The Nice List
Our treasured nonprofits and the generosity of the plateau
By LISA GRAY YOUNGBLOOD
It is that time of year again - the end, a time for reflection. Many of us will look back on the year and ponder what went well, what didn’t, what we are most proud of and where we can improve. Businesses, including nonprofits, do the same. For many of our nonprofits, the stakes are high, running from how to better amplify their mission to, at times, how to stay afloat. End-of-year giving can be the key to their success, or even their survival.
Below you will find the end-of-year Wish Lists for many of the plateau’s nonprofits. Whether you are drawn to offer support for animals, the environment, families in need, the creative arts, literacy and education, historical preservation, veterans and first responders, those who have come to our country from distant shores, libraries or health and wellness, there is something here for you. What a wonderful gift to yourself and your community: the opportunity to serve.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cashiers & Highlands
bbbswnc.org / Facebook: @bbbsplateaumaconjackson
Our mission is to ignite potential in youth through professionally supported one-to-one mentorships.
Annual Budget: $70,000
Christmas wish list: We are in great need of mentors! Littles in Cashiers and Highlands are waiting to be matched. Part-time and full-time residents can impact a child for a lifetime!
Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic
The Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic delivers emergency, restorative and preventative dental care to people who cannot otherwise afford these critically needed services. We restore lives, one tooth at a time. We estimate that over 17,000 people in our serviceable counties meet the financial qualifications of the Clinic, making them eligible for our services. Since 2005, the Clinic has performed over 75,000 procedures through 21,000 patient visits with a value exceeding $11 million – all at no cost to the patients!
Annual Budget: $540,000
Christmas wish list: All we want for Christmas is our two front teeth! We wish to maintain our highest capacity to make sure that everyone in need of compassionate dental care is able to be treated at our Clinic. To do this, operating funds for critical dental staff are necessary.
Blue Ridge JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians)
Blue Ridge JAM seeks to connect young people with their culture and region through instruction in traditional Appalachian Mountain music.
Annual Budget: $45,000
Christmas wish list: Funding to help us attract and retain well-qualified music instructors; volunteers – both musician and non-musicians welcome.
Blue Ridge School Education Foundation, Inc.
The Blue Ridge School Education Foundation provides supplemental resources for Blue Ridge School and Early College (Pre-K to 13th Grade) to expand educational experiences for students and staff in order to achieve and maintain a “world-class” education environment.
Annual Budget: estimated $170,000
Christmas wish list: That both Blue Ridge schools will remain a “safe-place” and maintain the highest quality environment for student learning and accomplishment, and that the Foundation will continue to be supported by individual and organizational donors so our mission can be maintained.
Blue Ridge School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO)
Blue Ridge PTO strives to enhance every child’s education at Blue Ridge School from pre-K through grades 12 and Early College. We help supplement the school’s district budget through financial support to promote superior educational experiences, family interaction and community involvement.
Annual Budget: $20,000
Christmas wish list: Due to COVID 19, Blue Ridge PTO could not host our most significant fundraiser events for 2019-2022. Now that school is back in full swing, our wish is for financial support to enhance our budget and continue enriching Blue Ridge School’s students and families. Contact us at email@example.com to learn more!
Bobcat Athletic Booster Club
Our goal is to help build the future for all athletes at Blue Ridge School and Early College and to provide support for our current players. We proudly advocate for our student athletes and our BREC Athletic Department. We help raise much needed supplemental income and provide significant volunteer support. We strive to give our student-athletes the best possible experience through athletics at the middle and high school levels.
Annual Budget: As a new organization, the annual budget is in development.
Christmas wish list: We need more volunteers, sponsors for sport uniforms and financial donations.
Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau
The Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau seeks to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
Annual Budget: $1.1 million
Christmas wish list: On the top of our list is funding for an activity bus. We would also like school/art supplies, sports equipment and volunteers!
