The Community Foundation is Hiring!

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications for the position of Scholarship and Office Administrator.

This full-time employee will be facilitating the operations of the entire foundation, managing our office, and coordinating the largest scholarship program in the Outer Banks.

This is a key role within our community, administering 50+ scholarships each year, and helping 50 to 100 students annually achieve their dream of a college education. This position will also be managing the Community Foundation’s facilities, property, and office systems; organizing events and mailings; maintaining files and computer systems; receiving visitors; and performing other administrative duties as needed.

We are looking for candidates with excellent organizational skills, a keen attention for detail, an exceptional aptitude for customer and community service, strong computer and communication skills, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment with multiple and shifting priorities. Most of all, we’re looking for someone who is truly passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. Nonprofit experience and Spanish language proficiency are both pluses, though not required.

Click here for the full position description, and email your résumé and cover letter in PDF format to LCosta@obcf.org no later than May 12. Please specify “Scholarship and Office Administrator” in the subject line of your email. 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.

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits: Join Us for This Seminar!

She’s back! Jeanne Allen is returning to the Outer Banks to reprise her popular workshop on strategic planning for nonprofits. The seminar is on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm at College of the Albemarle at 132 Russell Twiford Road in Manteo. Click here to register!

In this seminar, designed especially for nonprofit organizations, Jeanne will break down the planning process into three bites: preparing for your plan, building your plan, and living your plan. This will be a thorough yet quick dive into how a nonprofit can develop and execute a plan for achieving its mission.

This will be a hands-on workshop, with time throughout the seminar for individual nonprofits to sketch out their pathway for how to integrate planning into their organizational culture. Nonprofits are invited to bring two or more people to allow for real-time conversation and planning throughout the day.

“Good outcomes today certainly don’t ensure a future for tomorrow,” says Ms. Allen. “Nonprofits find that taking the time to plan for the future and to ask big questions will result in creating a stronger pathway to success.”

At the end of this hands-on workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Organize their own strategic planning process
  • Define and determine the roles and responsibilities needed
  • Design a monitoring and implementation process

This workshop is offered for just $11 per person, which includes a tasty boxed lunch and morning coffee. Any nonprofit serving the Outer Banks is invited to join. Click here to register!

Jeanne Allen, our presenter, is an instructor in the Duke University Nonprofit Management Certification Program, where she teaches Board Development and Governance, Strategic Planning, Social Media Strategy and Policy, and Volunteer Engagement. Ms. Allen is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and a Certified Instructor in the Service Enterprise Program, sponsored by Points of Light Foundation. As a volunteer, she is a local organizer for NC Tech4Good, specializing in technology topics for nonprofits.

 

Something Good from a Terrible Thing: The Sgt. Rimer Fund for Veterans

Story by Kip Tabb 

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has funds and endowments established for a wide range of purposes and reasons. But the Sgt. Joshua Rimer Memorial Fund for Veterans is unlike any other fund the Community Foundation administers.

Betty Evans lives in Corolla now with her husband, Wayne, but ten years ago she was working at a Pittsburgh area hospital with fellow nurse Donna Rimer.

The women specialized in different areas of care, so they didn’t work together very often, but they had gotten to know each other.

“She was just a nice person,” Betty said.

Betty also knew that Donna’s son, Joshua Rimer, was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and had served in Iraq. She had a chance to meet Josh once, and the memory has remained with her.

“When he came home from one tour, I saw them at the mall, and I said, ‘Oh, it seems so good to see your mother smiling again.’ She was beaming, and he was beaming, and he seemed like such a nice kid,” she recalled.

Then word came that Sgt. Rimer lost his life in Afghanistan. He had been on patrol, escorting a convoy, when a roadside bomb hit his armored car. The date was July 22, 2009. Josh was 24 years old.

The death of Sgt. Rimer was deeply personal to Betty and is an important part of why she and Wayne feel so strongly about helping veterans today. As she starts to talk about that time 10 years ago, she stops herself, saying: “I’ll cry.”

