Great Smokies Health Foundation Board Names New Executive Director

Great Smokies Health Foundation Board Names New Executive Director

After an extensive search, the Board of Directors of the Great Smokies Health Foundation GSHF) is pleased to announce the selection of Brian Huskey as the next Executive Director of the Foundation. He will succeed Michele Garashi-Ellick who has been with the Foundation since its inception in 2014 and is retiring. Brian will begin his new role on May 4th.

Heather Baker, Chair of the Board of Directors, says, “We are pleased to welcome Brian and excited to see the direction GSHF will take under his leadership. We feel fortunate to have someone with Brian’s experience ready to lead us in our next phase. Michele has accomplished so much in her tenure with GSHF and is leaving us in an excellent position.  We are sorry to see her go but wish her luck in her retirement.


Brian has an extensive background in non-profit management and local, state, and federal government grant administration, focused on serving marginalized populations. His prior service includes fund development and program oversight for Room In The Inn, an interdisciplinary homeless services center in Nashville, Tennessee; permanent supportive housing development and supportive services program implementation for Urban Housing Solutions, Tennessee’s largest private, non-profit affordable housing developer, and affordable housing lending at the Midlands Housing Trust Fund, at which he worked as Executive Director, leading the organization from its launch to certification by the United States Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution.


Most recently, Brian has served in the City of Asheville’s Community Development Division as the Continuum of Care Homelessness Lead. He was educated at Aquinas College (Nashville, TN) and the Episcopal Divinity School (Cambridge, MA).


“I’m deeply honored to be selected as the new Executive Director for the Great Smokies Health Foundation,” Brian said. “Michele and the Foundation’s Board of Directors have established a terrific, solid regional philanthropy. I’m excited to carry on its legacy, work with grantees, and learn about the communities served by the Foundation.”


 “It has been my pleasure to serve as the Executive Director of GSHF for the past 8 years and work with the Board of Directors to establish a positive strong Foundation to serve the health, wellness and prevention needs of the residents of western NC. I look forward to passing the torch to Brian to take the Foundation to the next level.”


Please join us at our office located at 1134A Skyland Drive, Sylva during our Open House on Thursday, May 5th from 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM and Friday May 6th from 11 AM - 3:00 PM to offer well wishes to Michele and meet Brian, the new Executive Director.