ASHEVILLE — Dogwood Health Trust recently awarded The Industrial Commons a general operating grant to further support the organization’s approaches to building economic opportunities in rural western North Carolina.
The $500,000 grant will help bolster the foundational work that The Industrial Commons is doing to create more minority-owned and employee-owned and operated businesses in the region. The Industrial Commons establishes and scales employee-owned social enterprises and industrial cooperatives, and supports frontline workers to build a new southern working class that erases the inequities of generational poverty and builds an economy and future for all.
“As we pursue our work in economic opportunity, we are exploring where Dogwood can invest in order to provide a more robust, inclusive and diverse economy for everyone,” said Susan Mims, MD, interim CEO for Dogwood Health Trust. “This investment in The Industrial Commons aligns perfectly with Dogwood’s goals to build our economic ecosystem and to foster more entrepreneurship across the region, particularly in communities that historically have not had a lot of access to economic development activity.”
The Industrial Commons, which was created in 2015, works primarily in Burke County and in the manufacturing sector. The nonprofit operates several social enterprises and focuses much of their work on the green new economy. They have a suite of workforce development and movement building programs to train frontline workers and provide outlets for K-12 students to envision a new future of work. The organization partners with many organizations and institutions in the region, such as local governments, school systems and community colleges. It also leverages national markets through contracts with companies like Smartwool.
“We are honored to be recipients of a grant from the Dogwood Health Trust,” said Co-Executive Director Molly Hemstreet. “They are a changemaker in our region and we look forward to partnering with them in many ways in the coming years. Our work takes a systemic approach to eradicating poverty — approaching it from multiple angles — and Dogwood not only understands the importance of that, they fully embrace it.”
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellness, with a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity and access to care and health resources
To learn more, visit dht.org.