The WCMS Community Health Endowment was started in 1998 in recognition of the tradition of giving, compassion and caring of the physician families of Buncombe County. The Endowment was originally established through a partnership between the Buncombe County Medical Society (now the Western Carolina Medical Society) and the BCMS Alliance.

As a perpetual fund, the principal of the Endowment is a permanent and enduring gift to our community. Each year, earnings from the Endowment provide essential financial support to local health-related charitable programs serving communities throughout Western North Carolina.

As of February 2013, The Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation and the Alliance approved a grantmaking partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina for our Endowment. Endowment grant funds are allocated through CFWNC, with a specific preference for allocating Endowment funds via their Human Services (formerly People in Need) and Janirve Legacy grants programs. Endowment funds go to support health-related programs and are awarded in the counties in WCMS’ catchment area: McDowell, Rutherford, Polk, Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Transylvania, Macon, Jackson, Swain, Graham, Clay, and/or Cherokee counties. For more information about the Human Services and Janirve Legacy grantmaking process, click here.

If you have further questions, please contact Miriam Schwarz, WCMS CEO, at ceo@mywcms.org.


The Institute for Preventive Healthcare and Advocacy

The Institute for Preventive Healthcare and Advocacy (IFPHA) received $8,830 from WCMS Foundation's Endowment Fund (as part of a $15,000 Community Foundation of WNC Human Services Grant) for HELP (Health Engagement Leading to Prevention) Today Program. The funding will help IFPHA train, mobilize and utilize embedded, trusted community health workers to support early home-based COVID-19 testing and encourage quarantine for suspected cases until test results can be obtained. 


CareReach McDowell County

This year was a successful People In Need grants cycle thanks to contributions from many funds. The Western North Carolina Medical Society Fund contributed $3,860 of a $15,000 grant to CareReach for their MATCH Mobile Health Clinics which provides screenings and self-care education to low-income people in McDowell County.


CareNet Counseling of Marion

This past People In Need grant cycle, the Community Foundation of WNC used $8,650 from the Medical Society Endowment Fund to support a program of CareNet Counseling of Marion. CareNet’s mission is to improve the health of the mind, body, spirit and community through spiritually-integrated counseling, psychotherapy, research and education. They help their clients achieve, restore and maintain mental wellness, which improves their overall health. The grant they received was for $20,000, to provide behavioral and mental healthcare to people who are uninsured or under-insured.


Sixth Avenue Psychiatric Rehabilitation Partners, Inc. (dba Thrive)

Thrive recieved $740 from the WCMS Community Health Endowment as part of a $20,000 grant for clinical supervision and expertise and data collection support for client services. 

The Free Clinics of Henderson County

The Free Clinics of Henderson County received $8,000 from the WCMS Community Health Endowment as part of a $20,000 grant to expand a health program in collaboration with Blue Ridge Health that will provide an alternative home for vulnerable patients with chronic medical conditions, behavioral health concerns, or severe economic deprivation.


CareNet Counseling in McDowell County

CareNet Counseling in McDowell County received $8,720 from WCMS Foundation's Endowment Fund (as part of a $20,000 Community Foundation of WNC People in Need Grant) to support community-based, professional mental health counseling for the residents of McDowell Country, regardless of ability to pay. Click here to read their letter of thanks.


Good Samaritan Clinic in Jackson County

The Good Samaritan Clinic in Jackson County received $8,640 from WCMS Foundation's Endowment Fund (as part of a $20,000 Community Foundation of WNC People in Need Grant) for an 8-month initiative to transition from a paper medical record system to an electronic health record system.


Good Samaritan Clinic in Morganton- Burke County

The Good Samaritan Clinic, Morganton received $8,470 from WCMS Foundation's Endowment (as part of a $20,000 People in Need Grant) to hire pharmacists and thereby increase pharmacy hours to accommodate the prescription needs of patients while they are at the clinic.
Good Samaritan Clinic is open four days a week for medical appointments, but previously there was only enough funding for the pharmacy to be open two days a week. The People in Need Grant will provide patients the opportunity to have access to medication every day the clinic is open. The clinic is expanding from Monday and Wednesday to include Tuesday and Thursday.


