Community Foundation Awards $56,050 in Covid-19 Rapid Response Grants to Eight Nonprofits

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced $56,050 in COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants to eight local nonprofits, supporting their efforts to provide for the basic, urgent needs of Outer Bankers during the COVID-19 emergency.

“The Coronavirus has created an unprecedented crisis for our community,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director, “but our nonprofits, including the Community Foundation, are rising to the occasion in unprecedented and astounding ways.”

“Many amazing community groups, volunteers, and donors are providing food, financial assistance, internet connectivity, and medical care to help those who are out of work or otherwise under-resourced,” she said. “The Community Foundation is honored to assist these efforts, and we are ready to do more in the coming months and weeks.”

The Community Foundation awarded more than $21,000 to local food assistance programs, from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras Island to Ocracoke, including the Beach Food Pantry, the Bread of Life Food Pantry in Ocracoke, and the Buxton Food Pantry. The Albemarle Development Corporation also received assistance to serve daily prepared meals to at-risk seniors from the Baum Center in Kill Devil Hills.

More than $22,000 was awarded to provide financial assistance to Dare County residents who are out of work due to Coronavirus closures. Interfaith Community Outreach and Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men will use this grant money to help families that are most affected by unemployment or underemployment, including local seasonal workers who are affected by closures, or those workers without sick time or paid leave. These grants will help families afford rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills, and more.

The Community Clinic of Dare received $3,608 to upgrade their facility to allow for better sanitation, social distancing, and telemedicine. The clinic provides free primary medical care, medication assistance, and health and wellness education to approximately 550 uninsured and underinsured patients each year who live or work in Dare County.

The Ocracoke Youth Center was awarded $4,225 to provide internet hotspots for Ocracoke students who do not already have internet at home. In addition, earlier this week, Dare Education Foundation, in partnership with Dare County Schools, received $4,500 to provide home internet access to under-resourced families in Dare County. The goal of these grants is to allow students to participate in remote learning and online classes through the mandated school closures.

“We have been blessed at the Community Foundation to receive several bequests, major donations, and legacy gifts over the years to endow our community grant-making,” said Ms. Costa. “This has given us the flexibility to rapidly respond to quickly-changing community needs as they emerge. We are so grateful to our donors that have allowed us to be innovative in meeting community needs during this uncertain time.”

The Outer Banks Community Foundation will continue accepting applications for its COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program. Grant requests will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed every two weeks to ensure quick decisions and timely programs. The second application deadline is 5:00 pm on Thursday, April 2, with decisions announced on Friday, April 3.

To be eligible for a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant, programs must be related to the Coronavirus crisis, either directly (e.g., care for patients) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to workers without child care). To apply for a COVID-19 Grant, nonprofits should first call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their programs and their funding needs. Requests can be submitted via a one- or two-page letter, briefly describing the nonprofit’s mission, the project at hand, the dollar amount requested, the local need it would meet, and the beneficiaries of the proposed program. You can find more information about all of these programs, and how to apply, at

Community Foundation Awards $67,400 in Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation awarded $67,400 in Community Enrichment Grants last week, supporting arts, children, animals, historic preservation, people battling cancer, and more. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, local nonprofits have funding for projects that will positively impact residents and visitors across the Outer Banks.

The Chicamacomico Historical Association was awarded $25,000 to expand their protected historic site through the purchase of adjacent land. The additional acreage will ensure the continued preservation, integrity, and beauty of the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Chicamacomico is the most complete remaining Life-Saving Station in the United States, and enjoys more than 10,000 visits each year.

Coastal Family Church was awarded $5,000 for After Prom OBX, an annual event that promises to “rock the socks off” students with free food, music, scholarships, dorm packages, cash prizes, gift certificates, and much more. After Prom, a non-religious event that is open to any high school prom-goer from Dare County, encourages students to “make good choices on prom night, while making memories with their friends.” The event is in its twelfth year; in 2019, nearly 500 students participated in After Prom.

