Non-profit groups speak on distribution of hospital sale Endowment funds

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — On Tuesday, the first of two public listening sessions for the New Hanover Community Endowment was held at the Wilmington Convention Center.

The Endowment is responsible for managing $1.25 billion from the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health. The goal is to redistribute that money into the community, with a focus on education, equity, public safety, and community development.

“There’s so many non-profits doing incredible work here and one of the things that was so encouraging to see is how supportive of each other they were, how collaborative they were,” Endowment President and Chair Spence Broadhurst said following the session.

Non-profit groups, private citizens, and elected officials all made their voices heard at Tuesday’s session, discussing needs in the community. Some advocated for new housing opportunities.

“Eden Village of Wilmington, and more importantly, Wilmington’s chronically homeless population needs your help,” said Tom Dalton, founder of Eden Village.

“Our ideas are to try to provide housing for interdependent living, for people with autism as well as other neurodiversities,” said resident Robert Ferber.

Representatives for DREAMS of Wilmington, the Harrelson Center, and others asking for more resources for youth-focused organizations.

“We all get together and complain about how many kids we cannot serve because we don’t have transportation to get them from school to our programs, from our programs to home,” said Amy Jeffrey, executive director of DREAMS.

Also discussed was marginalized communities, education, and more.

“At one of our high schools, over half of its students failed an average of three classes second semester of last year,” said Louise Hicks with Communities in Schools. “Supports are in place in these schools, but clearly more are needed.”

Following the meeting, Broadhurst discussed what comes next. The Endowment is currently searching for a CEO who can devote all of his or her time to moving the initiative forward. A Community Advisory Committee will also be created.

“We’ll develop the criteria for the grants early to mid-year next year, and be ready to start taking applications in the fall of next year,” Broadhurst said.

There will be another listening session on December 1 at 4:00 p.m. The location is yet to be determined.

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