Medication Assistance Program in Clay County

The Clay Comprehensive Health Services Chatuge Family Practice received $20,000 from the People in Need grant program of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The WCMS Foundation Endowment Fund is proud to have contributed $7260 toward this grant.
The funding will be used to continue the Medical Access Offset Program in Clay County.  It will help decrease indigent and uninsured patient co-pays, ensure that people have access to quality health care, and offset the costs associated with lab work and other tests not covered by state and federal health programs.


New Diabetes Program in Polk County

The Polk Wellness Center received $20,000 in grant funds from the People In Need grant program of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The WCMS Endowment Fund is proud to have contributed $10,125 towards this grant.

Ten thousand dollars of the grant funds will be used to develop and implement the first diabetes education and support program in Polk County. At present, there is no existing diabetic education program in Polk County. Polk Wellness Center plans to develop a program that is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and focuses on low income insured and underinsured residents of the county that suffer from diabetes and related chronic health problems. 60 to 75 patients will be served in the first year. An additional $10,000 in grant funds will be used to replace and upgrade computer software equipment that works with the Electronic Medical Records System. The new equipment will allow Polk Wellness Center office staff to increase the number of patients receiving primary and integrated care services.


The WCMS Foundation and Buncombe County Medical Society Alliance Endowment fund awarded a $4,600 grant to WNC Healthy Kids to implement 5-2-1-Almost None! More information on this program can be found at: http://www.wnchealthykids.net

View a PowerPoint presentation about this program.


Two local agencies received a total of almost $8,000 to fund important health and wellness programs. The Buncombe County Medical Society and Alliance (BCMS&A) Endowment fund was shared between All Souls Counseling ($3,900) and the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA) ($3,900).

All Souls Counseling will use the funds to provide 100 counseling sessions to homebound older adults with clinically indicated mental health problems. Funds given to ABIPA will be used to provide outreach, education, resources and continuity in services to the African American Church Health Network.


The BCMS&A Endowment fund awarded three grants in 2010. The first was to Homeward Bound of Asheville, Inc. in the amount of $5,000 to fund the provision of first aid to individuals at A Hope Day Center, by purchasing supplies and providing prescription assistance to homeless and near-homeless residents of our community.

The next grant in the amount of $5,000 was awarded to the Irene Wortham Center to fund "There's a Rainbow in My Tummy!". The grant money will pay for a nutritional consultant to adjust their menu, allowing for more nutritionally sound choices for students.

The Buncombe County Department of Health was awarded a grant in the amount of $2,125 to fund flu vaccination costs for 100 homeless people in Buncombe County.


The BCMS&A Endowment fund awarded $5,000 to All Souls Counseling Center (ASCC), a main safety net provider of mental health services for our community members that are un- and/or under-insured. All Souls Counseling Center will use the funds for supplemental costs from their recently expanded psychiatric services. The additional funds will directly pay for psychiatric patient costs such as: laboratory costs for medication evaluation and/or adjustment; initial medication prescription costs while in the 6-8 week waiting period for pharmaceutical, government or community resource processing; administrative client contacts for successful medication application completion and patient scheduling which have increased with additional M.D. hours.


The BCMS&A Endowment fund awarded $5,000 to the YWCA to continue development of the Childhood Obesity Prevention project which focuses on movement and good nutrition. This program targets the children attending the YWCA Afterschool program and Child Care Center, the majority of whom are minority and low-income children. This project is an expansion of the initial grant awarded in 2007 by BCMS.

The Endowment also awarded $3,600 to Meals on Wheels in order to feed two elderly clients for an entire year. The organization can feed one client for an entire year for the cost of one day in the hospital. Meals on Wheels serves hot nutritious meals to the elderly homebound of Buncombe County. Most of the clients served live alone and without the daily visit of the volunteer who delivers meals, they would be isolated. By providing food, liquid nutritional supplements and pet food for animals of the clients, Meals on Wheels enhances the quality of their lives, allowing them to live independently and with dignity.


