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BOONE — High Country United Way on July 31 announced the award of $100,000 in grant funding to support 24 nonprofit programs operating in Watauga, Avery and Mitchell counties.

High Country United Way provides grants for organizations making an impact in the areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs. Grants are awarded through a competitive grant application process overseen by the High Country Board of Directors and community volunteers.

The agencies that were awarded grants are: Appalachian Foster Grandparent Program, Appalachian Senior Companion, Avery Association for Exceptional Citizens, Avery County Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Council, Community Care Clinic, F.A.R.M. Café, Hospitality House, Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, Mitchell County Shepherd’s Staff, Mountain Alliance, OASIS, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, South Mountain Children & Family Services, The Hunger & Health Coalition, W.A.M.Y. Community Action Agency, Watauga Habitat for Humanity and Western Youth Network.

For many local nonprofits, the timing of these awards is critical as the financial impact from COVID-19 continues to climb. High Country United Way conducted a COVID-19 Impact Assessment which showed over a $2,000,000 loss in combined annual revenue to local nonprofits. The most substantial areas of reduction resulted from canceled or postponed fundraisers and events. According to the assessment results, there have been 76 cancelled fundraisers since the start of the pandemic.

“There has never been a more important time to support our local nonprofit sector,” said Marti Phillips, High Country United Way executive director. “Economic uncertainty is coupled with increased demand for services and fewer resources to meet evolving needs. All organizations surveyed reported at least one category of loss and 90 percent of agencies also reported reductions in volunteerism which is vital for helping organizations offset costs.” Phillips says she’s proud of the way the nonprofit community has responded to the current crisis. “We’ve witnessed a lot of innovation that’s brought people together during a time of distancing.”

High Country United Way utilizes a community impact model to direct donations to the greatest areas of need. To learn more or donate, visit www.highcountryunitedway.org.

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