A conversation with Jed Orman

As we responded to COVID-19 and set a course for the future, 2020 was a year Novant Health overcame adversity and reimagined both healthcare and philanthropy.

In a conversation with Jed Orman, Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center Foundation board chair, he reflected on 2020, the new normal and what it means for our foundation’s future.

What accomplishments are you celebrating this year, and how did donors make them possible?

I think the best way to put it is “survival.” I am very pleased with all the adjustments we made as a foundation. We had to navigate how we meet, how we conduct business and how we engage with donors. It’s been a complete revamp, and we have some changes to implement this coming year.

For me, the biggest accomplishment was continuing to grow our donor base and our assets, despite the challenges and changes due to COVID-19. We continued to operate as a foundation and helped donors get involved as much as they could be, while still being aware of social distancing and respecting everyone’s health during this time.

Walk us through the year from your vantage point. What was it like being in a leadership role this year?

Leading was about finding creative ways to stay visible. We had a lot of support provided for our team members working at the hospital. It was eye-opening to see the level of community response across Davidson County.

When we had to cancel events, we had to get creative with how we raised funds. For instance, when we had to cancel the Jane Burt Williams Memorial Golf Classic, many of our sponsors let us keep funds as donations, which was fantastic. But we needed to make up for the money we typically raise at the event, and our year-end appeal was a way to do that. We reached out to board members and asked them to reach out to their networks, so we could do something special for front-line workers. It was a neat experience for us, and we raised $21,000 for our new Novant Health Wellness and Education Center

Executive director Rick Parker retired at the end of 2020 after 39 years of service in healthcare. What will you remember about Rick?

I was fortunate to serve alongside Rick for as long as I’ve been on the board. Not only was he a mentor for me in a multitude of ways, he also really changed how our foundation operated from both procedural and confidence standpoints. Rick came in and showed us what was possible. He changed the makeup of our board, and now it’s the strongest it’s ever been. We hate to see him go, but he put us in a great position to be successful. I wish him a happy and well-deserved retirement!

Improving health equity in our communities will be a core initiative for the foundation this year. What does health equity mean to you, and where do you see opportunities for growth?

I believe we should strive to eliminate inequality when it comes to providing healthcare for the community. For me, it’s about eliminating barriers to care and allowing every individual access to the treatment, advice and resources they need to improve their lives. The Wellness and Education Center will be a great opportunity to impact the community in many ways, including behavioral health, diabetic health, and education, among others. With what we’ve learned this year from a virtual standpoint, I think we have a huge opportunity to reallocate resources and focus on reaching everyone.