Jack Kannan has been named interim executive director of the new Wayne Memorial Hospital Foundation that will serve as the fundraising arm of the hospital.

His hiring was announced by Wayne Health Corp. board member Susan McCall during the board's Wednesday afternoon meeting.

"He is going to help us get our feet on the ground and get going," Ms. McCall told the News-Argus. "He is in a part-time position with us right now for our startup and probably will be with us for two or three years as we move to a more permanent director to take over after that."

He was hired Tuesday.

"He will help us develop the vision, the mission of the foundation," she said. "We need to start building a board of directors. He will keep us focused because right now we have so many ideas of things that we would like to do in the community and we are sort of scattered.

"So he is going to make us more cohesive and pull us all together so that we can get more done."

The foundation will focus on community health issues, she said.

The hospital is getting ready to do a strategic plan and the foundation will probably take a look at that when it is finished and see what the needs are, Ms. McCall said.

"They are going to do an assessment of the needs in this community," she said. "So we will see if there is some part of that we may take on that maybe the hospital can't take on for certain reasons.

"So that is sort of the role of the foundation to assist in that."

Also during the meeting the board voted to move what is known as the Lewis-O'Berry endowment of between $800,000 and $900,000 into the foundation.

The money has been sitting in an account waiting for the foundation to be formed, Ms. McCall said.

"It can go to work for different projects, get us up off the ground," Ms. McCall said. "It is a nice fund to start with. It was a nice gift to the hospital and the community that she left."

The foundation will start raising funds and all donations will be accepted, she said.

Kannan, who retired last year as executive director of the Foundation at Wayne Community College, is a Goldsboro High School graduate and Vietnam veteran.

Kannan was first hired at Wayne Community College as a counselor in the early 1970s. He later left to work in the private sector.

In the interim, he was a trustee at the college, serving as finance chairman at the time WCC began exploring starting a foundation.

He served on the first board of directors for the college's foundation.

After two terms as a trustee, and still working in the private sector, Kannan became part-time director of the college's foundation and then went to full time.

The hospital announced plans for the foundation last summer and approved bylaws last August.

The Wayne Health Corp. board agreed at that time that the foundation's charitable giving would not be limited to the hospital, a subsidiary of Wayne Health Corp., and could benefit other health care needs in the county.

The foundation is actually Wayne Health Corp.'s second one.

The first, Wayne Health Foundation, has become synonymous with WATCH, or Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, Wayne Health Corp. board Chairman Jim Parker said at the August 2016 meeting where the bylaws were approved.

Parker said the original intent was to leave WATCH separate and break the foundation away from it.

But WATCH officials approached the Wayne Health Corp. board and said it had been using Wayne Health Foundation's federal ID number.

To make a clear delineation, the board created the new foundation for the purposes of doing charitable things in the health care opportunities in the community and the hospital outside of WATCH.

For example, if the hospital wanted to build a cancer center, the foundation could raise money for extras that normally wouldn't be put there to make it even nicer.

Or it could raise money in general to endow the hospital.

The Wayne Health Corp. board will approve the foundation's budget, just as it does for other subsidiaries of the corporation.

The corporation can also fire foundation board members.

Wayne Health Corp. board members can call a special meeting of the foundation board as well as attend any foundation board meeting whether it is open or closed