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New CEO shares vision for New Hanover Endowment

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 4:07 PM EST
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover Community Endowment has named William Buster as its first CEO and President. In this new position, Buster will work closely with the 13-member board and its committees and a cross-section of stakeholders and organizations with a vested interest in a sustainable, equitable future.

“We are confident that with William’s leadership, talent and experience, the NHCE will fulfill its mission, improving the lives and circumstances of every person in New Hanover and beyond,” said Chair Spence Broadhurst. “His deep North Carolina roots and genuine commitment to community will serve as a great anchor to our work. We all look forward to welcoming William and his family as they make New Hanover County their new home.”

Currently, Buster is the Senior Vice President of Impact with Dogwood Health Trust, based in Asheville, N.C. That foundation was formed to manage the proceeds from the $1.5 billion sale of the Mission Health hospital system. In addition to ensuring its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Buster provides oversight for the Foundation’s grantmaking and program-related investment strategies and makes certain its actions match the intentional direction established by the board.

“I am honored to become a member of the New Hanover County community in this influential role,” said Buster. “I am humbled to further serve my home state and look forward to partnering with our inaugural board of directors in sustaining the positive momentum community members are already generating.”

NHCE was established with $1.25 billion from the sale of New Hanover Regional Hospital to Novant Health. The Endowment’s mission is to improve the health, education, safety, and economic opportunity of every person in the New Hanover County community.

Input from New Hanover County residents will help steer how the investment income generated from the endowment will be used. When the fund is fully invested, it could create about $40-$50 million dollars a year to be spent in the community. The county has asked that funding priorities include public education, public health, community safety, and community development.

In recent years, Buster has worked at Dogwood to help fund public education, specifically helping with after school care, virtual learning, and food access for students in the Ashville area during the pandemic. The group has also helped pay for affordable housing in that community.

Specific funding projects in the Wilmington area have yet to be identified, but could be similar in nature. The concept is that the overall health of a community is more complicated than measuring residents’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and to truly impact the community’s well being there needs to be investment in other areas like transportation, housing, education, food that contribute to people’s well being.

NHCE is seeking applications from community members who would like to serve on a 15 person advisory board that will help steer how the endowment income is spent here.

Buster earned his bachelor’s from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University and went on to earn his Master of Arts in policy and practice of development from the University of New Hampshire and an executive education certificate in mastering negotiation from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Buster will formally join the Endowment March 1, 2022.

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