NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A public endowment is set to inject millions into local charitable programs by the end of this year.
After receiving 291 applications for its inaugural cycle of funding, the New Hanover County Endowment announced more than 100 agencies are set to receive a combined $9,055,050.
The awardees will have a check in hand before Dec. 31, according to endowment spokesperson Jada Harkins Andrews.
The $1.25 billion endowment was created from the sale of the county-owned New Hanover County Regional Center to Novant in February 2021. A 13-member board spent its first 18 months fleshing out parameters to help determine how to best funnel the money back into the community through its Cape Fear Opportunities and Needs Grants.
It hired CEO William Buster in January, who, over the last few months, has been staffing his team — Alison Cheng, Lakesha McDay, and Joel Beeson — and creating an 18-member Community Advisory Council. They created the grant criteria, with the board making the final decision on grantees.
“It was an honor to receive so many applications in this first year,” Buster said to a packed house Friday at the Jo Ann Carter Harrelson Center. “Honestly, I thought we would receive 50 or 75.”
The 110 recipients consisted mostly 501(c)(3) organizations — smaller organizations without the status could partner with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor — immediately impacting New Hanover and operating from a countywide office address. However, public agencies, such as New Hanover County Department of Health and Human Services, City of Wilmington’s Recreation Department and UNCW, also received funds.
All organizations had to prove a two-year track record. The one-time, non-renewable grants awarded were capped at $250,000 or 25% of the applicant’s operating budget, whichever was less.
Applications were open from Sept. 1 through 30, and the grantees had to show how funds would benefit one of the endowment’s four focus areas: community safety, health and social equity, public education and community development.
The board and Buster have worked together to outline a strategic plan to shape the endowment’s reach. In October, it selected New York firm Black Rock to oversee its billion-dollar pot.
Funds dropped to $1.1 billion, according to an October press release, which also noted the board was tasked with overseeing an endowment “during a time of unprecedented market complexity and volatility.”
“An important consideration in hiring BlackRock was selecting an investment manager with the scale, resources, and expertise to take on the current challenges of the markets,” the press release continued.
Harkins Andrews told Port City Daily two months ago the entities are compatible, as BlackRock — the world’s largest investment manager — has more than 400 nonprofit clients. NHC Endowment is the largest nonprofit in New Hanover and one of the largest in the state.
“BlackRock has proved itself as a leader in the industry and approached the endowment’s work with an individualized strategy,” Harkins Andrews wrote in an email to Port City Daily. “It was important that, during the search for an asset manager, NHCE partnered with an organization with a like-minded vision for the transformational goals the endowment is working to achieve in the New Hanover region.”
The endowment hosted more than 100 listening sessions with advocates and leaders to assess needs community-wide before opening the first round of grants.
It aims to address root challenges in the four impact areas, each of which have been defined more clearly, with tangible metrics of success, Buster said Friday.
Community development, for instance, is centered around having “an inclusive economy,” while education and workforce development continues to press upon “improved quality” and support for “academic and career success through early learning, public primary, secondary and post secondary education systems.”
“We want this community to provide safe places and spaces for individuals, children and families to have positive, lifelong experiences,” Buster said Friday. “Our goal is optimal health and well-being through improving social and economic factors that have the greatest impact on health.”
This round of funding was led by the endowment’s first chair, Spence Broadhurst, and vice-chair Hannah Gage, who helped mold its structure, governance and mission. The endowment’s second board leadership will be sworn in this January, with Bill Cameron as chair and Dr. Edelmira Segovia as vice chair.
“My hope is that the nonprofits that received grants in this cycle are now better equipped to achieve transformational change within their individual spheres of influence in our community,” Cameron said at Friday’s announcement. “We know that, ultimately, the work is not about the endowment, but it’s about your organization’s and the people that you serve. And we cannot be effective if you are not effective — our board will remain focused on listening.”
2023 goals include holding two grant cycles, increasing staff and improving upon its four priority areas, according to Harkins Andrews.
