“Mountain Projects Community Action Agency changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes Haywood and Jackson Counties a better place to live.”



Type of Organization




Primary Contact

Patsy Dowling, Executive Director

Social Media



Issues of Focus:

Meeting the needs of their communities in Western North Carolina. Primarily focused in Haywood and Jackson Counties. Mountain Projects provides services to those who are low-income, disadvantaged, and elderly to help individuals live a sustainable, improved quality of life that every person deserves. The role Mountain Projects plays through facilitating these programs is to not just to meet a need for their communities, but going beyond the need fulfillment to ensuring the person can be self-empowered to help themselves in the future and to live a self-reliant life. From providing transportation, heating assistance, to substance abuse outreach, Mountain Projects changes the lives of people in their community every day. A simple response when asking a staff member what it is they do at Mountain Projects “ We are the people who help the people”. Western North Carolina is blessed to have such caring, compassionate individuals providing the wonderful services that Mountain Projects works so hard to be able to provide. 

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History of Organization:

Mountain Projects is a community based non-profit organization, founded in 1965 as a Community Action Agency, that provided vital services to the elderly, disadvantaged and general public in Western North Carolina. Mountain Projects was initiated out of the  "War On Poverty" with a $52,000 Office of Economic Opportunity grant and a pilot summer Head Start program. Since then the agency has grown to an annual budget of eleven million dollars, a staff of 130, and provides a broad diversity of services to the community in response to its changing needs. Anyone who has received services through Mountain Projects or even just observed the work that has been done through Mountain Projects, cannot help but be very proud and thankful to have such a wonderful organization in their community. Mountain Projects continues to conduct community needs assessments and apply for grants so that they can always provide to those in need. Mountain Projects hosts annual fund raisers, community forums, and clothing drives throughout the year to ensure resources for all.

Programs and Projects:

  • Head Start: Provides early childhood education, nutrition, health and wellness programs to low-income children and adults. The age groups are 0-5 as well as any mothers who are pregnant.

  • HUD Housing Assistance: Help families find suitable homes based off of their income.

  • Haywood County Senior Resource Center: A plethora of resources and programs for seniors in Haywood County.

  • Senior Congregate Nutrition Program: Provides healthy, hot meals to seniors in Canton, Waynesville, and Maggie Valley.

  • Home Improvement Projects: Weatherization and home improvement projects for those who qualify.

  • Fund raising to help provide electric assistance, food, fuel, and blankets for families to stay warm throughout the winter when the cost of living generally increases

  • SHIIP (Senior Health Insurrance Information Program):Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) assists people with Medicare find the health care plan as well as prescription plan that will best fit their needs. All information is non-biased so clients get the whole healthcare picture.

  • Haywood Public Transit: Provides those with no other means of transportation access to medical care, jobs, education facilities, shopping, and social settings. It is also available at cost to those who want the convenience of transportation instead of providing their own.

  • Self Help Housing Program: To those that are eligible, work with Mountain Projects to help build their home.

  • Circles Of Hope: A group that meets to learn how to remove systemic barriers that hinder people from transitioning or staying out of poverty. Circles of Hope has circle leaders and circle allies who work collaboratively to learn the skills needed to get out of poverty and find a job.

  • Substance Abuse Prevention: The prevention department works with the youth and communities in their region in substance abuse prevention.

  • Volunteer Center

  • Senior Companions


Partners and Frequent Collaborators

Department of Social Services


Public Health Departments

Senior Center

Haywood Transit

Faith Based Organizations

School system

Local law enforcement agencies

Housing authorities

Duke electric

Council on Aging

Healthy Haywood

Champion Credit Union

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Early education centers

Haywood Community College

Haywood Pathways Center