Because of the very large $1.5 billion endowment and the unique qualities of the WNC mountain region, the formation of the Dogwood Health Trust represents one of the most promising philanthropic investments of our time – anywhere. Along with that promise comes responsibility for both the board of the foundation and our WNC communities to find transformational purpose and programs for this resource. This is not business as usual – this is a chance to fundamentally move our communities forward toward good health, equity, and prosperity.
Obviously, the new philanthropy will help grow the capacity of nonprofits that are already leading our people to develop full lives and vibrant communities through housing, healthy lifestyles, transportation, environmental quality and other social determinants of health.
Beyond that, the assets of the foundation will allow our communities and our region to aspire to fundamental change. We can be more equitable across race, gender, and other differences. We can be entrepreneurial and grow local economies based on our own talents, grit and investments. We can give our children a great start toward life-long learning and make sure they have remarkable pathways through education and career.
This is a time when we can dream of what can be as communities and as a region. Through wise investment, the Dogwood Health Trust can only open the door to this possibility. It is up to us living in WNC, and only our diligent work will make the possible happen.