Nantahala Health Foundation’s Board of Directors approved total community investment grants of $172,000 to local nonprofit organizations working to improve health and wellness outcomes for the region’s most underserved men, women and children.
The grant investments were made through Nantahala Health Foundation’s Collaborative Health Innovation Project (CHIP) and Needs Immediately Met (NIMble) programs. Criteria to receive aCHIP award depended heavily on local organizations joining forceswith at least one collaborating partner. NIMble grants, on the other hand, were made to ensure urgent needs would not jeopardize the organization’s ability to serve their clients. With both grant programs, Nantahala Health Foundation seeks to identify unique approaches to eliminating root-cause barriers to health and wellness.
Organizations awarded Nantahala Health Foundation grant funding will launch or continue providing proven programs to improve the health of individuals living within the Foundation’s service area, which includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Swain, Jackson, and Macon counties, as well as the Qualla Boundary. Last year’s Foundational grant investments will support the following projects:
“At its core, Nantahala Health Foundation’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration for nonprofit organizations working to make life better for underserved members of our community. This mission alone frames the eligibility criteria for our CHIP and NIMble grant investments,” Nantahala Health Foundation Executive Director Lori Bailey said. “Through each of the awarded projects, we continue to be excited to invest in the most collaborative and innovative work addressing social health drivers in our region.”
Social drivers of health, coupled with lifestyle choices often based on their availability and ease of access, directly impact more than 80percent of an individual’s health outcomes, leaving only about 20percent resulting from clinical care. Therefore, to have the greatestpossible impact on health for the people of this region, Nantahala Health Foundation’s board of directors has chosen to invest in work that most improves where and how our residents live, learn, work, and ultimately thrive, according to NHF board chair David Garrett.
“At this point the research is undeniable: Social drivers of health andactively taking advantage of beneficial lifestyle choices when they are available and accessible far exceed cumulative physician visits when it comes to predicting an individual’s day-to-day and long-termhealth outcomes,” said Garrett. “Our Foundation is committed to achieving our mission of improved health for all by prioritizinginvestments in organizations working in this arena.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 report, social drivers of health for individuals can be grouped into five categories:
All too often, these health drivers contribute to disparities and inequities within some communities. For example, people who do nothave access to grocery stores with healthy foods are less likely to have good nutrition. This lack of access raises their risk of life-threatening health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity — and even lowers their life expectancy relative to people who do have access to healthy foods, according to Healthy People 2030.
“Unfortunately, simply promoting the benefits of making healthy choices does not eliminate these and other health disparities when beneficial choices are not available or accessible,” Garrett said.“Instead, philanthropic groups like Nantahala Health Foundationmust work in collaboration with public health organizations and ournonprofit partners in sectors like education, individual and family support services, transportation, and housing to take action to improve the conditions in people’s environments.”