As Director, Healthy Food, Merry leads the Foundation’s efforts to strengthen our North Carolina food system and ensure that everyone has access to healthy food.
Merry joined the Blue Cross NC Foundation in 2016. She is a seasoned strategist, program designer, project manager, evaluator, and communicator. She has been working for more than 20 years to improve health and well-being throughout the country with leading foundations, universities and, research organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, California HealthCare Foundation, Duke University, RTI International, and as an independent consultant to foundations, nonprofit organizations, and health systems. Merry earned her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
What I love about my work:
I am deeply committed to contributing to the changes needed to help ensure everyone has a fair chance for good health, in North Carolina, across our country, and in the larger world. I believe that authentic collaboration is key for creating effective and lasting change. Here at the Foundation, I love that, at the end of the day, I get to develop deep relationships and partnerships with an incredible variety of people and organizations to help build a food system that is healthy, accessible, affordable, and fair for everyone in North Carolina.
When not at my desk:
I love North Carolina’s four distinct seasons, each with its own special gifts. In the spring, you can find me at a farmer’s market or an outdoor music performance. In the summer, you’ll find me with my husband and two daughters playing on the beach at Topsail Island—my longtime favorite NC beach. In the fall, nothing beats the mountains for hiking and enjoying the changing leaves. And, I am grateful for the mild winters with just enough snow for just a couple of days of good sledding. Year-round, we take advantage of living near the Eno River by hiking, swimming, and enjoying that gorgeous setting.
Favorite thing about North Carolina:
Just one thing? Impossible! North Carolina is my adopted home state. I fell in love with its beauty, its people, and its warm culture when I visited relatives here as a child. It is where I chose to go to college and—after living in some other pretty incredible places—it is where I chose to return to raise my family. I treasure the long growing season, the abundance of fresh, local foods, the entrepreneurial drive and passion of our local growers, and other food entrepreneurs for connecting more North Carolinians to healthy local food—including me!