Challenge yourself to create an ideal community. Did you envision one that is free of crime? A community with many, safe parks for your children to play in? A community that has unlimited resources to help you or your neighbor succeed and face life’s challenges with support from neighbors? Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation (HCHF) asked these questions when reviewing hundreds of grants during its two grant cycles in 2019.
When HCHF’s Board of Directors came together in February as a newly classified nonprofit with a new mission to “Improve the health and wellbeing of those in the Highlands, Cashiers, and surround communities” they knew it was a big, audacious goal. And they were ready to tackle it!
The Foundation turned their eye to organizations and programming that not only gives a man a fish but teaches him to fish as well. One such organization that received funding with this concept in mind is Circles Cashiers-Glenville.
“We are striving to make our community a healthy one, and we know that poverty is the ultimate determinate of health,” said Circles Chair, Irv Welling. “Poverty decreases access to health care, education and career opportunities. The funding from the Foundation will allow Circles-Cashiers/Glenville to hire a Program Director to implement our model that focuses both on what individuals can do to change their lives and on what our community can do together to remove the barriers that stand in their way!”
As Welling states, combatting poverty is more than supplying food, but it is also helping those who need supplies rise above the constraints that may hold them back.
Paige Christie, Executive Director of The Community Table has a passion for not only feeding people in our community, it’s her mission to make sure the people who come for food at The Community Table feel valued, safe, and part of a community that cares.
“The grant we received from HCHF will complete a full-circle model that addresses our local food growers as some of our most impoverished citizens,” said Christie. “With this grant we will be able to impact the economic standing of those in the local food system, while simultaneously bringing fresher, more nutrient dense, food to the table at our soup kitchen four nights a week.”
When considering what brings life to a community, the Foundation knew that safe and beautiful public spaces are essential. Vision Cashiers knew without a doubt that they had a project that would bring vitality and increase health and wellbeing in the Cashiers community.
“The Cashiers Greenway Ramble provides many health advantages to the Cashiers community,” said Maggie Carton, Natural Resource Task Force Leader. “Having a safe walking trail through the heart of our township encourages physical activity, fosters social interaction, and enhances Cashier’s sense of place and will strengthen our community’s identity as one that cherishes the beauty of nature and healthy lifestyles.”
As we contemplate the concept of teaching the man to fish, one may not immediately conclude that free legal aid would fit into that paradigm. However, Jim Barrett, Executive Director of Pisgah Legal Services disagrees.
“Folks who live in low-income households regularly experience problems that can be addressed with a civil legal aid attorney by their side: stopping domestic violence, accessing benefits, escaping poor housing conditions, and securing health care for example,” said Barrett. “Lawyers are powerful allies who can tackle the issues that keep people locked into poverty, trapped in abusive situations and living in substandard conditions. Social determinants of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. The work of Pisgah Legal addresses socio-economic problems – such as substandard housing and domestic violence – that exacerbate illness and injury.”
In 2019, HCHF approved the dispersal of $2.5 Million dollars to 53 organizations. Through the journey of conducting Listening Sessions, Community Outreach Meetings, and committing over 2000 hours toward grant review, the Programs and Grants Committee and the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation Board of Directors has learned so much about our community and the incredible strengths it possesses through existing nonprofits as well as the road blocks to health that are prevalent in our community.
“This year has been a landmark year for the Foundation; an outstanding year for progress and positive growth for our community,” said HCHF Chair Walter Clark. “I am honored to serve alongside fellow Board Members and dedicated Community Advisors. We all look forward to continuing this momentum and building upon it to create lasting impact for generations to come.”
HCHF Executive Director and CEO Robin Tindall said she looks forward to another impactful year.
“The Foundation looks forward to another tremendously impactful year in 2020, as it will unveil strategic priorities that will truly move the needle forward for Highlands, Cashiers, and the surrounding communities.” She said.
About the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation
The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation was established on February 1, 2019 as a 501 (c) 3 public charity with a purpose to improve the health and wellbeing of Highlands, Cashiers, and surrounding communities. As the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital conversion foundation we are committed to continuing a several-decade legacy of generosity and vision to ensure vibrant and healthy living for our year-round, seasonal and visiting families and individuals. Through partnerships with organizations, key stakeholders and caring donors, The Foundation aims to make positive and lasting change through investing in projects and programs that advance innovative solutions and improvements in peoples’ health and wellbeing. The Foundation follows best practices in administering and evaluating grants and projects as well as measuring and reporting outcomes. The Foundation also includes collaborative partnerships that serve the health and wellbeing of all people in western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Macon, Jackson, and the surrounding communities. For more information please visit the website: http://www.hchealthfnd.org or call 828.482.6510.