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Gateway Wellness Foundation Awards $550,000 In First Grant Cycle

Logo Courtesy of Gateway Wellness Foundation
Gateway Wellness Foundation is based in Marion, NC.

Gateway Wellness Foundation announced it has awarded $550,000 in grant funding to local nonprofits. The legacy foundation is based in Marion. It previously supported Mission Hospital McDowell and now supports Burke, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford Counties. 

“Our key priority has not changed, it has always been, and will continue to be first and foremost to help people. We want to be able to do that for a long time to come so we needed to make sure that the Foundation is financially able to do that well into the future,” says Norman Guthrie, chairman of the foundation board in a press release. 

Now all six legacy foundations have given out their first round of grants. The foundations were each given $5 million by Mission Health as part of the deal made when the health system sold to for-profit HCA Healthcare. Each of the foundations has been promised $15 million dollars total over 3 years.  


The other legacy foundations awarded between about $1.3M and $3.3M in their first grant applications. 

In this round, Gateway awarded 20 organizations grants ranging from $2,000 to $150,000. Nonprofits in all four counties of Gateway’s service area were funded with 35 percent going to McDowell, 35 percent allocated to Rutherford, 19 percent allocated to Burke and 12 percent allocated to Polk counties. Gateway says these allocations are aligned with the geographic spread of the grant applications that were received. The foundation said it got 62 applications asking for $12 million dollars in funding. 

“We will be grant funding every year and with ongoing leverage fund opportunities and collaborative strategic initiatives to take advantage of, this is just the first of many funding streams and of much more to come," says Guthrie in a press release.


The grants focused on affordable housing, food insecurity, access to health and early childhood development.

Grant recipients include the following:

• Access to care: Centro Unido Latino Americano, Foothills Health District, McDowell County EMS, West Marion Community Center, and Yokefellow Service Center, Inc.

• Early childhood development: First United Methodist Church Early Childhood Enrichment Center, Forrest W. Hunt Elementary, McDowell County Schools, and South Mountain Christian Camp.

• Food insecurity: Glen Alpine Food Pantry, Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach, Inc., McDowell LFAC (The Foothills Food Hub), The Outreach Center, Washburn Community Outreach Center, and Welcome Table of Rutherfordton.

• Housing: Abounding Grace Ministry, Inc., McDowell Mission Ministries, Inc., Out of the Ashes, The House of Refuge Ministries, Inc., and the Meeting Place Mission.


Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.