The Don and Catharine Bryan Cultural Series received $7,500 for a residency program for Dare County schools by Latin Ballet of Virginia. Based in Richmond, Latin Ballet’s mission to “create and strengthen connections to Hispanic/Latin American cultures through innovative, immersive, dance-inspired education and performance that effect positive and sustainable change in people’s lives.” The residency in the Dare County Schools will include classroom workshops, master classes, a Latin Cultural Event, and a public performance.

Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation was awarded $3,600 for a new website and a new laptop for their volunteers. The Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation is an all-volunteer organization that raises and disburses funds to financially assist those on Hatteras Island who are fighting cancer. Since 2001, the HI Cancer Foundation has gifted more than $900,000 to deserving individuals.

Roanoke Island Historical Association (RIHA) received $5,000 for new audio equipment for the SoundStage, a facility that is used by RIHA for Children’s Theatre Performances, Youth Theatre Arts Camps, Theatre Academy for Teens, and more. The space is also used in the off-season by other community groups, like the Dare County Arts Council and Theatre of Dare, among others.

Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (NEST) was awarded $8,800 for two ATVs to increase volunteer beach patrols to find, monitor, and care for sea turtle nests. NEST was established in 1995 and has nearly 300 active volunteers that patrol the beaches for sea turtles from Oregon Inlet to the Virginia State Line. They estimate that tens of thousands of sea turtles and hatchlings have been rescued by their group.

NC Coastal Federation received $7,500 for their Restaurant-to-Reef Oyster Shell Recycling Program. Established in 1982, the NC Coast Federation will use our grant to purchase large storage bins to collect oyster shells from restaurants. The shells will then be used in shoreline and offshore reef restoration in Dare and Hyde counties.

Outer Banks Children’s Museum was awarded $5,000 for signage, educational materials, and exhibit artwork for a new children’s museum in Kitty Hawk. The new museum plans to open in Spring 2020. It will feature several themed, hands-on learning exhibits, including a classroom/event room, outdoor garden, mining exhibit, and water table features.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications for its Community Enrichment, Special Focus, and COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Programs. You can find more information about all of these programs, and how to apply, at

Community Foundation Announces Availability of COVID-19 Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced several actions to support the Outer Banks through the Coronaviris crisis.

Specifically, the Community Foundation has initiated a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants Program, including its first grant to provide home internet access to every student in the Dare County School System. The Community Foundation has also extended its online scholarship application deadline by one week, to March 29, to allow students with disrupted internet access ample opportunity to apply.

According to Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director, while there has yet to be a confirmed local case of COVID-19, the Outer Banks — and especially the local nonprofit sector — has been deeply affected by the crisis.

“Local closures and cancellations are profoundly impacting businesses, students, and families,” said Ms. Costa, “and our nonprofits are leading the community response, working to continue, adapt, and even expand their programs to help residents through this tumultuous time.”

Nonprofits are already increasing their financial, educational, and nutritional assistance programs, she said, to families affected by community closures — while protecting their own volunteers, employees, and clients from potential exposure.

“Should the COVID-19 virus spread to the Outer Banks, our nonprofit community will really be on the front lines, providing medical services, food, and critical care for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Ms. Costa.

To support local charitable programs as they evolve, the Community Foundation has initiated the COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants Program, which will help nonprofits provide vital services to the Outer Banks through the Coronavirus crisis. Those services could include child care, elder care, medical care, emergency response services, financial assistance to people out of work, nutritional assistance, and beyond. Grant requests will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed every two weeks to ensure quick decisions and timely programs.

The first Rapid Response Grant has already been announced: $4,500 to the Dare Education Foundation, in partnership with Dare County Schools, to provide home internet access to under-resourced families with school-age children who don’t already have home wi-fi.

To apply for a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant, nonprofits are encouraged to first call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their programs, their contingency plans, and their funding needs. To be eligible for a Rapid Response Grant, programs must be related to the COVID-19 crisis, either directly (e.g., care for patients) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to workers without child care). Requests can be submitted via a one- or two-page letter, briefly describing the nonprofit’s mission, the project at hand, the dollar amount requested, the local need it would meet, and the beneficiaries of the proposed program. Complete instructions are online at

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues, with funding decisions every two weeks. To be considered in the first round, applications must be received by 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 19, for a decision on Friday, March 20. The second round application deadline is 5:00 pm on Thursday, April 2, with decisions announced on Friday, April 3. Subsequent deadlines and guidelines will be announced as local needs evolve.

