Each year since 1950, WNC Communities has evaluated the applications of community centers across twenty counties of WNC and given cash awards to community centers that have offered quality programs to serve their residents’ needs. In 2021, WNC Communities established a new tiered system of rating community centers’ capacity to serve their communities to improve the Social Determinants of Health. In their applications, communities demonstrate they have developed competencies that designate them as having one of four levels of increasing sophistication and community impact: Trillium, Mountain Laurel, Redbud, or White Oak.
These levels become the basis for identifying targeted assistance to communities in the WNC Honors Program to build their capacity to move the needle on Education Access & Quality, Economic Stability, Community Well-being, Environmental Stewardship and Health Access. Each community is evaluated across six areas of competency to determine their level: Good Governance, Leadership Excellence, Financial Stewardship, Volunteer Recruitment and Retention, Community Programs and Civic Engagement, and Collaboration. To learn more, click on the button below to see our WNC Honors Program Levels.
As a foundation for improving programs addressing these needs, the WNC Honors Program promotes leadership and collaboration among the communities and with local and regional partners through its offerings. WNC Communities offers online workshops, Coffee Hours, regional convenings, and training to active members. Communities at the Redbud and White Oak level may also be eligible for strategic planning and coaching to advance their goals.
Each November, the WNC Honors Awards event is an opportunity for community clubs across the mountains to come together to celebrate and receive recognition, cash awards, and promotions to the next level for the work they have accomplished during the year. It also gives all members an opportunity to learn about best practices from across WNC.