In 2007, the BCMS&A Endowment funded two programs. One through ABIPA (Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement) to support health-related (nutrition, exercise, disease) sessions, screenings, and activities for African American children and their families. The second was incorporated into the YWCA's After School program and is focused on a movement and nutrition program for minority and low-income children to address childhood obesity. 77% of participants are from low-income families and 90% are from single parent homes. Approximately 84% are minority and 22% are special needs.


Childhood obesity has become a national crisis, and everyone from teachers to physicians are making it a priority to help our children develop healthy lifestyles. In 2005, the BCMS&A Endowment funded Isaac Dickson Elementary School's Eat Better Learn Better program which addressed childhood obesity by providing cooking demos, making healthy recipe cards for kids to take home, and supplying the school cafeteria with fresh produce from local farmers. The endowment again provided funding for Isaac Dickson's program in 2006. This year, the school was asked to share their program with other schools in the hopes of having it replicated throughout our area. On November 11, 2006 the Rev-Up Healthy Eating In Your School Symposium took place at AB Tech. There were over 50 people from all over the WNC region including representatives from Buncombe County and Asheville City Schools. The majority of those in attendance were food service providers at the elementary school level.


Isaac Dickson Elementary School

Eat Better, Learn Better program will bring local food to school cafeteria and educate help children about the origin of food and the benefits of healthy eating.

Buncombe County Health Center

Will provide medical interpreter services through the WNC Medical Interpreter Network.


Support for the 2005 Community Health Assessment to collect information about the health of citizens in our community.


Asheville-Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA)

This new organization will work to eliminate disparities in all walks of life among African American and other communities of color in Buncombe County. Seeking to decrease racial disparities in rates of disease screening, to reduce risk factors for specific diseases and to improve the health outcomes of specific diseases are objectives of this program.

The Health Adventure

Support for a variety of permanent and traveling exhibits. Currently "Memory: An Exhibition To Be Remembered", running August 24th through December 5th. For a current calendar of activities, go to www.thehealthadventure.org.

YWCA Asheville Diabetes Project - launched in August

The goal is to get the participants, most of whom have Type II diabetes, to make a habit of exercise. Improvements in exercise and nutrition can reward these patients with dramatic benefits. The program encourages participants to pair up for workouts at the pool and in the exercise room. Funding reduces or eliminates their exercise costs. For more information go to: www.ywcaofasheville.org.

WNC Aids Project

Provides advocacy, case management, transportation, emergency financial assistance, and voluntary support services for individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Provides education about HIV/AIDS and other STDs to residents in Buncombe County. For more information go to: www.main.nc.us/WNCAP.


The Health Adventure

"The Couch Potato Wakes Up", an interactive program for elementary school youth emphasizing nutrition, exercise and self-esteem.

Meals on Wheels

Strengthening seniors through reliable nutrition and personal contact. For more information: www.main.nc.us/MOW


Meals on Wheels

Providing hot, nutritious meals to the elderly (and often for their pets as well!). The Endowment joined with other community organizations to bolster this worthy effort.

The Health Adventure

Continuing to expand their offering of permanent and traveling health exhibits for the whole family. "The Couch Potato Wakes Up" interactive program begins offering a fresh perspective to elementary school children.


The Clear Air Community Trust

Seed funding was provided by the Endowment to establish this new initiative. The CACT is charged by the Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Board of Commissioners with improving air quality in Western North Carolina through educational and innovative programs. For more information email to info@airtrust.org.


The Health Adventure

A much celebrated children's museum that offers 12,000 sq. ft. of interactive health-related exhibits. Located in the center of downtown Asheville, the Health Adventure continues to expand its efforts to reach the children of Buncombe County and all of Western North Carolina.


Enough is Enough Campaign

A school-based, youth-oriented drug abuse prevention program.