quality of the education you receive, and the income you earn –combined with lifestyle choices, that truly determine how healthy, or unhealthy, you will be over your lifetime.
“That’s why our Foundation’s mission from the very start has been to collaborate and support local agencies doing the work to help individuals who are facing barriers to health from within the 80 percent range of long-term health predictors,” she continued. “We believe our best chance at removing these barriers for everyone will come from our investments in innovate programming, by building capacity within local agencies and by ensuring our resources, including public donations we receive in support of this work, are used in the most effective manner.”
ABOUT NANTAHALA HEALTH FOUNDATION
Soon after their establishment in early 2019, Nantahala Health Foundation’s Board of Directors focused on strategic planning and regional information gathering designed to achieve their mission of better health and well-being outcomes for all in their service area of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary. After hosting an extensive series of listening sessions designed to identify issues challenging Western North Carolina, they defined their priorities and set about developing programs, including a grant-making initiative, to support their mission.
Working as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration, Nantahala Health Foundation seeks to partner with nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies to achieve better health and wellness outcomes for all. By working to address the upstream, root causes of health inequities and by removing barriers to positive social determinants of health and lifestyle choices, NHF’s success is seen best in partnerships with regional change-makers. Since its launch, NHF has awarded nearly $3.13 million in support of some 148 programs throughout the region. Visit NHF’s website at NantahalaHealthFoundation.org to learn more and to discover how you can join their Healthy Future Movement.