The Nice List 2023

02 Dec 2023

The Wish Lists for our treasured plateau nonprofits




Back by popular demand, we include the end-of-year Wish Lists for many of the plateau’s nonprofits. It is astounding how many nonprofits we have on the plateau, and that is a testament to the generosity of our community. People here care. That is the beauty of interconnectedness. We understand that a community is only as healthy as its individual members. Thank you for all you do and for your commitment to make our community whole.


Big Brothers Big Sisters

828.399.9133 / 828.482.3272

We are working to ensure every child in WNC has an enjoyable, long-term relationship with a caring adult who believes in them and sees their potential. We select and match mentors with children facing adversity and provide ongoing activities, training and support services for both families and volunteers to foster a successful match relationship and a lasting connection.

Organization Total Annual Budget:  Cashiers/Highlands $100,000

On Our Wish List:  Mentors – full-time and part-time residents can make a powerful impact! We would love to expand awareness of and involvement with our organization. Without volunteers, we can't do what we do best - support and mentor children. We are also seeking Council members, community advocates, and financial support to sustain programming in the area. 


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 70,000 procedures over 23,000 patient visits with a value exceeding $11 million.

Annual Budget: $710,000

On Our 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. The best gift to the Clinic is an unrestricted donation mailed to P.O. Box 451, Cashiers, NC 28717.


Blue Ridge School Education Foundation, Inc.

828.526-9186 (Susan W. Waller, Interim President)

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

On Our 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.


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. This is achieved by providing a world-class Club experience that ensures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors.

Annual Budget: $1.4 million

On Our Wish List: Our wish is that all our members are reading on grade level by third grade. Your generous support can make that happen. You will truly be changing lives!


Cashiers Cares


Our mission is to support ten local charities that specifically target the underserved in Southern Jackson County. Our focus ranges from childhood to end-of-life. We have raised and distributed over $650,000 for these charities since 2008. As a 501(c)(3), 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. For a list of the charities we support, please visit our website.

Annual Budget: $7,500

On Our Wish List: Monetary donations to fund current needs of the nonprofits, such as medicines, therapy for abuse victims, food for the insecure, needed equipment for the two preschools, resources for The Literacy Council, legal aid for renters and the protection of abuse victims, and other related services needed in our community.


Cashiers Historical Society


Cashiers Historical Society’s mission is to preserve the history and heritage of the Cashiers Valley through stewardship, advocacy and education.

Annual Budget: $206,000

On Our Wish List: Volunteers to give tours of our historic buildings, do trail maintenance and aid with educational programs.


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

On Our 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.

On Our Wish List: To have more exposure around the plateau and to raise funds to support developing programs.


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 financial independence starts with the individual experiencing financial instability, but also rests in engaging people and organizations to help them and others in the community who are living paycheck to paycheck. 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.

Annual Budget: $60,000

On Our Wish List: We are in desperate need of sponsors for our bi-monthly meals. This accounts for the majority of our operating costs. We welcome homemade healthy meals that can serve 12-15 people. We are also looking for folks who would be interested in becoming “Allies” (intentional friends) to guide our leaders toward the above goals. For more information or to get involved, please contact Mary Jane Lucas at 828.553.5874. 


Community Care Clinic of Highlands-Cashiers, Inc.


The Community Care Clinic strives to provide quality healthcare to the underserved.

Annual Budget: $477,000

On Our Wish List: Monetary donations are the most helpful, but personal care items are always needed.


Counseling Center of Highlands


The Counseling Center has served the plateau since 2021. The Center strives to strengthen families and individuals by providing access to quality mental health services regardless of financial ability.

Annual Budget: $175,000

On Our 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.

828.743.4931 (Larry Morris, President)

Our mission is to provide free food to our neighbors in need in Jackson County and the surrounding areas.

Annual Budget: $282,030

On Our Wish List: Great turnouts for our annual distribution of complete Thanksgiving dinners on November 16 & 20 and complete Christmas dinners on December 18 & 21. We wish all our neighbors a healthy, hunger-free holiday season. Please check our website for information about our future food drives and ways to contribute.


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 materials, and other 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 2023-2024 - $51,000

On Our 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 Panthertown

828.269.HIKE (4453)

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. Our mission 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 and educational opportunities in Panthertown. 

Annual Budget: approximately $130,000

On our Wish List: We encourage everyone to “Leave No Trace” when visiting Panthertown and to please consider becoming a Friend by volunteering or making a donation. We would also appreciate funding for our developing Outdoor Education program. 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: $650,000

On Our Wish List: Funds to support the mission of the Foundation; Amazon gift cards to purchase supplies for Nature Center programs; and gas cards to cover transportation to outreach events.


Highlands-Cashiers Center for Life Enrichment (CLE)

828.526.8811 &

CLE provides life-enriching opportunities through educational lectures, art workshops, culinary/nature programs, and events to residents and visitors to the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau.

Annual Budget: $200,000

On our Wish List: Porchfest Sponsors (individuals and businesses), CLE program sponsors, and more members to grow our CLE family.


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 6 - August 11, 2024.

Annual Budget: $450,000

On Our Wish List: Sponsors for our Special Events; Concert underwriters and sponsors for our concert receptions; Hosts for our Feasts of the Festival and Salon programs; and Housing Hosts for our musicians.


Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation  


The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to improve the health and well-being of the residents of Highlands, Cashiers and the surrounding communities. We are supported by donations from people like you, and we use 100% of these funds to support a variety of programs and initiatives that promote health and wellness in the communities we serve.

On Our Wish List: To continue to improve health and well-being through collaborative and transformative grant partnerships with non-profits; To BEE Kind, supporting, raising awareness, and bolstering resources around mental health and wellness; To continue to support the great service provided by Blue Ridge Health–Highlands Cashiers, a federally qualified health center providing primary care services for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay; and that you will consider investing in the Health Foundation and join in our mission to Lift Health and Well-Being, Together.


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 all visitors.

Annual Budget: $70,000

On Our 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+

On Our Wish List: An Operating Endowment to pay off the remaining cost of the construction of the Main Stage Theater, Marley Floor for dancers, and a fully funded Youth Theatre Program. We also seek Sponsors for our 2024 Concert Season.


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: $30,000

On Our Wish List: We need volunteers to help maintain existing trails and to build new trails.


Highlands School Parent-Teacher Organization



The Highlands School PTO works together with the administration of Highlands School to provide financial and volunteer support to all students, teachers and staff at every grade level.

Annual Budget: $25,000

On Our Wish List: Financial donations to support our continued efforts of supporting Highlands School students, faculty and staff through the expansion of in-class programs and teaching aids.


Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust


Our mission is to conserve valuable natural resources on the plateau, including our lush forests, cool waterways and scenic vistas for all generations.  

Annual Budget: $526,000

On Our Wish List: All we want for Christmas is YOU. HCLT conserves ecologically important lands that benefit all who live here. Demand on our land is high but, with your support, HCLT will protect our wild places and those who depend on them. You can support HCLT by donating cash and non-cash gifts, donating your time, or telling your friends about our important mission. You might also consider conserving your own land; we can help you do this in a way that enables you to retain ownership of your land while, at the same time, conserving it forever. We'd love to tell you more, so please reach out!


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

On Our Wish List: That we ensure the Hudson Library remains a center of excellence within the Highlands community. The biggest improvement in 2023 was the installation of an emergency generator to ensure we could continue to provide our normal services to the community, and more, under adverse circumstances. For 2024, we are improving the AV system in the library Meeting Room by replacing the entire system.


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: $401,300

On Our Wish List: Continued community support of tax-deductible donations to help us meet the growing needs of our most vulnerable community members. As the cost of living increases, so do the disparities facing those we serve.


Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM)

704.245.2302  See also to learn about the larger Jam organization.

We provide quality traditional music instruction and cultural education to all Cashiers community children.

Annual Budget: $45,000

On Our Wish List: We need salary money in order to attract quality instructors and presenters, and we need “maintenance” funds to keep our instruments in good repair. Our kids deserve the best!


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 $25,000

On Our Wish List: Donations for our book giveaways and other programs provided 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 continually operating professional live theatre company in North Carolina with an 85-year legacy, Mountain Theatre Company strives to set the bar for regional theatre. Our mission is to enrich, engage and entertain the Western North Carolina community with quality professional theatre throughout the year.

Annual Budget: $1.2 M

On Our Wish List: We hope to expand our audience with a wide-ranging selection of shows to attract an audience that is diverse in age, interests and backgrounds. We hope to expand both our volunteer support and donor base by passing along a love of theatre produced right here in Highlands. Ticket sales cover a good portion of our expenses, and we rely on charitable contributions to cover the rest of the cost of producing live professional theatre and to support our community outreach programs. 78% of every dollar spent goes to produce the shows we present. To make a donation or join the volunteer team, please visit our website.


Pisgah Legal Services – Plateau Poverty Law Initiative


Pisgah Legal Services pursues justice by providing legal assistance and advocacy to help low-income people in Western North Carolina meet their basic needs.

Annual Budget: $306,500

On Our Wish List: Peace, joy and justice! This holiday season we are wishing for financial support, volunteers (attorneys and non-attorneys welcome), as well as Ingles or Wal-Mart gift cards to help clients in need.


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: $4,131, 611

On Our 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 2023-24 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

On our 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: $1,800,000

On our Wish List: Financial or other support for rental housing for the summer resident education artist for two months (June-July 2024). Art supplies for children and youth.


The Literacy & Learning Center


The mission of The Literacy & Learning Center is to enrich lives and expand knowledge of children, adults and families through diverse educational programs.

Annual Budget: $858,352

On Our Wish List: The Literacy and Learning Center wishes to receive $20,000 in funding for its programs to provide a supportive and enriching environment that prepares all students for success.


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. As a non-profit, The Village Green receives no funding from Cashiers, Jackson County, the state of North Carolina or the Federal Park System. It relies solely on the generosity of donors and grantors to ensure that community events and programs, along with the public park and Playground, remain free and open to the public for generations to come.

Annual Budget: $650,000

On Our Wish List: With the closing of 2023, The Village Green has completed construction on The Boardwalk Renovation and Restoration Project and held over 300 community events on the grounds of the park. During 2024, we will focus on restoring and bringing our beloved Playground and structure to ADA compliance. Our 2024 Wish List includes financial donations to allow for the design phase of the Playground restoration. We will leave the original structures as they are and add elements of play that all children, regardless of ability, can enjoy. Please visit our website to give safely online.

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