Partnering with local nonprofits
to understand and address social determinants of health and well-being in Western North Carolina.
Our Guiding Principles
Dogwood Health Trust's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is unwavering in our work to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina.
Our approach to that work is shaped by our guiding principles:
Keep People and Communities First.
We honor the diversity of lived experiences across Western North Carolina by listening to understand before seeking to be understood.
Pursue Strategic and Systemic Change.
We seek to catalyze transformative, multigenerational impact through data-informed and culturally competent decisions.
Be Accountable Stewards of Dogwood’s Resources.
We assume responsibility for making decisions that marshal the Trust’s resources for maximum positive impact.
• Population of all 18 Counties - 901,715
• Median Household Income - $42,670 Nat. Median $55,322
• Persons Below Poverty Level - 15.8% Nat. Average 12.7%
• With Disability < 65 - 11.8% Nat. Average 8.6%
• Without Health Insurance < 65 - 13.5% Nat. Average 10.1%
• Bachelor’s Degree or Higher - 26.5% Nat. Average 30.3%
• Civilian Labor Force - 55.4% Nat. Average 63.1%
• Persons Age 65 and Over - 22% Nat. Average 15.2%
Our Board of Directors
The Dogwood Health Trust board of directors must be reflective of the geography, diversity and cultures found across the eighteen westernmost counties of North Carolina. We welcome nominations for potential board and committee members.
JANICE BRUMIT, CHAIR
Janice Brumit was born in Boone, NC, a town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. She graduated from Appalachian State University. As a native of Western North Carolina, Mrs. Brumit has strong ties to the people and communities of our region and has spent the last 30 years serving on various local and state-wide nonprofit boards to improve the lives of its citizens. She has a passion for education, children and access to quality healthcare. She believes that strengthening families, economic opportunities, and education are key to building strong communities. Mrs. Brumit, along with her husband Joe Brumit, owns and operates 51 Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurants in North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. In Western North Carolina, the Brumits have restaurants located in Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Swain, Macon, McDowell, Burke, Madison, Transylvania, Watauga and Rutherford counties. Mrs. Brumit has received numerous awards for her community service, including the Mountain Child Advocacy Award and the North Carolina Hospital Association Trustee Merit Award in 2017. Her current and prior regional Board service includes Asheville Area Chamber, United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County – Alexis de Tocqueville Society, Blue Ridge Heritage Area, Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), North Carolina Rural Center, and the UNC-Asheville Board of Trustees.
JOHN F.A.V. CECIL, VICE CHAIR
Jack Cecil, President of Biltmore Farms, LLC, has been in the community development business for more than 30 years. He joined Biltmore Farms, a 4th generation family-owned business, in 1984 and has served as its President since 1992. Mr. Cecil received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and earned his M.I.M. from the American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona. Mr. Cecil currently serves as a Trustee of The Duke Endowment; Director of SCANA Corporation; Director of Barron Collier Management, LLC; Board of Directors of The Research Triangle Foundation of N.C.; Board of Directors of the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation; Chair and Member of the National Advisory Board of the Institute for Emerging Issues; Chair, WNC Regional Advisory Board of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; and Governor, Urban Land Institute Foundation. In addition to having been actively involved with Mission Health for over 18 years, chairing Mission’s Board of Directors in 2007-2008. Mr. Cecil has previously served on the Boards of Directors for UNC Board of Governors, UNC-Asheville Board of Trustees, N.C. Economic Development Board, NC Biotechnology Center, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Commission, HandMade in America, and United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County. He has been happily married to Sarah Mettler Cecil since 1993, and they have four wonderful sons.
