“We Came Wanting to Make a Difference”


No sooner than they were here, and now they are leaving us.

            Greg Weber joined The Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County in March of 2019, replacing Deborah Martin Mintz as the nonprofit’s longtime executive director. His wife, Marge Betley, would join the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, another nonprofit, as its major fundraising officer in May of 2019.

           “We came wanting to make a difference,” Weber says about the arts and the good health for all in this community.

            Weber sought new innovations and directions for The Arts Council, but he and the board of directors parted ways with Weber’s resignation. 

            Now, Marge Betley is taking her leave from the foundation to become chief executive officer for the Arkansas PBS Foundation in Conway, Arkansas, that provides funding for educational, informative and entertainment programming.

            “Marge has been a great asset to Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation over the past 15 months,” says Sabrina Brooks, executive director for the foundation. “She arrived just as we were beginning the planning for our fundraising effort to the Center for Medical Education and Research, which will house our ever-expanding medical residency program.

            “She brought a wealth of experience in fundraising for capital projects and communications to our organization, which truly helped jumpstart the silent phase of the campaign.

            “Marge hit the ground running and within a few short weeks was adding immense value to our work engaging the community in supporting the compassionate, quality health care provided by Cape Fear Valley Health,” Brooks says. “We look forward to resuming construction on the center and completing the fundraising necessary to make this project a reality.”

            ‘I’m very proud …’

            Betley will tell you her time may have been short-lived with the health foundation, but the work and the foundation mean so much to this community and surrounding counties served by Cape Fear Valley Health.

            “I believe that Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation is a cornerstone of this community,” Betley says. “Most people assume because a health system is a large operation that it has unlimited resources. The truth is, most hospital systems operate on very thin margins, and philanthropy makes an enormous difference in their ability to provide the highest standards of care. Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation helps our health system transform excellent health care into true caring for the community.”

 

Betley said the foundation provides so many resources that can add a level of comfort to a patient’s experience – from lift and transport equipment for moving patients to comfort items like teddy bears and coloring books to make a hospital visit less scary for the youngest patients. It provides financial resources to ensure that medical technology and equipment are the most current and effective.

             “And the foundation makes a longer-term impact on the health of this region by supporting continuing education for nurses and a residency program to bring new physicians to our area,” Betley says. “The foundation is absolutely essential to the health and well-being of this region, and I’m very proud to have been a part of this team.”

            ‘We are excited’

            Greg Weber says his wife was passionate about her work with the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, just as he was with The Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County.

            “There still are some great things that can happen,” he says about the arts in this community. “But Marge landed a pretty big position, and they recruited her. We are excited as the dickens. Conway has three universities and it is not far from a cabin near Houston, Texas, where we liked to go. The mountains are gorgeous, and I like to fish.”

            Weber says he likely will pursue a consulting career and hone his cooking skills.

            “I like to cook,” he says with unbridled enthusiasm.

            But Weber says he will miss the people the couple met in this community.

            Marge Bentley agrees.
            Weber has served as former CEO of the Tulsa Opera in Oklahoma and once was director of production for the San Francisco Opera Association and technical director of the Houston Grand Opera Association. She has worked the National Endowment for the Arts, the municipal theater in Aachen, Germany, countless performing arts organizations from the west coast to the east coast, and as chief development and communications officer with Family & Children’s Services in Oklahoma, and the Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma chapter.

            “Our next adventure takes us to Arkansas,” says Betley, whose final day with the foundation here is September 22. “Much like the relationship of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation to Cape Fear Valley Health, we are the philanthropic support partner of the Arkansas PBS network.”

            Epilogue
            A last word, if you will, from Sabrina Brooks.

                “This community and Cape Fear Valley Health will be a healthier place because Marge came our way for a short period of time,” she says. “We wish her all the best in her new career opportunity.”

            And, if you will, a last word from Greg Weber.

            “We came,” he says, “wanting to make a difference.”  

            Some of us believe Greg Weber and Marge Betley did, and I would be one of them.

            Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@CityView.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961