“For our first COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant, we were honored for the opportunity to partner with the Dare Education Foundation and the Dare County Schools,” said Ms. Costa. “This grant will ensure that every child in Dare County has online access to participate in the Dare County Schools’ new Remote Learning program, which commences on March 23 through school closures.”

The grant will also ensure that graduating seniors have home internet access to apply online for college, for scholarships, and/or for employment. To give equal opportunity to all scholarship seekers, the Community Foundation extended its own scholarship deadline by one week, to Sunday, March 29. The extra week will make certain that all students have internet access at home in order to apply, through the aforementioned program.

The Community Foundation administers 55 scholarship programs and expects to award $173,000 this year in scholarships. Students may apply online by clicking here.

Community Foundation Statement on Coronavirus

Like so many members of our community, the staff and board of the Outer Banks Community Foundation are closely monitoring COVID-19. Internally, we are taking necessary steps in our office and business affairs to limit the potential for spreading any illness, and for protecting the health and safety of our employees, visitors, and constituents.

Just as important, our thoughts turn to our neighbors, both here and afar.

Your Community Foundation is ready to support the Outer Banks if and when local needs arise. This is an uncertain time, and we are working to connect with our nonprofit partners to learn of their contingency plans, to encourage local readiness, and to ascertain local needs as they begin to surface and evolve.

Should the Coronavirus spread to the Outer Banks, our nonprofit community will doubtless be on the front lines of the outbreak, providing medical services, nutritional assistance, financial support to people in need, and critical care for our most vulnerable neighbors. As ever, your Community Foundation will be here to help.

If your nonprofit has special needs related to the outbreak, contingency plans to share, or concerns for our community, please call our Executive Director, Lorelei Costa, at 252-261-8839. We want to hear from you.

We also recommend this page of relevant state, national and international links and resources, compiled by the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits:

Our prayers are with our friends across North Carolina, the United States, and the World.

Lorelei Costa with Dare County Board of Commissioners

Executive Director Lorelei Costa presented to the Dare County Board of Commissioners on Monday, March 2 to share an update on Hurricane Dorian Relief and the Community Foundation’s Vision 2020 Grants. Chairman Bob Woodward gives an introduction at 2:38 minutes into this video; at 33:30 minutes, Lorelei gives a brief update on where the Community Foundation’s disaster relief funding has been applied, to date, and announces the Vision 2020 Grants Program—the result of an anonymous, six-figure donation that will be used to move the needle on a significant, pressing, and current community need. Application for Vision 2020 will be released on Monday, March 23.


Community Foundation Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications online. As a response to the growing concerns and procedural changes in our local schools due to COVID-19 the NEW Scholarship application deadline for students & student recommendations is Sunday, March 29, 2020 11:59 PM EDT. We have 55 different scholarships available, and about $173,000 to give away this year. We look forward to getting your application!

How to Start: CLICK HERE to begin your application. This link will take you to a short questionnaire that helps you identify the right scholarships for you. Answer each question in the questionnaire as completely and accurately as possible, and you’ll get a list of the scholarships that you may be eligible to receive. Select the scholarships that seem to fit you, and start your application.

Create an Account: You must create a (free) account in the system in order to apply. By creating an account, you can save an incomplete application, and log back into the system later to complete it. To log back into the system to finish your application, go to, click login, enter the email and password for your account, and you will see the list of all of your applications, including incomplete, pending, and submitted applications.

Common Application: Students complete one common application for all Community Foundation scholarships. That means that once a student completes his/her first application in our system, all of the information from that first application carries over to his/her next applications. This includes financial information, academic information, extracurricular information, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. The only part of the application that a student must complete individually for each scholarship is the essay question at the end.

