The Center for Rural Health Innovation, headquartered in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, is on the cutting edge of a technology movement to improve access to health care in rural communities. But their all-volunteer board, though committed to growth and sustainability, was more “business as usual” than cutting edge. Executive Director Amanda Martin decided it was time to turn to WNC Nonprofit Pathways for help.

“I finally felt it was time to say, ‘Hey Board, let’s get going,’ and actually find out how we can get a better understanding of our roles and responsibilities as a board,” said Martin. “We needed to have a better sense of accountability and figure out what areas we could actually improve.”

After a quick introduction phone call to Pathways to explain what they would like to do, Martin was advised the first step was to go online to and request the Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT). Thanks to Pathways’ partnership with the CCAT developers, TCC Group, the tool is available at a discount to nonprofit organizations in western North Carolina and is a helpful tool for identifying an organization’s strengths and challenges.

“Completing the CCAT seemed the perfect way to get the board thinking about where we were in relation to our lifecycle,” said Martin. “Things were moving fast, and we just didn’t know if we were delivering the highest quality programs to the communities we serve.”

Martin also realized the CCAT would provide members a sense of inclusion. Each board member is provided a link to the assessment tool that is completed independently.

“The fact that it took this board six months to finally complete the CCAT proved to me we needed some help,” said Martin. “But once we were all done, we all felt a huge sense of accomplishment. And when the results were compiled and the counselor from Pathways came out to meet with us to go over everything, we were all ready to dig in and see what needed to be done.”

And what they found out was a big surprise to them all. Based on all the information gathered in the CCAT, they realized they just were not ready to take on anything new, and instead they needed to focus and build on what they had going on and become a stronger, more unified board to make better decisions moving forward.

“This process also gave us a chance to really get to know each other. We realized we were all good stewards and we needed to stay the course together as a unified board,” Martin said.

Thanks to the resources available through Pathways, Martin and her board now have a frame of reference in regard to moving forward. They will revisit the ideas revealed in the CCAT when they are better able to address the actions that must be taken.

“Timing is everything,” said Martin. “We are more focused and know the time will be right when we are better prepared. As a unified group, we’re more forward thinking and know what resources are available when things are a little calmer.”

For more information about the services that WNC Nonprofit Pathways offers, explore this website or email

For more information about The Center for Rural Innovation, visit