JOHN R. BALL, MD, JD
Dr. John Ball is a former medical executive, having served as chief executive officer of the American College of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and Pennsylvania Hospital, and as Interim President of the Milbank Memorial Fund. Dr. Ball received M.D. and J.D. degrees from Duke University, where he also took a residency in internal medicine. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at George Washington University. Following clinical training, Dr. Ball spent six years in the U.S. Public Health Service, three of which were in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President. While at Pennsylvania Hospital, Dr. Ball guided the nation’s first hospital through a merger with the University of Pennsylvania Health System and oversaw the creation of a conversion foundation. He is an elected member of the Society of Medical Administrators, the American Clinical and Climatological Association, and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). Previous non-profit board service includes past chair of Mission Health Board, Pennsylvania Hospital, Healthcare Association of Pennsylvania, Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, Sun Valley Forum on National Heath, and Presbyterian Medical Mission Fund. He is married to Jean Dillon, and they live in Asheville.
Vivian Bolanos has lived and worked in Henderson County since 2000, first working at Roper Insurance Agency in Hendersonville and serving as a General Education Development Instructor at Blue Ridge Community College for the Spanish Community. Currently, Ms. Bolanos is Vice President and Business Development Officer for First Bank, a position she has held since 2013 and includes responsibilities for the development of relationships for businesses for four Banking Centers in Henderson, Transylvania and Buncombe Counties. Her eighteen-year experience in management in the service and banking industries includes leadership positions with Mountain 1st Bank & Trust in Hendersonville & Etowah, NC and Asheville Savings Bank - now First Bank in Hendersonville, NC. She also held several positions at Carolina First in Hendersonville. Ms. Bolanos is a committed community advocate and volunteer and serves as a Board member for the United Way of Henderson County, Safelight (formerly The Healing Place/Mainstay), a board position she’s held since 2011, and Pardee UNC Health Care. Additionally, she was appointed recently to serve as a member of the Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Ms. Bolanos attended the University Estatal of Cuenca, Ecuador – Law School, and she is currently attending the North Carolina School of Banking at Chapel Hill.
Jackie Godlock has devoted more than 25 years to community service in Rutherford County and surrounding areas, focusing especially on enhancing inclusionary opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She has served the last 15 years as a Business Relations Representative for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, covering a four-county area to help people remove barriers to meaningful employment. Previously, Mrs. Godlock served as an Employment Specialist at Rutherford Life Services. A graduate of Ashworth College and North Carolina’s Leadership DHHS program, Mrs. Godlock has a history of community involvement including service on the boards of trustees for Rutherford Regional Hospital and Isothermal Community College. Mrs. Godlock also serves as an ambassador for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and as a mentor for The McNair Educational Foundation, which fosters college and career awareness, readiness and success for all students in Rutherford County. Her husband Leon serves as a lieutenant with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, and they are the parents of two adult daughters.
Dawna Goode-Ledbetter has been an advocate for health equity and community development in McDowell County for more than 20 years. She currently serves as the Outreach Coordinator at the McDowell Senior Center, where she helps facilitate home services for residents and oversees the Seniors’ Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), assisting Medicare beneficiaries to make informed decision about their health care needs. Ms. Goode-Ledbetter, a graduate of McDowell Technical Community College has long history of community involvement including service as a member of the executive board of the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, chair of the board of the West Marion Community Forum, Inc. and as co-chair of the McDowell County Health Coalition. Ms. Goode-Ledbetter was the recipient of the 2019 Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award which recognizes individuals or groups who make a difference in their communities or places of work by using their time, talents and compassion to positively impact the lives of others. She is a proud mom of three children and seven grandchildren.
Sam Lupas has been involved in the Cashiers real estate industry for more than 25 years as an investor, developer and broker, and as the founding partner of Landmark Realty Group. Mr. Lupas is an active member of the community having served on the Board of Trustees at The Summit Charter School, The Cashiers Community Foundation, The Village Conservancy, The Village Council, and the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Board. Specializing in investment and development properties, Mr. Lupas brings an experienced perspective to the Dogwood Board as the developer of Lake Glenville and Cashiers area communities, as well as many in-town commercial properties. Mr. Lupas is a graduate of The Hill School and The University of Vermont. He lives in Glenville with his wife, Wendy, and their three children.