Letters of Recommendation: We require two letters of recommendation. The application form will prompt the applicant to identify two people to submit letters. The system will automatically email your recommenders once you enter their email addresses. It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure that their recommenders upload their letters by the March 29 deadline. We regret that late letters cannot be accepted.

Need-Based Awards: Though many of the Community Foundation’s scholarships are merit-based, the majority of awards consider financial need. For the need-based awards, students should complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and upload the resulting Student Aid Report into their application. Students whose citizenship status prevents their completion of a FAFSA (e.g., DACA students) may still be considered for need-based awards and should talk to their guidance counselors for instruction.

Students, start your applications today! Our application closes on Sunday, March 29 at 11:59 pm. Unfortunately, late applications are never accepted. All scholarship winners will be announced at their school’s Senior Awards Night in May or June.

Click here for more information in English.

Haga clic aquí para más información en español.

OBCF Honors Champions, Announces 2020 Vision Grants at Annual Meeting

The Outer Banks Community Foundation’s membership honored two Champions, elected five board members, and celebrated $1.4 million in grants and scholarships in 2019 at the organization’s Annual Meeting on February 20.

The Community Foundation also announced a major new grants initiative at its meeting, the 2020 Vision Grants, which will be launched later in the year.

The Annual Meeting featured curated photography by Daniel Pullen, including hundreds of images of Ocracoke in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. A descendant of nine Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Keepers, Pullen has devoted his life and work to photographic storytelling. He has visited Ocracoke at least once a week since the storm to document the island’s recovery, and in 2018 he was named Dare County Artist of the Year.

Tom Pahl, Hyde County Commissioner for Ocracoke Township, gave the keynote address at the meeting. Pahl spoke about the extent of Dorian’s destruction on Ocracoke, and how the community pulled together in response. “I come bearing a message of gratitude … from everyone who has benefited so greatly from the Outer Banks Community Foundation Dorian Relief Fund,” said Pahl. “My message is simple and heartfelt: thank you. We were all brought to tears by your generosity.”

Community Foundation President Scott Brown spoke further of the organization’s disaster relief efforts. He said that more than 6,000 individuals, foundations, churches, businesses, and civic groups had contributed to Disaster Relief for the Outer Banks, donating $1.5 million for disaster victims in Ocracoke and Dare County. Mr. Brown said that $675,000 had been distributed so far to individuals and families, and another $700,000 had been committed for housing repairs and rebuilds on Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands. Further relief efforts are ongoing, he said.

The Community Foundation awarded its most prestigious honor, the Champion Award, to two entities at the meeting: first to TowneBank, for its lead gift of $150,000 for Dorian relief efforts, which the Bank committed just 24 hours after the storm. Taylor Sugg, President of TowneBank Currituck – Outer Banks, accepted the award.

Then, the entire Community Foundation staff presented an additional Champion Award to Bob Muller for his tireless volunteerism and heroic efforts in fundraising for Dorian. Muller not only led the Facebook fundraising efforts after Dorian; he also led outreach efforts to nonprofits after the storm to offer Rapid Response Grants, among many other projects.

The Community Foundation membership unanimously elected two new directors for the organization’s board: Ruth Toth of Ocracoke, and Pat Regan of Martin’s Point. Toth is a retired schoolteacher and restaurateur, and Regan is a retired food industry executive. Additional board terms for Nancy Caviness, Greg Honeycutt, and Clark Twiddy were unanimously approved by members. Ray White of Nags Head and Bruce Austin of Manteo, board members who completed their board terms in 2019, were thanked for their outstanding service.

Finally, Community Foundation Executive Director Lorelei Costa announced a new grants program for 2020, thanks to an anonymous gift of $105,000. The Vision 2020 Grants, she said, would be a competitive, one-year grant opportunity for one or two nonprofits serving the Outer Banks to receive $50,000 to $100,000 awards to address an urgent community need or opportunity. Costa said that the goal of the program was to make a tangible, substantial difference for the Outer Banks, to solve or at least “move the needle” on a significant community problem, or to seize an exciting opportunity that might not otherwise be within reach. Application details would be announced in March, she said.

