The Nantahala Health Foundation has announced its initial grants awarded to local organizations in Jackson and surrounding counties and the Qualla Boundary.

As a newly formed, public nonprofit, NHF and its board of directors focused their 2019 efforts on strategic planning and information gathering before making decisions on where to allocate their grant funding.

After then vetting a large number of qualified funding proposals from organizations across the six-county region and Qualla Boundary, they’ve now awarded almost $1.5 million to local nonprofits and other organizations addressing the root causes of the community’s most pressing health concerns.

On Dec. 8, NHF awarded a total of $1.47 million across its established priority areas to organizations with projects that achieve outcomes in either access to healthcare, education, transportation, poverty or quality of housing.

Some of the area organizations receiving grant funds were:

• Vecinos Farmworker Health Program – For the purchase of medications, preventative supplies, health monitoring devices and vaccines to address patient health concerns and prevent more serious health problems.

• Cherokee Indian Hospital – To purchase a simulation mannequin to allow healthcare professionals and students to learn about, prepare for and respond to life threatening emergencies, utilizing best standards and evidenced-based regimens and equipment.

• HIGHTS – To support the Tiny Home Build Proposal, part of the Youth Continuum of Care Project.

• Southwestern Child Development – To support expanded eligibility for early childhood education services for children up to age 3.

• Southwestern Community College – To purchase equipment for the new optician program.

• REACH of Macon County – To purchase a disability equipped passenger van to address transportation barriers.

• HERE in Jackson County – To provide case management services to assist homeless households in securing emergency shelter and aid in obtaining and maintaining permanent, safe, affordable housing.

• Jackson County Department of Aging – To purchase thermal hot pads to improve the quality of food delivery to those served by Meals on Wheels.

• Mountain Projects – To provide home repair and rehabilitation for the elderly and disadvantaged people.