GEORGE D. RENFRO
George Renfro is the retired co-owner and COO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company Affiliated, Inc., which covered all 18 counties of Western North Carolina (plus the counties surrounding Hickory and North Wilkesboro), South Carolina west of Columbia, and northern Georgia. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and serves on the Buncombe County Vulnerable Care Task Force. Mr. Renfro grew up in Yancey County and graduated from Cane River High School. He graduated from Mars Hill College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a minor in Math. Over the past 43 years, Mr. Renfro has served on the Boards of Directors for numerous organizations including: past chair of the Mission Investment Committee, Daniel Boone Council of Boy Scouts; United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County; Mars Hill College; UNCA Foundation; Community Foundation of Western North Carolina; North Carolina Kidney Foundation; Mission Hospital McDowell; Angel Medical Center; ABCCM; and the Macon County Vulnerable Care Task Force. Mr. Renfro and his wife, Donna, have two children and four grandchildren.
ROBERT C. ROBERTS
Bob Roberts is the Regional Executive Vice President for First Citizens Bank & Trust Company and has 33 years’ experience in the banking and financial business. In his current role as Regional Executive Vice President, he has management and oversight of 104 branch locations across four states (NC, VA, TN and WV) totaling roughly 700 associates. In North Carolina, his responsibilities cover the 28 western-most counties plus the Cherokee Indian Reservation, and in Virginia, his responsibilities cover 19 counties across the state from Richmond to Roanoke. Mr. Roberts is very active in several community organizations currently serving on the Board of Trustees at Western Carolina University, as current chairman of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority, and past chairman of the Mission Health Board. Previously, Mr. Roberts served on the Boards of Directors for Eblen Charities, A-B Tech Foundation, UNC-Asheville Foundation, NC Community Foundation of Cherokee County, YMCA of Western North Carolina, the United Way organizations for Transylvania County, Cherokee County, Canton, and Asheville & Buncombe County, the Salvation Army, and the Economic Development Coalition. Mr. Roberts graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. He and his wife, Carol, have three children.
JACKIE (JACQUELYN) S. SIMMS
Jackie Shropshire Simms has been a passionate advocate for education and children with hearing impairment for over 50 years. As a teacher in the state's Early Intervention Program for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, she has worked with families of children who were deaf or hard of hearing and with county interagency coordinating councils in all 18 of the westernmost counties of North Carolina. Additionally, she served as Director of the Preschool Satellite Program of the Western North Carolina School for the Deaf. Ms. Simms is an Ethical Culture Officiant and Humanist Celebrant with the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville and serves as the current Vice President of its Board of Directors. She is past President of the Final Exit Network of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ms. Simms holds a Master of Education of the Deaf (M.E.D.) degree from Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and from Langston University. Born in Missouri, she grew up attending segregated schools, and moved to Oklahoma at a young age when her father, who himself had to seek higher education outside of his home state due to Jim Crow laws, accepted a job and later became Director of the Division of Education at Langston University, a historically black college. After completing her education, Ms. Simms returned to Missouri and worked predominantly for the Special School District of St. Louis County, until relocating to Asheville in 1990. Ms. Simms has volunteered for Building Bridges of Asheville for the past twenty-five years and has filled various volunteer positions for the American Ethical Union for the past 40 years – since 1978. During the summers of 2004 and 2005, Ms. Simms worked on evaluating the written tests of candidates for National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Exceptional Needs Specialist certification. She has also been a member and correspondent for the Mountain Area Interfaith Forum. In 2016, Ms. Simms was presented with the Martin Luther King, Jr. award by The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County. In 2018, she was honored for having served on the Board of the Ethical Society of Asheville from its founding in 2001 to 2018. A widow, she along with her husband of 47 years, have one adult daughter.
