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New Hanover County Endowment kicks off inaugural grant cycle, focusing on "grassroots organizations"

New Hanover Community Endowment

On Wednesday, the New Hanover Community Endowment will start the public conversation on how local non-profits can apply for grants.

Update: The event has been pushed delayed to a future date due to a power outage in downtown Wilmington.

With a $1.25 billion dollar endowment from the sale of the county-owned hospital to Novant Health, the New Hanover Community Endowment is one of the largest philanthropic endowments in the state — eventually expected to generate roughly $50 million or more in annual grants.

But in its first year, the endowment will be starting smaller, with a more modest level of grant output. NHCE is hosting a forum on Wednesday to start the conversation about how the grant process will proceed — and
CEO and President William Buster said the endowment will also be thinking smaller when it comes to who receives those grants.

“Our emphasis really wants to be focused on smaller grassroots organizations. We want those organizations who felt like they may have not gotten support in the past, felt like they weren't big enough," Buster said in pre-recorded release ahead of this week's event.

Buster said during the inaugural funding cycle the endowment won’t be trying to dictate the purpose of its grants — but, instead, will be looking to help non-profits do the work they’re already focused on.

“We're really talking about opportunities and needs, but we're not going to be asking them specifically to do anything that we want to do. We're looking to have an established relationship with them on the things that they need," he said.

The endowment’s grant cycle starts on September 1, and Buster said the endowment will hold what he called ‘office hours’ throughout the month to help non-profits build their applications — and their relationship with the endowment.

NHCE’s 'Public Information Session' will be held at the Harrelson Center’s Plaza at 410 Princess Street from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Parking is available in the garage under the Harrelson Center, accessed on Fourth Street.

The forum will be simultaneously broadcast on NHCTV (Spectrum Channel 13) and streamed via New Hanover County Government TV’s website and YouTube channel. Interpretation in Spanish and ASL will be available at the session.