Focus Area Grants of $89,496 Awarded

Photo courtesy of SistasCaring4Sistas.

(May 2021) The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) recently approved grants totaling $89,496 to nonprofits across the region. The awards were made in CFWNC’s Early Childhood Development and Natural and Cultural Resources focus areas.

“Cultural organizations of all types were particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, and support for anchoring arts institutions is important as communities emerge from various states of lockdown,” said CFWNC Vice President for Programs Philip Belcher. “With exceedingly generous co-investment from our fundholders, we are also pleased to continue CFWNC support for SistasCaring4Sistas. During the pandemic, doulas were not allowed to attend hospital births, but they worked creatively to support pregnant women and new mothers in strengthening parent-child bonds and promoting healthy intellectual and emotional development for babies.”

An Early Childhood Development grant of $54,496 was awarded to MAHEC for SistasCaring4Sistas (SC4S) that will support the salary of a community-based doula for one year. SC4S’s basic premise is that, for every young child to realize his or her full potential, they have to be able to make it through their first year of life. The disparity in infant mortality between black and white babies in Buncombe County is significant: four black infants die for every one white infant -- higher than state and national averages. SC4S aims to eradicate disparities by providing education and doula services to families who face adverse maternal health outcomes before, during and after pregnancy and by addressing many clients’ needs that fall within the framework of social determinants of health. The Bahnson-Armitage Fund, Rick and Bridget Eckerd Charitable Fund, Oliver Family Fund and two anonymous funds provided $50,000 in co-investment for this grant.

Natural and Cultural Resources grants total $35,000 and include:

$15,000 to Brevard Music Center (BMC) to expand outdoor dining areas, shift to “grab-n-go” meal preparation and create additional outdoor learning spaces to create a safe learning and living environment for students and faculty during the 2021 Summer Music Institute and Festival. BMC, a pillar cultural organization in WNC, typically enrolls nearly 500 elite student musicians for a summer of intensive study, rehearsal and performance. Students reside on campus and work closely with more than 80 of the world's most prominent conductors, teachers and clinicians.

$20,000 to Center for Craft toward construction of the Cherokee Basketry Public Art Parklet to be located at 67 Broadway Street, Asheville. A parklet is defined as “a small seating area or green space created as a public amenity on or alongside a sidewalk, especially in a former roadside parking space.” This project has been designed collaboratively with the City of Asheville, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The parklet’s Cherokee basket-inspired design and interpretation will support the region's art-based economy by investing in local artists and raising public awareness about critically- endangered rivercane and traditional Cherokee basket-making practices, language, and culture.