Our mission is to support ten charities that specifically target the underserved in Southern Jackson County. Our focus ranges from childhood to end-of-life. We have raised over $600,000 for these charities over the past fourteen years. Our mission is to raise awareness and funds for these charities and to fill in the gaps by working with small and large organizations in our area.
Annual Budget: $7,500
Christmas wish list: Raise awareness of our efforts to support these deserving charities and increase our funding goals.
Cashiers Historical Society
Through thoughtful educational platforms and preservation of the Zachary-Tolbert House, Colonel John's Cabin, The Dependency and the Hampton Schoolhouse, CHS is maintaining the legacy of a historical place.
Annual Budget: $306,000
Christmas wish list: Volunteers and donations supporting the maintenance and preservation upkeep of our historical buildings, including the Zachary-Tolbert House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical buildings require constant maintenance; their upkeep is vital to our mission of preserving the history of the Cashiers Valley and providing educational opportunities for learners of all ages.
Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society
The Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society is the only non-profit no-kill shelter on the plateau. We rescue, provide compassionate care and find forever homes for abandoned and neglected animals, reunite lost pets with families, and offer low-cost spay/neuter, pet pantry and summer camps.
Annual Budget: $693,000
Christmas wish list: Adopt, foster, volunteer and please donate!
Cashiers School of the Arts
336.653.1051 (Tim Womick)
The Cashiers School of the Arts is a new 501(c)(3) that seeks to support art education for all.
Annual Budget: Budget is in development.
Christmas wish list: To have more exposure around the plateau and to raise funds to support developing programs.
Center for Life Enrichment (CLE)
clehighlands.com & highlandsporchfest.com
CLE is a nonprofit organization, serving the Highlands community for nearly 30 years and delivering opportunities for life gratification and enrichment through educational programs presented by well-informed scholars, fine culinary experiences, music, entertainment, travel opportunities and art and hobby workshops.
Christmas wish list: Porchfest Sponsors (from businesses and individuals) and to welcome new members to our CLE family. Generous support to host innovative programs comes through membership and class attendance. For more information, please visit our website.
Circles of Cashiers-Glenville
The mission of CirclesUSA, a national program with chapters across the country, is to inspire and equip families and communities to thrive and resolve poverty. We believe strongly that responsibility for getting out of poverty starts with the individual in poverty but also rests in engaging people and organizations in the community to help them and to reduce and end poverty. We serve the low-income citizens in Cashiers, Glenville and the surrounding plateau who are motivated to create a change in their lives, from “surviving to thriving,” by committing to Circles Training and partnering with a supportive Ally. Circles also aspires to change the mindset of the community at large regarding poverty. Our vision is that everyone has enough money, friends and sense of purpose to thrive!
Annual Budget: $60,000
Christmas wish list: We are looking for candidates who are interested and committed to leading their way out of poverty. We are also looking for folks who would be interested in becoming “Allies” (intentional friends). For more information or to get involved, please contact Mary Jane Lucas at 828.553.5874.
The Counseling Center strives to strengthen families and individuals by providing access to quality mental health services regardless of financial ability.
Annual Budget: $65,000
Christmas wish list: Tax-deductible monetary gifts. Give in honor of someone you love, allowing another person to receive the mental health care they need.
Fishes & Loaves Food Pantry, Inc.
828.508.0378 or 828.743.4931 (Larry Morris)
Our mission is to provide free food to persons in Jackson County and the surrounding area who fall below the federal poverty line.
Annual Budget: $287,000
Christmas wish list: Great turnouts for our annual distribution of complete Thanksgiving dinners and complete Christmas dinners and a healthy, hunger-free holiday season.
Friends of the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library
Enriching the library through advocacy, fundraising and activities. We work to obtain and provide funds which enable the library to acquire books, periodicals, equipment, digital and other materials, and supplies needed to make the library one of the most important providers of education for the communities of Cashiers, Glenville and Sapphire.
