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ARDEN — The WNC Bridge Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing funds to alleviate health challenges in western North Carolina, wants to hear from local nonprofits.

The group will hold a listening session for local nonprofits from 10-11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Morganton Community House to find out what their needs are and what challenges they expect to face this year, according to a flyer advertising the event. Representatives from the foundation also will share information on its 2020 Impact Grant. The grant is designed to fund projects focused on elder care, emergency wellness and youth development.

“We provide direct support and also empower carefully selected nonprofits to impact individual and community wellness in our communities throughout the western North Carolina region,” said Natalie Clark, communication and program officer for the organization. “After reviewing the many social determinants of health, our board felt that with our background in supporting CarePartners Hospice, home health and rehabilitation programs (prior of the sale of Mission to HCA), we had a backbone of knowledge related to the elderly, so choosing elder care was a way for us to continue to be able to utilize our expertise. Our other two focus areas, emergency wellness and youth development, were selected based on community feedback we received in 2018.”

She said they organized the listening sessions as a way to ensure the foundation is most effectively meeting health needs in this part of the state.

“Because WNC Bridge Foundation is able to award grants to all 18 counties of western NC, we want to hear specifically from the nonprofits in McDowell and Burke counties to better understand what the needs are in this area,” Clark said.

Those interested in applying for a 2020 Impact Grant must take an eligibility quiz, which will become available starting in early March on the foundation’s website. Clark said nonprofits can email grants@wncbridge.org to sign up for the foundation’s email list so they can be notified when the quiz comes online.

She encouraged local nonprofits, especially those who address health challenges in the community, to attend the listening session.

“WNC Bridge Foundation is very interested in learning about the needs specific to McDowell and Burke Counties,” Clark said. “The feedback we receive from this listening session will help us better define our focus areas of elder care, emergency wellness, and youth development and our funding strategy for our 2020 Impact Grants. This will also be an opportunity for nonprofits to learn more about WNC Bridge Foundation and ask questions.”

To RSVP for the listening session, email grants@wncbridge.org. For more information, visit WNCbridge.org.

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