Monday, April 15, 2024

Committee forms for NHC Endowment CEO search

With the New Hanover Community Endowment’s first president exiting last month after a little more than two years at the helm, the next leader will be found with the help of an appointed committee and a third-party firm. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON —  With the New Hanover Community Endowment’s first president exiting last month after a little more than two years at the helm, the next leader will be found with the help of an appointed committee and a third-party firm.

READ MORE: NHC Endowment board member resigns one month after CEO exits

ALSO: New Hanover Community Endowment announces resignation of president and CEO

According to a Monday press release from the endowment, five members from its board of directors comprise the search committee. It’s led by Shannon Winslow — also vice chair of the endowment — with members Bill Cameron (endowment chair), Cedric Dickerson, David Sprunt and Woody White.

The committee will choose a third-party search firm to help direct the selection process. The goal is to have a company firmed up by the end of the month to assist the search committee in finding candidates.

“We are looking for a proven leader who can deliver progress on bold ambitions,” Winslow said in the release. “We want a leader with an innovative approach to transform outcomes.”

A timeline has not been put forth in selecting a new CEO. Winslow noted the goal is to find someone who can best assess solutions to the county’s “most pressing problems.”

The NHCE manages $1.25 billion in proceeds from the $1.5 billion sale of the county-owned New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health in 2020. The endowment tackles education, safety, equity, and development through distribution of grants to area nonprofits and organizations. So far it has doled out more than $60 million in funding in its two-year cycle.

Buster said last year the goal is to continuously roll out funding more than once a year. The endowment approved $53 million for 33 nonprofits in December, another $6 million last month to go to the Northside Grocery Store and announced plans to address affordable housing in the coming year as well.

William Buster was hired in early 2022, due to his experience as senior vice president of impact with Asheville’s Dogwood Health Trust. Dogwood’s $1.5-billion trust formed out of the Asheville Mission Health-HCA Healthcare deal in 2019, and Buster helped oversee a large pot of money and investing strategies.

Buster announced his resignation in early February but did not give a reason why. WHQR reported at the time there had been some discord among the county, endowment, and Buster and staff.

Monday’s news comes on the heels of the sudden exit of endowment board member Patricia Kusek as well. Announced Friday, Kusek resigned after serving for roughly six months; her board term wasn’t up until Sept. 20, 2026.

The former commissioner helped form the endowment, as she and fellow commissioners at the time — Woody White, Jonathan Barfield and Julia Olson-Boseman — voted on the sale of the county-owned New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health in 2020. The county is responsible for selecting five of the 13-member board, the rest are chosen by Novant Health (six) and the endowment (two).

The board vacancy has been posted via New Hanover County, with commissioners considering Kusek’s replacement on April 15.

In the wake of Buster’s exit, executive vice president Lakesha McDay is fulfilling day-to-day duties at the endowment.

“This is a deliberate process,” Winslow said about choosing the endowment’s next leader. “We owe it to the community to get it right.”


Have tips or comments? Email info@portcitydaily.com

Want to read more from PCD? Subscribe now and then sign up for our morning newsletter, Wilmington Wire, and get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

Related Articles