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Great Smokies Health Foundation Announces 2023 Grants

The Board of Directors of the Great Smokies Health Foundation has awarded $539,235 to 24 organizations for a variety of health, wellness and prevention initiatives across Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties.


Brian Huskey, the Foundation’s Executive Director said, “We received 51 funding applications this year, with a total of $934,712 in funding requests. It broke last year’s records both in number of applications received as well as the total amount requested.” 

“There were some new things in our funding mix this year,” Huskey explained. “Our Board completed a strategic plan last May, so we narrowed the focus of our grant making a bit and increased the limit for Community Grants from $5,000 to $7,500.” 

The Foundation’s Board of Directors also created two new funding opportunities in addition to its existing Community Grants program. Mr. Huskey stated, “The Targeted Health Impact Grants and High Impact Health Initiatives are very “outcomes-driven” — they’re intended to produce objectively measurable health benefits. They also prioritize the Foundation’s strategic plan Social Determinant of Health core objectives: increasing access to primary and dental care; addressing child and adolescent mental health issues; and reducing hunger and food insecurity.”

Shifting to a two-year funding cycle in 2023 was also new for the Great Smokies Health Foundation, although some agencies applied for single-year funding.

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Huskey said, “During our strategic planning process, we heard from several of our grantees that funding two-year awards would reduce their administrative and reporting burden. For small organizations with limited staff capacity, even something that simple can really make a difference in their workload. And the Foundation works hard to remain ‘user-friendly’ and community-focused, so we took that input to heart this year.”

Grants amounts awarded by the Great Smokies Health Foundation this year ranged from $2,050 to $118,835.

Agencies awarded in the Community Grant category included: AWAKE Children’s Advocacy Center; Center for Domestic Peace; Child Medical Collaborative; East Carolina University School of Dental of Dental Medicine; Sylva Community Service Learning Center; Fontana Regional Library/Jackson County Public Library (“Access.Period” project and “Hydration Station Refill” project); the Giving Spoon; Graham County Health Department Dental Clinic; Jackson County Department of Public Health (Elevate828 Wellness Program, Safe Kids Jackson County, and Cullowhee Community Garden); Hands On Jackson; HERE in Jackson County; Jackson County Fire & Life Safety; Jackson Neighbors in Need; Macon County Care Network; Rolling Start NC; Swain/Qualla SAFE; Sylva Police Department Community Care Program; United Christian Ministries; and Vecinos.

Agencies awarded in the Targeted Health Impact category included: Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic; The Community Table; HIGHTS, Inc.; Jackson County Department of Public Health (Women’s Health Services); Swain County Health Department; Uncomplicated Kitchen; and Vecinos.

The Graham County Health Department received the Foundation’s first High Impact Health Initiative Award. The Great Smokies Health Foundation provided salary support for the Health Department’s primary care clinic nurse practitioner, enabling the clinic to be fully staffed five days per week.

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