When she continues, there is a catch in her voice, “I just appreciate them (veterans) and admire them,” she said.

Betty was not alone in believing there was something special about Joshua, something that seemed to draw people to him. When word came that he had died, his Pennsylvania community responded.

Wayne described how many people came out to celebrate Sgt. Rimer’s life and to mourn his loss with his family. So many people came to support the family, he said, “They had to use the high school for his service.”

“He was a very good guy,” Joshua’s mother said, describing her son.

Tributes to Sgt. Rimer describe his devotion to his new wife, Annalisa, how he read to her every night and took care of her when she was sick, how he would drive his mother-in-law to and from work when it snowed. “He was a leader and protector of his guys,” his mother, Donna, added. “He stood up for others. That was the side that he fought with. There were things he had to do that bothered him, but he took it to heart.”

Over the years Donna has worked to keep her son’s legacy of protecting and caring for others alive. She and her family have worked with Yellow Ribbon, sending packages and supplies to soldiers in foreign lands.

“We’ve sent packages to 10 or 12 countries,” she said.

They have also raised over $20,000 for the Battle Buddy Organization, which provides service animals to veterans who are disabled or suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Although she has been actively working to help veterans, Donna was caught off guard when Betty told her that she and Wayne wanted to establish an endowment in the Outer Banks to help veterans, and name it for her son.

“It almost took my breath away,” Donna said. “It was just a very amazing thing.”

Community Foundation board member and Navy veteran Clark Twiddy agreed.

“This gives us a special opportunity to help our veterans,” he said.

The needs of the veteran community are diverse, Clark noted. Understanding those needs is an important part of getting them help, something he describes as educating ourselves.

“The problem is that for many vets, their diagnosis is often not physically apparent. It’s not visually apparent.”

And asking for help is not automatic for many veterans.

“They are the last people to ask for help. They have dedicated their lives to serving others first. They don’t want to be a burden to their family and spouses,” Clark said.

Other than helping local veterans and their families, there are no specific guidelines for the new endowment, but for Wayne and Betty, the idea of the Sgt. Joshua Rimer Memorial Fund for Veterans seemed a natural outgrowth of their philosophy of giving.

“Every year we do a big project. We sat and talked about it…and she wanted to do something for the veterans, and Joshua’s name came up,” Wayne said. “We thought it would be nice to put it in honor of somebody.”

“We were going to do it anyway. We didn’t want to name it after us,” Betty explained. “I just loved this kid for some reason. And he (Wayne) said would it be a good idea to put it in his name to honor him. He gave his life for this country. We asked his mom and asked if she would be ok with this, and she said, ‘Oh, yeah.’”

“I think you have to change how things were so terrible into things for good,” Donna said.

 

The Sgt. Joshua Rimer Memorial Fund for Veterans is a new, designated endowment at the Outer Banks Community Foundation that will benefit local veterans and their families. Established by Wayne and Betty Evans of Corolla, NC, the endowment is in honor of a decorated American soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan 10 years ago. Sgt. Rimer, the son of Donna and James Rimer, received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Medal of Valor over the course of his service.

Anyone who wishes to honor Sgt. Joshua Rimer — or any another veteran — is invited to contribute to the Sgt. Joshua Rimer Memorial Fund for Veterans. Your gift to this permanent endowment will help local veterans and their families for generations to come. If you choose to honor a veteran with your gift, the Community Foundation is delighted to send notice to your honoree (or his/her family). Go to www.obcf.org/donate, select “Other Fund,” and choose “Sgt. Joshua Rimer Memorial Fund for Veterans” from the list of funds that appears.

Now Accepting Applications for Special Focus Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications for our annual Special Focus Grants. Areas of Special Focus include Animal Welfare, Aviation Education, and Opportunities for People with Disabilities. Applications must be submitted by Friday, April 26, 2019.

The Community Foundation has sustained a special focus on grants to help people with disabilities since 2014, thanks in part to a bequest from the late Pauline Wright. Mrs. Wright, who lived in both Jarvisburg and Southern Shores, bequeathed a house to the Community Foundation to award these grants.

