We are pleased to announce Tom Brown joined the Trust this month as the new vice president of programs and Alison Elster joined in June as program coordinator.
Tom Brown, Vice President of Programs
As vice president of programs, Tom Brown will oversee the work of the Trust’s two program areas—Health Improvement in North Carolina and Local Impact in Forsyth County. Brown brings a diverse background in philanthropy, nonprofit management, and healthcare development to support the Trust team as it works to make long-term, sustainable change in the communities the Trust serves. The Trust released its updated Strategic Vision at the end of June, and Brown will be instrumental in managing the program team as it works to implement that vision locally and statewide to create thriving communities.
Prior to joining the Trust, Brown was the senior corporate grant writer at Novant Health Foundation. Before working at Novant, Brown served in several leadership roles with nonprofits and foundations including executive director of REAL Entrepreneurship, senior program officer at North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund, and executive director of Faith in Action, a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Brown also served as special assistant to Chancellor Alex Ewing for his entire tenure at the UNC School of the Arts where he was instrumental in the creation of the School of Filmmaking and the establishment of the School’s Summer Institute on Roanoke Island.
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Tom in the past, and I am excited to have his diverse skill set, experience, and expertise at the Trust,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Trust. “As the Trust strengthens its commitment to support equitable, healthy communities where residents have a voice, I am confident Tom will provide critical leadership to the program team as we work to ensure we are addressing the social determinants of health and using all of the tools of philanthropy to make long-term change.”
Brown holds a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In his free time, he serves on the board of Music Carolina, formerly the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players, and plays in the Home Moravian Church band.
Alison Elster, Program Coordinator
Alison Elster joined the Trust in June as program coordinator. In her role, she acts as the first point of contact for organizations seeking to apply for grants while also providing administrative and communications support for the program team and for the Trust’s two major long-term special initiatives: Healthy Places NC and Great Expectations.
Before joining the Trust, Elster served as the development assistant at Guilford Child Development, where she managed food pantry operations, established and maintained a new volunteer and intern program, and assisted with fundraising and events.
She received her undergraduate education at High Point University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She went on to obtain her Masters of Public Affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.