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Hospital foundations find new mission

Hospital foundations find new mission

Following HCA Healthcare’s purchase of the Mission Health System, the nonprofit foundations that have supported Mission’s hospitals for so long had the choice to dissolve or find a new mission. 

While Mission’s hospitals were previously operated as nonprofit entities, they are now for-profit under the HCA umbrella, which means the foundations can no longer provide them with additional funding. However, with the help of the newly established Dogwood Health Trust — the foundation that will receive all the proceeds from the sale — those legacy foundations will be able to expand their missions to focus on health-related initiatives that will benefit their communities. 

For example, the foundation established to help fund needs at Angel Medical Center in Franklin is now the Nantahala Health Foundation and going forward will work toward improving the health and wellness of people in the westernmost counties of the region — Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Swain counties and the Qualla Boundary.

“This is an important and exciting time for the residents of Western North Carolina,” said NHF Board Chair Jane Kimsey, who also served as chairwoman of the Angel Medical Center Board of Directors until January 2018. “We have an amazing opportunity to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of our communities, today and for generations to come. We look forward to partnering with the nonprofits and community leaders who are already doing great work in our region.”

According to a press release, the NHF Board of Directors has two priorities in its inaugural year — to gain understanding and identify the issues that challenge the different communities in the region and through a grassroots approach, create a better understanding of the inner workings of existing nonprofits in the region, invest in their strategies through capacity building, and supporting their initiatives that address the root causes of the health inequalities.

As it seeks to better understand the needs and opportunities of the counties it serves, the Nantahala Health Foundation will be seeking community input through meetings, surveys and interviews throughout 2019. The organization will launch a website soon where interested parties will be able to learn more about the foundation, ask questions and submit requests for funding. 

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The press release regarding NHT was sent out from public relations firm Angel Oak Creative out of Raleigh and all media questions were directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Smoky Mountain News emailed several questions regarding the makeup on the new NHT board but didn’t receive responses by press time Tuesday. The website is in the process of being launched and can be found at www.nantahalahealthfoundation.org. 

Even though NHT will now represent six counties, including all of Macon and Jackson counties, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation will also continue to operate under Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation with a broader health mission. 

The Transylvania Regional Hospital Foundation will now become Pisgah Health Foundation; the foundation for Mission Hospital in McDowell County will now be Gateway Health Foundation and Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Foundation in Spruce Pine will now be AMY Health Foundation.

Mission’s Care Partners Foundation will continue to provide services for seniors in all 18 counties while Mission Health System’s Foundation will dissolve and its assets transferred over to the new Dogwood Health Trust since it was established to provide health-related grants to all the western communities. Now that the sale of Mission Health is complete, Dogwood and all the new health care foundations will operate completely independent from Mission and HCA. 

Dogwood Health Trust is now positioned to begin awarding $50 million to $75 million in annual grants to nonprofits and government agencies in 2020 for health initiatives throughout the region once they figure out criteria and the application process. The foundation will also help get the former legacy foundations up and running by providing them each with $5 million upon the closing of HCA’s purchase of Mission hospitals. The foundations will also receive $5 million at the end of year one of operations and one more $5 million installment at the end of year two. If $15 million wasn’t a big enough gesture, DHT will also support the salaries of these foundations’ executive directors for the first two years.

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