Community Foundation Annual Meeting Is February 20 at Jennette’s Pier

The Outer Banks Community Foundation will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting at Jennette’s Pier on February 20, 2020. Doors open at 11:30 am for a reception, featuring photography from Ocracoke by Daniel Pullen. A luncheon will follow at noon, with a keynote address by Tom Pahl, 2019 Community Foundation highlights, Champion Award announcements, and election of the Community Foundation’s board.



Community Fdn Awards $1.4M in 2019 and Opens 9 New Charitable Funds

Ending another record-breaking year, the Outer Banks Community Foundation announced over $1.4 million in grants and scholarships in 2019, and the creation of nine new charitable endowments for future community support.

Dozens of local nonprofits received grant aid throughout the year, benefiting every type of charitable cause, from Ocracoke to Hatteras to Roanoke Island to Corolla, and every Outer Banks neighborhood and town in between. In December alone, the Community Foundation awarded competitive Community Enrichment Grants of $5,000 to St. John United Methodist Church in Avon in support of its free community dinners, over $5,900 to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island for summer camp scholarships, and $10,000 to Interfaith Community Outreach to support that organization’s disaster relief efforts on Ocracoke Island.

Also in December the Community Foundation funded over $32,000 in donor-advised grants to 16 different nonprofits, including the Dare County Arts Council, Dare Education Foundation, the Roanoke Island Historical Association, the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department Auxiliary, and the Beach Food Pantry. Donor-advised funds are created when a donor contributes a tax-benefited gift to establish a new fund; the donor then recommends how the endowment’s earnings should be distributed to charities each year.

In 2019 the Community Foundation also continued to subsidized trainings and seminars for dozens of local nonprofits. In April the Community Foundation organized a strategic planning workshop for charities, and committed the funds to bring the Duke University Nonprofit Management Certificate Program to the Outer Banks. The intensive eight-day training will be offered in January 2021.

In addition to grants and other support for nonprofits, the Community Foundation continued to be the Outer Banks’s leading scholarship provider. In 2019 the Community Foundation helped 82 local students attend college, totaling over $165,000 in scholarships last year.

Most of all, disaster relief after Hurricane Dorian was the Community Foundation’s major push in 2019. As of December, the Community Foundation and its partners had awarded $80,000 to storm victims in Dare County, $450,000 to victims in Ocracoke, and $70,000 in Rapid Response Grants to nonprofits. Additionally, the Community Foundation has pledged $700,000 for home repairs, rebuilds, and temporary housing across the Outer Banks, to be paid in 2020 as houses on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands are rebuilt and restored.

But according to Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director, the most exciting news from 2019 was the growth of charitable funds for the future. “We started nine new endowments last year, including four new scholarship funds, three new donor-advised funds, and two new grant-making funds,” she said. “All of these new endowments will become permanent sources of community support for generations, which means more grants and scholarships in 2020 and beyond.”

Anyone can contribute to any of the Community Foundation’s charitable funds, or start a fund of their own. Donations may be made online at and are fully tax-deductible. Checks may also be mailed to 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949.

The Community Foundation is Hiring!

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications for a part-time finance manager. This permanent, established position will work 20-24 hours per week, and will handle all of the Community Foundation’s financial functions, including all bookkeeping and accounting functions, all financial reports, tax filings, cash management, and payroll. S/he will also work closely with the executive director to create and monitor the Community Foundation’s annual operating and grants budgets.

We are looking for applicants with exceptional attention to detail, a high degree of professionalism, experience in nonprofit bookkeeping and accounting, and strong database skills. The ideal candidate is resourceful, meticulous, and committed to excellence. Most of all, we’re looking for someone who is passionate about making a positive difference for the Outer Banks by ensuring the financial health of our Community Foundation.

Click here for the full position description. To apply, please email your résumé and cover letter in PDF format to Please specify “Finance Manager” in the subject line of your email. For priority consideration, please submit your application by February 15, 2020. Please, no phone calls.


The Outer Banks Community Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. It is our policy to make all hiring and other employment decisions without regard to an individual’s sex, race, national origin, religion, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or physical or mental disability.