The Outer Banks Community Foundation awards quarterly Community Enrichment Grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations to help meet local needs and enrich the quality of life for the people of the Outer Banks.


What Do We Fund?

Community Enrichment Grants are awarded to projects that directly benefit all or a portion of our service area. Our service area includes all of Dare County, and all Outer Banks communities, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island. We currently do not award Community Enrichment Grants for projects targeting mainland Hyde or mainland Currituck.*

Eligible programs include:

  • Arts and/or culture
  • Animal welfare
  • Children and/or youth
  • Disaster relief and/or prevention
  • Education
  • The environment
  • Health
  • Historic preservation and/or interpretation
  • Other human services

Community Enrichment Grants are usually awarded to support the direct costs of a charitable project or program (e.g., art supplies, medical equipment, educational materials, vehicles).

We also will award Community Enrichment Grants to build the capacity of a charitable organization serving the Outer Banks, with a goal of enhancing that nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality—in short, its ability to meet its mission and sustain its programs. Examples might include computer systems, strategic planning, and/or facility space.

Priority will be given to projects and organizations that:

  • Involve or benefit a broad segment of our community.
  • Provide an innovative approach to addressing area needs.
  • Initiate new projects or programs to influence beneficial change.
  • Attract additional funding from other sources.
  • Promote an organization’s financial sustainability.
  • Promote collaboration and efficiencies amongst multiple organizations.
  • Fill gaps and address urgent community needs.

Community Enrichment Grants are generally not awarded for:

  • Annual operating expenses or salaries (see our FAQ for further definition).
  • Programs or projects that are typically supported by government or other charities, unless it is demonstrated that funding is not available from other sources.
  • Direct or grassroots lobbying.
  • Organizations that have a current, outstanding grant with the Community Foundation, unless special circumstances apply.

If you are seeking funds for a charitable project or organization that does not seem to fit the above criteria, please contact the Community Foundation staff. We may be able to recommend other potential funding sources, including one of the Community Foundation’s donor-advised funds.

*Currituck projects may be eligible for certain Special Field-of-Interest Grants.


Who Can Apply?

Any 501(c)3 organization is eligible to apply for a Community Enrichment Grant, as are other tax-exempt organizations for charitable projects that meet a public need, in accordance with IRS guidelines. Occasionally, schools and government agencies will be considered for Community Enrichment Grants, if it is demonstrated that financial support is not available from other sources. Please call our staff before applying. Schools and government agencies are eligible for certain Special Field-of-Interest Grants.

Community Enrichment Grants are never awarded to individuals.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation will consider Community Enrichment Grants to faith-based and religious entities for projects that address the needs of the wider community. We will not award Community Enrichment Grants for projects that primarily seek to promote religious beliefs or attempt to recruit new members to a particular religion. Please call our staff before applying.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, or disability.


How to Apply

Before applying, please first review these guidelines and our FAQ page online. Then, contact the Community Foundation staff to discuss your potential project and your funding needs. We recommend that you contact us before starting your application, and at least one week in advance of the application deadline.

Please be sure that all of your organization’s past grants are fully paid and closed, and that your organization has submitted all required final reports.

Once you’ve closed all past grants and contacted staff to discuss your project, you may click here to apply online.

NEW in 2016!! Introducing the EZ App! If you are requesting $5,000 or less, and your organization has received — and successfully completed — a Community Enrichment Grant from us within the past three years (36 months), you may be eligible to use our EZ App — our new, shorter and easier grant application. The EZ App runs on the same deadline as our full application, and will be reviewed on the same timeframe. However, before you can access the EZ App, your request must first be preapproved for the EZ App by our staff. Not all grant projects will be eligible. Please see our FAQ for more information, and contact us at 252-261-8838 to see if your project is eligible.

Deadlines: Our 2017 application deadlines are the following Fridays: January 27, April 28, July 28, and October 27. Grants are usually awarded by the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors on the first (or, sometimes, the second) Thursday of every March, June, September, and December. Any application received by April 28 will have its decision by June 1, 2017.


If You Receive a Grant

Grant Payments: Community Enrichment Grants are intended to reimburse an organization for its expenses and should be used within one year from the grant award date. If funds are left unspent at the end of the year, the grant recipient may contact the Community Foundation for an extension, or the funds will be returned to the endowment. Click here to download our Procedures for Grant Reimbursement.

We require that all Community Enrichment Grant recipients:

  • Publicize the Community Foundation grant as appropriate.
  • Complete a brief final report after the grant is complete. Unless special circumstances apply, your completion of this form will be required before your organization can receive another Community Enrichment Grant.


We Welcome Your Feedback

The Community Foundation invites your feedback on our grants program. We welcome comments from any nonprofit in any stage of the grants process; whether you have received a grant, just applied for a grant, been declined, or are even just considering applying, we want to hear from you. To submit your feedback anonymously, please use our online questionnaire. Your comments, concerns, praise, and criticism will help us become a better grant-maker for our community. This survey will be open indefinitely, and you can respond multiple times, now and/or in the future. If you would rather give us feedback directly, please call our staff any time at 252-261-8839.