North Wilkesboro

North Wilkesboro, NC

Our convener

Through grantmaking and community initiatives, The Health Foundation works to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in Wilkes County, North Carolina, with an emphasis on coalition building and collaboration. 

Heather Murphy

Executive Director

Jenn Wages

Program Director



230 Jefferson Street

North Wilkesboro, NC 28659


North Wilkesboro is a small, geographically isolated town located in rural Appalachia in northwestern North Carolina. It is on the north side of the Yadkin River, which separates it from the county seat of its sister city, Wilkesboro. Nestled in the verdant foothills of the Brushy Mountains, its physical beauty masks the economic hardships of its residents.


North Wilkesboro sprung up next to the tracks in 1891, around a newly-established stop on the railroad. The town soon became home to industry, producing mirrors, textiles, and furniture, as well as the first Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse in 1946. The North Wilkesboro Speedway, the first NASCAR-sanctioned track, earned the town recognition as one of the birthplaces of the sport of stock-car racing. Beginning in the 1990s, the speedway, numerous factories, and major corporate offices either closed or re-located to larger markets– leading to a shift in the area’s economy and a large drop in the median income.


Community life in North Wilkesboro is tight-knit and revolves around family, church, and youth sports. An abundance of civic pride has contributed to a community theater, art gallery, greenway, and library. Within this predominantly (90%) white county, the town considers racial diversity a strength, and is home to 13% African-American residents, 13% Hispanic, and 70% White. Now in its 30th year, the annual MerleFest draws over 80,000 festival-goers for a four-day celebration of Americana music with proceeds benefiting the Wilkes Community College.


4,245 people


5.1 square miles

North Wilkesboro

wants to hear from you!

We want to hear more about communities everywhere as we dig into more universal issues...


Our Design Team

The structure of each Raising Places Community includes both a convening organization and a group of local leaders, called the design team.

Jabin Ahmed

Hudson Muslim Youth

Tom DePietro

City of Hudson Planning Board / HCDPA

Cedric Fulton

Community Organizer

Kamal Johnson

Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood

Willette Jones

Hudson Community Schools / Board of Education

Victor Mendolia

Beach & Bartolo Realtors / Alliance for Positive Health

Maija Reed

Early Childhood Educator and Care Provider

Brandon Santos

Community Advocate

Jennifer Stockmeier

Wolfgang Stockmeier Design Inc.

Zebi Williams

Kite's Nest

Nick Zachos

City of Hudson Department of Youth

James and Sarah Budd

Alpacas of Montana

Quincy Dabney

Mayor, Town of Lodge Grass

Shane Doyle

Tribal Education Directors National Assembly

Casaja Fritzler

Bighorn Valley Health Center / Crow Awakening

Elvin Fritzler

Crow Tribe / Spear Sighting Ranch / Crow Cowgirls Traveling Basketball Coach

David Graber

Greenwood Farm / Bighorn Valley Health Center / Wyola School

Roger Kitts

Red Fox Construction

Tiffany Nomee-Dabney 

Arise LG / Lodge Grass Public Schools

Emerald Parisi

Central Montana Abolitionists / Katie’s House

Shelly Sutherland

Bighorn Valley Health Center

Jean Wallace

H.E.A.R.T. Healing, Empowerment and Resilience Training

Linda Cheek

Wilkes Chamber of Commerce

Susan Cogdill

Wilkes Community Partnership for Children

Debbie Ferguson

Town of North Wilkesboro

Greta Ferguson

North Wilkesboro Housing Authority

Junior Goforth

Town of North Wilkesboro

Kathy Kelley

BROC Head Start

Jeremy Parks

Communities in School

Julia Turpin

Wilkes County Public Library

Jenn Wages

The Health Foundation, Inc.

Sam Hinnant

Town of North Wilkesboro

Vickie Goulette

Hennepin County Child Wellbeing Transformation Team

Sarah Hernandez

McKnight Foundation

Lynnea Atlas Ingebretson

Imagine | Deliver

Jimmy Loyd

Thor Construction

Tie Oei

Asian Media Access

Kenzie O’Keefe

North News

George Roberts

Homewood Studios

Artika Roller

Hennepin County Child Wellbeing Transformation Team

Martine Smaller

Northside Resident

Redevelopment Council

Marquita Stephens

Minneapolis Urban League

Makeda Zulu-Gillespie

University of Minnesota, Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center

April Ang

SoMa Pilipinas

Ada Chan

Association of Bay Area Governments*

Chris Durazo

Community Member

Carla Laurel

West Bay Pilipino Center

Teresita Naval

Galing Bata sa FEC staff

Sandy Panopio

City & County SF*

Raquel Redondiez

Filipino-American Development Foundation (FADF)

Jerome Reyes

Stanford University*

Dyan Ruiz

People Power Media

Joseph Smooke

SOMCAN, HRC, SF, People Power Media

Bernadette Sy

Filipino-American Development Foundation (FADF)

David Campbell

United Steelworkers LOCAL 675

Olga Chavez


Alejandro Dobie-Gonzalez


Ely Fournier

Light & Life Church

Rafael Garcia

Providence Health and Services Southern California

Cesar Guerrero

United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Katie Rispoli Keaotamai

We Are the Next

Marcia Tolentino

Green Education Inc.

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