Providing co-funds to help people with disabilities is the David Aycock Loy Endowment, which was established by his family to remember this boy who died too young from hemophilia complications. Donations in memory of David have a special focus on helping children with autism.

David Aycock Loy and Pauline Wright Grants are available to nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies, serving either Currituck or Dare residents, or both. In addition to an emphasis on helping children with autism, priority may also be given to assisting adults with Down syndrome. Applications for these grants must be submitted online using our web-based application.

Another area of special focus for the Community Foundation is animal welfare — supporting efforts to protect, rehabilitate, and care for animals, both domestic and wild. Animal grants will be drawn from the All God’s Creatures Fund, the Adams-Brown Fund for Animals, and the Schiffman Fund for Animals. In this category, requests for $1000 or less may be made through a one-page letter that explains the project and how the grant money would be spent. Proof of tax-exempt status must be attached. If an organization has a larger project in mind, it can apply for matching funds through the online application.

Grant funds are also available this year through the Aviation Education Fund. Requests for $500 or less may be made through a one-page letter that explains the project and how the grant money would be spent. Applicants must also submit proof of tax-exempt status (e.g., 501c3 letter from the IRS). If an organization has a larger project in mind, it can apply for matching funds through the Community Foundation’s online application.

In addition to these Special Focus Grants, the Community Foundation is also accepting applications for its general Community Enrichment Grants Program, which is open to any nonprofit for any kind of charitable project that benefits the Outer Banks. This includes: arts & culture; children & youth; education; the environment; disaster relief & prevention; historic interpretation & preservation; and other human services.

Most Community Enrichment Grants will support the direct costs of a charitable project or program (e.g., art supplies, educational materials). Additionally, the Community Foundation now offers grants to cover program staff wages, as well as other hard costs.

Community Enrichment Grants are also awarded for capacity-building projects, with a goal of enhancing a nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality (e.g., computers, office equipment, strategic planning).

Program scholarship grants are also available; these are grants that enable a nonprofit to offer scholarships for its programs to participants in need. These scholarships would offset or reduce the participation fees normally charged for any sort of enrichment program, such as a day camp, educational offering, and/or after-school program.

Before submitting an application for any Special Focus or Community Enrichment Grant, prospective applicants should first review the guidelines and the FAQ online, and then contact Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839 to discuss their projects. The deadline to apply for all grants is Friday, April 26. Grant decisions will be announced on Thursday, June 6.

 

 

Photo above by Biff Jennings, Shooters at the Beach.

You’re Invited to the Southern Shores Flat Top Tour on April 27

The Southern Shores Historic Flat Top Cottage Tour is back! The 2019 tour will be held on Saturday, April 23 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Tour tickets are just $7.00 per person and will be sold on the day of the tour beginning at 1:00 PM at 156 Wax Myrtle Trail or 13 Skyline Road. The ticket covers all of the cottages on the tour.

Fifty years ago, flat top cottages abounded across the Southern Shores landscape. Known for their distinctive cinder block walls, flat roofs, jewel-toned soffits, juniper paneling, and vertical shutters, Southern Shores flat tops were designed and inspired by Frank Stick (1884-1966), the visionary developer, painter, outdoorsman, and architect (whose son founded the Outer Banks Community Foundation). Today, only about twenty-six flat tops remain, most built from indigenous Outer Banks materials.

Fourteen of Southern Shores’s remaining historic cottages will be open for the tour on April 29:

  • 156 Wax Myrtle Trail (Clarke Cottage, and Tour Headquarters)
  • 13 Skyline Road (Outer Banks Community Foundation, and Second Tour Headquarters)
  • 39 Ocean Boulevard
  • 43 Ocean Boulevard
  • 69 Ocean Boulevard
  • 113 Ocean Boulevard
  • 159 Wax Myrtle Trail
  • 23 Porpoise Run
  • 142 Ocean Boulevard
  • 157 Ocean Boulevard
  • 169 Ocean Boulevard
  • 176 Ocean Boulevard
  • 218 Ocean Boulevard
  • 18 East Dogwood Trail

There are two headquarter cottages where tour tickets will be sold: 156 Wax Myrtle Trail (entrance facing Porpoise Run) and 13 Skyline Road (Outer Banks Community Foundation). Sorry, advance tickets are not available. Maps will also be available at headquarter cottages, detailing the addresses of each open house. Brief histories of the cottages will also be provided. Balloons will mark cottages that are open on the day of the event.

