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Endowment board member Michele Holbrook resigns

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The New Hanover County Endowment announced the resignation of board member Michele Holbrook Thursday, marking the third leader of the charitable organization to step down this year. (Courtesy New Hanover County)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The New Hanover County Endowment announced the resignation of board member Michele Holbrook Thursday, marking the third leader of the charitable organization to step down this year.

READ MORE: NHC Endowment opens applications for new CEO

Endowment spokesperson Kevin Maurer told Port City Daily Holbrook — a capital program manager for Corning International — resigned due to work commitments. 

The $1.25 billion endowment was formed from the sale of county-owned New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health finalized in 2021. It is focused on distributing grants to address systemic county issues, including health, education, and equity.

The Novant Coastal Region Board appointed Holbrook to the endowment’s board of directors in 2020. The board has 13 members; six are appointed by Novant, five are appointed by county commissioners, and two are appointed by the endowment’s board. The board will operate with 12 members until a replacement is appointed.

Chair Bill Cameron provided a statement of gratitude to Holbrook in a Thursday press release:

“On behalf of the New Hanover Community Endowment (NHCE) Board of Directors, I would like to thank Michele Holbrook for her dedicated service as a board member. Since the NHCE’s inception in 2020, Michele has provided valuable leadership and experience to the NHCE board, serving as the Chair of the Governance committee and a member of the Finance and Grants committees. During Michele’s tenure, the NHCE approved 145 grants, investing more than $70,000,000 over the next two years into our community with a focus on education, equity, community safety and community development.”

Holbrook’s departure follows the resignation of CEO William Buster and board member Pat Kusek earlier this year. On April 1, commissioners appointed Mary Lyons Rouse to replace Kusek, and opened applications for a new CEO earlier this month.

Last month, residents formed nonprofit Heal Our People’s Endowment to petition Attorney General Josh Stein to intervene and ensure the endowment’s performance and transparency. The group cites leadership changes and the excessive influence of Novant among its concerns. PCD reached out to AG Stein’s office to ask if there have been any updates on his response to the petition but did not receive a response by press.


Tips or comments? Email journalist Peter Castagno at peter@localdailymedia.com.

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