Annual Budget: FY 2022-2023 - $51,000
Christmas wish list: We hope shoppers will visit our used bookstore for holiday gifts; their purchases will help support fun and educational programs and materials for kids and families. We also hope more library users will join Friends of the Library.
Friends of Founders Park, Inc.
Founded in 2007 for purchase and construction of a downtown green, our goal is to protect, inform and represent the park. Our mission is to generate and apply financial resources for maintenance and improvement in cooperation with the town. The park is used as a downtown retreat for workers and visitors as well as supports events such as concerts, ice skating, arts and crafts, market days and nonprofit fundraisers.
Annual Budget: $27,000
Christmas wish list: We wish for many continuing years of enjoyment of our beautiful and locally beneficial park in downtown Highlands.
Friends of Panthertown
Friends of Panthertown serves as stewards of our treasured forest by protecting and maintaining 30 miles of public non-motorized backcountry trails over 6,311 acres on Nantahala National Forest for all to enjoy. The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown.
Annual Budget: approximately $130,000
Christmas wish list: We encourage everyone to “Leave No Trace” when visiting Panthertown and please consider becoming a Friend by volunteering or making a donation. Text PANTHERTOWN to 44321 or visit our website to make a tax-deductible gift.
Highlands Biological Foundation
Our mission is to stimulate, promote and fund biological research and education in the southern Appalachians. We work to connect individuals of all ages to nature through year-round programming at the Highlands Nature Center and “Nature on the Go!” outreach programs for local organizations across the plateau. We also invest in important scientific research and educational efforts of the Highlands Biological Station, including their Highlands Field Site program through UNC - Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment.
Annual Budget: $654,000
Christmas wish list:
• Funds to support the mission of the Foundation
• Amazon gift cards to purchase supplies for Nature Center programs
• Gas cards to cover transportation to outreach events
• 30 composition notebooks to be used as journals for nature campers
Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival
The Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival enhances the cultural life of Western North Carolina by sponsoring performances by acclaimed musicians and promoting education, outreach and audience development programs that foster an appreciation of chamber music. The Festival's regular concert series runs July 1 - August 6, 2023.
Annual Budget: $400,000
Christmas wish list:
• Sponsors for our Special Events
• Concert underwriters and sponsors of concert receptions
• Hosts for our Feasts of the Festival and Salon programs
Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation
The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation’s (HCHF) mission is to improve the health and well-being of Cashiers, Highlands and surrounding communities.
Christmas wish list:
- To continue to support the great service provided by Blue Ridge Health–Highlands Cashiers (BRH-HC) and the healthy impact they have in our community. BRH-HC is a federally qualified health center providing primary care services for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.
- To continue to improve health and well-being through collaborative and transformative grant partnerships with non-profits.
- To raise awareness, reduce the stigma and bolster resources around mental health and wellness.
- To listen to our communities and be ready to assist as critical needs arise.
- That you will consider investing in HCHF and join in our mission to Lift Health and Well-Being, Together.
Highlands Emergency Council (HEC)
Our mission is to assist low-income residents of the Highlands area, senior citizens, young families, single parent families and disaster victims of any age. Help includes food, clothing, household goods, appliances and fuel as they are available.
Annual Budget: $87,850
Christmas wish list: Food and volunteers. Any items for winter weather for the elderly. Monetary donations are very much appreciated and can be mailed to: PO Box 974, Highlands, NC, 28741 or dropped off at our physical address: 71 Poplar Street, Highlands.
Highlands Historical Society
Highlands Historical Society preserves and promotes the rich heritage of Highlands for present and future generations. Open to the public free of charge from June to October, The Historic Village welcomes visitors, both out-of-town and local residents.
Annual Budget: $70,000
Christmas wish list: Volunteers and donations supporting the maintenance and preservation of our historical buildings, including The Prince House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical buildings require constant maintenance, and their upkeep is vital to our mission of preserving the history of Highlands and providing educational opportunities for learners of all ages.
