Historic Foundation executive takes personal leave
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY ó Mourning the loss of her mother and pulled between three cities, Cynthia Cole Jenkins said sheís made the difficult decision to take a leave of absence from her new job as executive director of Historic Salisbury Foundation.
The leave, which begins Friday, is open-ended. Jenkins said she doesnít know when she will return but plans to resume her duties after dealing with personal matters.
Soon after Jenkins took the job March 1, things began to go wrong in her personal life.
Her house in Charleston, S.C., has never sold.
Her husband has suffered health problems, and her mother died unexpectedly in April.
The couple are moving out of the historic home theyíve been renting at the corner of Fulton and Horah streets.
ěEven my dog was sick,î Jenkins said. ěItís been a tough four or five months.î
Most possessions will go into storage here until they find another house to rent or buy, she said.
Jenkins must pack up and sell her motherís house in Myrtle Beach, which contains 40-plus years of belongings.
ěThese arenít things you can get done on a weekend,î Jenkins said. ěI needed a break.î
She and her husband will split their time between their mountain home near Landrum, S.C., and his motherís house in Beaufort, S.C.
Jenkins said she had no idea how difficult her motherís death would be.
ěPeople kept telling me, when you lose your mom, itís the worst thing you ever go through,î she said.
Salisbury has been a wonderful and welcoming community, Jenkins said. It wasnít fair to stay in the job when she couldnít give 100 percent, she said.
ěIt is a tremendous amount of work,î she said.
Maintaining the foundationís four properties ó the depot, Hall House, Grimes Mill and the ice house on Horah Street at the railroad tracks ó in addition to other real estate, protective covenants, events and more require the full attention of the executive director, Jenkins said.
She plans to return to her job.
ěWell, I hope so,î she said. ěThatís what weíre working toward.î
David Post will serve as executive business manager during the interim. Post has been active in the foundationís membership and is a new member on the board of directors.
He will resign from the board to lead the organization, Jenkins said.
Post, a CPA and lawyer, is one of the owners of Salisbury Pharmacy and has had a range of experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.
As a businessman, Post can review operating and personnel policies, work to integrate technology into the organization and address other items that nonprofits sometimes neglect, Jenkins said.
ěItís opportunity for us to reassess,î she said. ěHe will look at things with different eyes.î
The foundationís major fundraiser, OctoberTour, will continue as planned Oct. 8 and 9.
Led by Post and Christine Wilson on the foundationís staff, OctoberTour preparations are running smoothly, said Jenkins, who plans to attend the event.
Susan Sides, president of the foundation, said the group looks forward to Jenkinsí return in a few months.
ěCynthia Jenkins has become one of Salisburyís most popular citizens and respected advocates,î Sides said in a statement. ěShe has immersed herself into our community and its history. In a short period of time, Cynthia has made literally hundreds of friends, has become one of Salisburyís most knowledgeable historians, and has added an incredible richness to the mosaic that makes Salisbury the historic and wonderful city it is.î
Before taking the helm at Historic Salisbury Foundation, Jenkins served as executive director of the Historic Beaufort Foundation and the Preservation Society of Charleston and as a professor in the graduate program in Historic Preservation at Clemson University and the College of Charleston.
ěI look forward to getting all of these issues resolved and getting back to work,î Jenkins said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.