“Today is just the beginning,” Buster said Friday. “Transformation is our way forward. We’re trying to change the trajectory of how we think what’s possible here in our community — generational change.”
The organization will share more on the endowment’s target areas in coming months, Buster indicated, but said the nonprofit sector will continually be included in its momentum and outreach.
“Change is a contact sport,” Buster said Friday.
Below is the full list of recipients; the NHC Endowment noted the amounts awarded to each will be featured on its website by the end of the week.
- A Bike for Every Child
- A Safe Place
- Access Dental Care
- ACCESS of Wilmington
- Advance Youth Outreach
- Alliance for Cape Fear Trees
- American Red Cross Cape Fear Chapter
- Association of Fundraising Professionals, Cape Fear Chapter
- Beacon Education
- Blank Canvas Awareness Art
- Bread for Life Senior Pantry
- Brooklyn Arts Music Academy
- Cameron Art Museum
- Camp Schreiber Foundation
- Canines for Service
- Cape Fear Center for Inquiry
- Cape Fear Collective
- Cape Fear Group Homes
- Cape Fear Guardian ad Litem Association
- Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity
- Cape Fear HealthNet
- Cape Fear Literacy Council
- Cape Fear Museum Associates
- Cape Fear Volunteer Center
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, Cape Fear Regional Office
- CFCC: Child Day Care
- CFCC: Underserved Students
- Child Development Center
- Children’s Cancer Patients of the Carolinas
- Children’s Museum of Wilmington
- City of Wilmington: Recreation Division
- Classical Charter Schools of America
- Coastal Bringing Up Down Syndrome
- Coastal Horizons Center
- Community Boys & Girls Club
- Community Counseling Center
- Community Enrichment Initiatives
- Comprehensive Care of Wilmington
- Diaper Bank of North Carolina
- Domestic Violence Shelter and Services
- DREAMS Center for Art Education
- East Carolina Community Development
- Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia
- Eden Village
- El Cuerpo (Christ Community Church)
- Extension Master Gardeners Volunteer Association
- Family Promise of the Lower Cape Fear
- Feast Down East
- Financial Protection Law Center
- First Tee Greater Wilmington
- Five14 Revolution
- Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC at Wilmington
- Friends of the New Hanover County Arboretum
- Genesis Block Foundation
- Global Connections
- Good Shepherd Center
- Greater Wilmington Chamber Foundation
- Harbor United Methodist Church
- Hope Recovery United Methodist Church
- Independent Works
- Jo Ann Carter Harrelson Center
- Kids Making It
- Leading Into New Communities
- Lower Cape Fear LifeCare
- MedNorth Health Center
- Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard of Wilmington
- NCSU Cooperative Extension: New Hanover County Center
- NHC Department of Social Services
- No Limit Boxing Club
- NSEA Swim
- Peer Recovery Resources
- Pine Forest Cemetery Board
- Port City Breastfeeding Project
- Quality Life Blueprint
- SEEDS of Healing
- Smart Start of New Hanover County
- Soaring as Eagles Outreach Ministry
- St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church
- StepUp Wilmington
- The Anchor United Methodist Church
- The Dance Cooperative
- The Healing Place
- The Kairos Center
- Third Person Project
- This Whole Life Foundation
- Transitions Foundation NC
- UNCW Learn-to-Swim Program
- UNCW: Center for Education in STEM
- UNCW: Health & Applied Human Sciences
- UNCW: Health & Human Services
- UNCW: MI CASA
- UNCW: Nursing (Barbershop Initiative)
- UNCW: Public Health
- UNCW: Social Work
- Voyage of Wilmington
- WATERway NC
- Welcome Home Angel
- Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry
- Wilmington Fire Department
- Wilmington School of the Arts
- Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
- YMCA of Southeastern NC
- Young Mogul Development Group
- Young Scientist Academy
- Youth Villages North Carolina, Wilmington
- YWCA Lower Cape Fear
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