Highlands Performing Arts Center
Our mission is to provide high quality venues and performing arts for the Highlands-Cashiers community.
Annual Budget: $300,000+. With our new venue, it will surely go up!
Christmas wish list: An Operating Endowment, a Marley Floor for dancers, and a fully funded Youth Theatre Program.
Highlands Plateau Greenway
Our mission is to develop a system of walking and hiking trails that protect and connect the natural settings and historic sites of the Highlands, NC, area.
Annual Budget: $20,000
Christmas wish list: The Greenway is working on new signage for the trail system to make access to our trails more convenient for everyone looking for a walk in the woods.
Highlands School Parent-Teacher Organization
firstname.lastname@example.org Natasha Kittrell, President of Highlands School PTO
P.O. Box 940, Highlands, NC 28741
Our mission is to further develop Highlands School education by creating an environment where the teachers and students feel supported by their community. After a few long years of COVID restrictions that hindered our main fundraising events, we now seek to expand in-class programs and provide teaching aids and updates to class materials.
Annual Budget: $20,000
Christmas wish list: Funding and donations for the expansion of in-class programs and teaching aids.
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust
To conserve valuable natural resources on the plateau, including our lush forests, cool waterways and scenic vistas for all generations.
Annual Budget: $426,000
Christmas wish list: All we want for Christmas is donors. HCLT conserves ecologically important lands that benefit all who live here. Demand on our land is higher than ever, but with your support, HCLT will protect our wild places and those who depend on them. Your support also helps care for our properties and hiking trails.
Hudson Library of Highlands, NC, Inc.
Our mission is to support The Hudson Library, its buildings and grounds through fundraising, volunteerism and advocacy. We accomplish our mission by promoting the free flow of information, the enjoyment of reading and an appreciation for the challenge of ideas.
Annual Budget: $172,000
Christmas wish list: That we ensure the Hudson Library remains a center of excellence within the Highlands community. We look forward to completion of several capital improvements in 2023, including installation of an emergency generator that will ensure we continue to provide our normal services to the community, and more, under any adverse circumstances.
International Friendship Center – Highlands Food Pantry
Our mission is to build cross cultural relationships that foster well-being and self-sufficiency. We strive to assist people experiencing hardship and to address concerns and challenges facing the immigrants in our community by fostering understanding among all people, facilitating social and human services, and providing nutrition to the underserved through the Highlands Food Pantry.
Annual Budget: $371,410
Christmas wish list: Donations to our endowments that support general operations and college scholarships for local, financially challenged students.
Literacy Council of Cashiers
The Literacy Council of Cashiers focuses its efforts to support and promote emergent literacy and literacy throughout the population of Cashiers, NC, from birth through adulthood.
Annual Budget: Approximately $20,000
Christmas wish list: Donations for our book giveaways and other programs provided by the Council for free to the community. Donations can be mailed to: Literacy Council of Cashiers, PO Box 1398, Cashiers, NC 28717.
Mountain Theatre Company
As the longest-running professional live theatre company in North Carolina with an 84-year legacy, Mountain Theatre Company strives to set the bar for regional theatre. Our mission is to enrich, engage, entertain, and educate our community on the plateau and our surrounding Western North Carolina community with quality professional theatre throughout the year.
Annual Budget: $900,000
Christmas wish list: We hope to expand our sponsorship, donor, patron and volunteer support base. Our “Christmas Wish” is to honor the legacy of our history as we continue to secure necessary funding to strengthen our organization as we move to a new venue. Ticket sales alone only cover 40% of our operating budget. We rely on sponsorships and donations each year to ensure we can continue to provide professional quality theatre. As we move to the Highlands Performing Arts Center in 2023, financial support will be more important than ever. With a bigger space, we will also need more volunteers to welcome guests and ensure a quality experience. To become a show sponsor, make a donation or join a volunteer team, please visit our website.
