91-A South Virginia Ave (Rt 130)
Carneys Point, NJ 08069

Salem Health & Wellness Foundation

856-299-4460 / 856-299-4430

Seeking Candidates: Executive Director Salem Health & Wellness Foundation

The Opportunity

For just the third time in its history, The Salem Health and Wellness Foundation is embarking on the search for a new leader, ready and willing to address the challenges and opportunities of Salem County, NJ. As the Foundation begins its third decade, the Board of Directors seeks an executive with public health and philanthropic experience, a commitment to community, and the cultural sensitivity and vision to ensure The Salem Health and Wellness Foundation continues to be a true force for progress for the region and its 65,000 residents.

The current effort is prompted by plans announced recently by Brenda Goins, the Foundation’s Executive Director, to retire this year, when she will have served twenty years in the role.

Salem County has always faced significant health challenges, and the Foundation is the only source of place-based institutional grant making that expressly supports the region’s health issues.

Located in southwestern New Jersey and bordered by Gloucester and Cumberland Counties, Salem County also is separated by the Delaware River from New Castle and Kent counties in neighboring Delaware. Approximately 42 percent of the county’s land is under “active farm cultivation.” Salem is 30 miles from the heart of Philadelphia, PA, and 11 miles from Wilmington, DE.

Salem County is ranked as one of the least healthy counties in New Jersey, placing 20 out of 21. It has high rates of obesity, low rates of physical activity, high rates of behavioral health risks, and the trend of limited Primary Care Physicians is becoming worse over time, with almost 3,000 patients per doctor. It has high poverty rates, especially among children, and in two areas where the density of black and brown people is most significant. Salem County has become a food desert due to the loss of a family supermarket chain. Despite the proximity of health care and food opportunities across the bridges to Delaware and Philadelphia, there is little public transportation, a persistent and historical problem.

The Organization

The Salem Health and Wellness Foundation is a private foundation formed in 2002 upon the sale of the Memorial Hospital of Salem County. It is the only Foundation serving health-related nonprofit organizations in a largely rural community. The Foundation has been implementing a strategic plan addressing childhood obesity and teen risk behaviors for the past seven years. In addition, it has supported a comprehensive capacity-building program of grants and technical assistance to the county’s nonprofits.

In addition to strategic initiatives, the Foundation generally funds in three areas: Access to Health Care, Preventive Care, and Health Care Career Opportunities. The Foundation recently made a multi-year commitment to the resurrection of a new community hospital. By year-end 2021, the Foundation’s support for the area’s programs and institutions had totaled over $56 million in grants and scholarships to 68 nonprofits in Salem County. The Foundation’s corpus at this writing is currently about $23 million due to the large infusion of funds to the Hospital. (No further distributions to the Hospital are anticipated.)

As the Foundation begins its third decade, it is steadfast in its commitment to improving the health and quality of life for people and communities within its footprint and prudent growth of the endowment back to $60 million.

The Purpose

The core imperatives for The Salem Health and Wellness Foundation’s next Director are to develop a strategic vision for how the Foundation can partner with stakeholders to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Salem County. The Director sets the tone for the Foundation’s overall approach to regional philanthropy, leading its strategy, people, and processes while modeling the visible, committed engagement at the heart of the Foundation’s values. Among the Foundation’s priorities are to leverage resources for community impact by attracting additional funds, programs, and champions to the region that are aligned with the Foundation’s vision. To do this, the Foundation will need to embrace a clear and measurable strategic direction, be a strong advocate for access to quality healthcare and healthy lifestyles. for its residents, and identify and attract nationally recognized subject-matter experts and consultants to advise the foundation and local nonprofits on investments in core strategic areas of interest.  Relationships and community engagement are core values for the Foundation.

Other considerations include the retirement of the Grants Manager / Administrator at the end of 2022. While the Foundation has been expertly managed, it will be a priority for the next Director to be familiar with grants management, grant making, and budgeting. The Director will have the opportunity to identify staffing needs and select the next generation of staff.

The Position

The ideal candidate to lead the Foundation will be an experienced health-related professional and leader well versed in grant making, community engagement, nonprofit dynamics, the social determinants of health, and the intricacies of place-based rural philanthropy in a county that has a high poverty rate. The Foundation is open to health professionals with varied backgrounds. In addition, the search committee is seeking a leader who has a track record for collaborating and engaging multiple stakeholders around a single vision for a community.

The ideal candidate will possess…

  • A minimum of 5 to 10 years of senior management or executive experience in a health-related environment including philanthropy, public health, rural health, health education, behavioral health, or other health-related industries.
  • Appreciation and respect for the dynamics and values of rural
  • Respect and knowledge of best philanthropic practices, including trust-based philanthropy principles.
  • Experience in implementing programs or grant making addressing social determinants of health.
  • Ability to bring resources to support major initiatives in the county, financial and otherwise – via government, Foundation, thought leadership, and skills by attracting external funders and thought leaders.
  • Interest and ability to participate in the life of the community in which they live and/or work as evidenced by a track record of civic engagement, public service, advocacy, or volunteerism.
  • Some philanthropic financial management knowledge to be able to work alongside the Foundation’s investment firm.
  • Knowledge of nonprofit management, finance, leadership, and capacity building to perform due diligence and provide support to nonprofit grantee partners.
  • Ability to work with people across diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds and listen to and build rapport with those with varying viewpoints and perceptions.
  • The cultural sensitivity to thrive in the Foundation’s footprint. While the Board does not require that the Executive Director live in or relocate to the area, candidates should be comfortable with the values, work styles, and lifestyles attendant to the region.
  • Experience working with a board and/or being a board member.
  • Experience leading, facilitating, or actively participating in strategic planning.
  • Political astuteness, intellectual curiosity, natural optimism, analytical ability, good listening skills, humility, and a sense of humor.
  • Excellent communication skills in all settings, from interpersonal to large groups. Knowledge and familiarity with social media platforms appropriate to Foundation goals.
  • A life-long learner and respect for professional development for oneself and others.

The Relationships

The Executive Director reports to: Board of Directors, Salem Health & Wellness Foundation

And manages: Grants Manager / Administrator and part-time community program associate (affiliated with Rutgers University)

Engages outside support with:

  • General Counsel, who reports to the Board but works closely with the Executive Director
  • Leaders from the Hospital, community nonprofits, academic institutions, civic associations, governmental units, and faith-based entities
  • Specialized consultants (philanthropy, marketing, technology)
  • Professional investment management advisors
  • Auditor

How to Apply

Send a letter of interest and resume to

Salary range and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.

The Salem Health & Wellness Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented applicants.