WYATT S. STEVENS, JD
Wyatt Stevens, an Asheville native, is a shareholder in the law firm of Roberts & Stevens, P.A. with over 23 years of experience in complex personal injury litigation and commercial litigation. Mr. Stevens has represented individuals, businesses and organizations, and he regularly travels throughout Western North Carolina handling legal matters in each of the 18 counties served by Mission Health. Former clients include Swain County and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and current clients include The Biltmore Company, Ingles Markets, Inc., the North Carolina Ski Areas Association and numerous other individuals and businesses throughout the region. Mr. Stevens is AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, has been recognized in Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite, and his peers have honored him as a North Carolina Super Lawyer. He received both his law degree and his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition to serving as a Director of Asheville Savings Bank for 14 years, Mr. Stevens has served on several nonprofit Boards of Directors including Buncombe Partnership for Children, Friends of the Smokies, Mission Health (Immediate Past Chair), Mountain Housing Opportunities, Nature Conservancy of North Carolina, and Pisgah Legal Services. He and his wife, Kim Stevens, have two children.
Sarah Thompson has spent her entire career creating relationships and building bridges of opportunity. As executive director of the Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission, she oversees programs related to workforce advancement and retention, aging services, and community and economic investment in the state’s seven westernmost counties. Since 2016, she has also served as administrator of the Mountain West Partnership, an organization that helps facilitate networking and capital financing opportunities for new or existing businesses in Western North Carolina. Previously, Ms. Thompson was executive director of the Downtown Sylva Association (now known as the Main Street Sylva Association), which works to enhance the city’s urban areas. She also served as Sylva city commissioner from 2007 to 2011 and chaired the Jackson County Planning Board from 2013 to 2015. Ms. Thompson currently chairs the Board of Thread Capital, which connects small businesses with funding, personalized coaching and social capital enhancement opportunities, and is member of the board of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and earned her master’s in public affairs from Western Carolina University.
DONNA TIPTON-ROGERS, ED.D
Donna Tipton-Rogers, Ed.D, has served communities at the westernmost end of North Carolina for more than 20 years, with a focus on advocating for equity and inclusion. A Cherokee County native and graduate of Murphy High School, Dr. Tipton-Rogers made an impact as director of Tri-County Community College’s Graham County Center, where she was named dean in 1998 and vice president in 2001. In 2007 she became the first woman to serve as president of TCCC, a position she holds to this day. Dr. Tipton-Rogers has held a number of other community leadership positions, including member-at-large of the North Carolina Complete Count Coalition; co-chair of the North Carolina Task Force on Rural Health; vice chair of the legislative committee for the North Carolina Community College Presidents Association; and board member of The Cherokee Preservation Foundation. Her nomination by Gov. Roy Cooper to serve on the North Carolina State Board of Education is pending approval by the state legislature. Dr. Tipton-Rogers earned a B.A. in history and business administration from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, an M.A. in history from the College of Charleston, and an Ed.D. in educational administration and policy studies in higher education from the University of Tennessee. She and her husband, Hayden, reside in Brasstown with their daughters, Torin and Lochlan.
Martha Tyner is employed by her family’s business, Tyner Construction Company, Inc., which has locations in Burnsville, NC and Asheville, NC. She has worked as a Project Manager, Corporate Secretary, Office Manager, Customer Relationship Specialist, and currently serves as its Business Controller. Ms. Tyner attended Asheville City Schools and graduated from Western Carolina University. She previously served as Chair and Vice Chair on the Blue Ridge Hospital Board of Directors. From 2003-2007, Ms. Tyner served on the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Foundation Board. During her free time, she enjoys cycling, hiking and being outside and also teaches a Spin Class at Blue Ridge Fitness Center in Burnsville NC. Ms. Tyner is married to Harrison Tyner and together they have been community and Blue Ridge Regional Hospital advocates for many years. They have two adult children, a son and a daughter.