Pisgah Legal Services – Plateau Poverty Law Initiative
Pisgah Legal Services seeks to pursue justice by providing legal assistance and advocacy to help low-income people in Western North Carolina meet their basic needs and improve their lives.
Annual Budget: $509,775
Christmas wish list: Expand our network of friends and donors. Learn more about how to contribute at pisgahlegal.org/give or contact Megan Quattlebaum at 828.575.1353 or email@example.com.
Summit Charter School
Summit is a tuition-free K-12 public charter school that engages students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world. Our primary goals are to graduate students who are academically prepared, engaged in the community and strong in character.
Annual Budget: $3,700,000
Christmas wish list: As a public charter school, Summit receives significantly less public funding than a traditional public school and relies on private monetary donations to fully fund the vital needs of our students, teachers and facilities. Donations to the Summit Charter School Foundation 2022-23 Annual Fund would make our spirits merry and bright!
Summit Family Association
Our mission is to enhance and support the educational experience at Summit Charter School, to foster the relationship with our Summit families through communication and inclusion, to improve the environment at Summit Charter School through volunteer and financial support as well as coordinate and host family-oriented events. SFA is instrumental in coordinating and hosting a variety of volunteer opportunities at Summit, both inside and outside the classroom, including the Back-to-School Picnic, Summitfest fall festival and the talent show, Summit’s Got Talent.
Annual Budget: $14,000
Christmas wish list: Gift Cards for teachers for classroom supplies.
The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts
The Bascom creates visual art experiences that inspire and empower individuals and communities through seeing, thinking and doing.
Annual Budget: $1,600,000
Christmas wish list: Financial or other support for rental housing for the summer resident education artist for two months (June-July 2023). Art supplies for children and youth.
The Literacy & Learning Center
The mission of The Literacy & Learning Center is to advance the benefits of literacy on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau and its connected communities.
Annual Budget: $400,000
Christmas wish list: Over 1,000 children ages 0-5 are currently being served through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, receiving a book a month until their 5th birthday. TL&LC wishes to receive the $30,000 in annual funding to continue allowing these books to nourish the youngest minds of Macon County.
The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center
The Mountain enriches lives, fosters an appreciation of the natural world, honors the interconnectedness of all things and inspires people to build inclusive, meaningful, sustainable communities throughout their lives. We offer adult and youth programming throughout the year, enhanced by our on-site farm and natural environment.
Annual Budget: Approx. $1,200,000
Christmas wish list: Items helpful for outdoor adventure, farm educational programs, trees for the food forest and other options.
The Village Green - The Heart of Cashiers
The Village Green was established with the mission to preserve and enhance land for our community’s civic, spiritual, academic, recreational and cultural activities in order to maintain the quality of life for all citizens and visitors to the greater Cashiers area. As a non-profit, The Village Green relies solely on the generosity of donors and granters to ensure that the events, programming and park remain free and open to the public for generations to come.
Annual Budget: $300,000
Christmas wish list: With the closing of 2022, the Village Green’s 30th Anniversary has come to an end. In the past year, The Village Green began construction on The Boardwalk Renovation and Expansion Project, slated to be completed by the Spring of 2023. Our wish list includes financial donations to allow for completion of this and other projects. The Village Green is also greatly appreciative of any and all donations of time, talent and treasure. Thank you for your support of our park. Visit our website to give safely online.
Warrior Survival School
Warrior Survival School is a situational and mental resiliency training nonprofit. While primarily focusing on veterans and first responders, we also offer corporate, family and small group coaching. Learn how to process, adapt and prevail during both minor and severe situational abnormalities. (Due to COVID, we have expanded our training to the general public in teaching mental health first aid and helping individuals in crisis.)
Annual Budget: $35,000
Christmas wish list: We need volunteers to help pioneer a community project of offering peer support in the Highlands/Cashiers area. Training and resources will be provided. For more information contact Davis@warriorsurvival.org.