All proceeds from the tour will benefit the Flat Top Preservation Fund of the Outer Banks Community Foundation. The Flat Top Preservation Fund is a perpetual endowment that helps fund the maintenance, protection, and preservation of the Community Foundation’s flat top headquarters at 13 Skyline Road. Built in 1953 by Frank Stick, the cottage was donated to the Community Foundation in 2007.

For more information, please contact Sally or Steve Gudas at 804-399-8342 or seatide1@gmail.com.

 

Huge thanks to Baldwin Video Productions for the PSA Video below!

Don’t Let Your Local Scholarship Disappear

Note: A shorter version of this article first appeared in the March 27, 2019 edition of the Outer Banks Sentinel.

When Julie was a senior at First Flight High School, she was ready for college. Ranked near the top of her class, Julie had spent her high school career building her résumé. Julie had it all: great grades, varsity athletics, school clubs, good SAT scores.

Julie was admitted into a prestigious university, and was promised financial aid, including some federal loans, and a merit-based scholarship from her school. But her financial aid package didn’t cover everything, so Julie dedicated herself to applying for a dozen or more local scholarships. And it seemed to pay off: Julie won a $2,000 scholarship from an organization here in Dare County.

Now, imagine Julie’s shock when she watched her local scholarship virtually disappear. Upon receiving Julie’s $2,000 award, rather than reducing her tuition bill or her student loan debt, Julie’s university instead subtracted the $2,000 from her college scholarship, deciding, I suppose, that she no longer needed that money. To Julie, it’s as if she received no benefit at all from the local scholarship she had earned.

I wish I could tell you that Julie is entirely fictional, or that this student’s experience was a rare aberration or an honest mistake. But Julie is based on a real student from Dare County, and this insidious practice happens all the time. In fact, it is so common that it has a name: scholarship displacement.

Let’s say a student is promised financial assistance from a college, then receives a private scholarship from some entity outside the college. Scholarship displacement is when the college reduces that student’s financial assistance by the amount of that new scholarship, rather than adding the scholarship to the student’s aid package.

Infuriating, right? To be clear, this doesn’t always happen, and it never has to happen. When a student receives a local scholarship, colleges have a lot of discretion in how they handle that outside money. This is true even when the student is receiving federal, need-based financial aid.

Ideally, a college will accept a local scholarship and use it to reduce the student’s loans, or the student’s so-called “unmet need” (which s/he must pay out of pocket), and many colleges do just that.

But other colleges — unless instructed otherwise — will instead take that local scholarship and reduce their own awards commensurately. Just how many schools do it? One in five, according to the National Scholarship Providers Association, based on a 2011 survey of 100 four-year schools.

How is this justified? Well, if Julie receives $2,000 in private money, the argument goes, Julie’s financial need is now $2,000 less. University officials might tell you that scholarship displacement allows them to re-distribute financial aid more fairly to students with greater need.

The problem is, Julie’s scholarship was earned by her, based on her diligence and her credentials. Our community gave away $500,000 in scholarships to Dare County seniors last year; those hard-earned funds were intended to help Dare County students. To me, it is a violation of the donor’s gift for a university to unilaterally use that money for another purpose. To students like Julie, it is unfair for a university to reduce a scholarship that was already promised to them.

As the largest scholarship provider in Dare County, the Outer Banks Community Foundation has been fighting displacement for years — I believe with great success. After working with hundreds of students, tracking their scholarships, reading the research, and speaking with dozens of public and private schools from across the state, my colleagues and I have learned a few strategies.

Here are our recommendations for both students and local scholarship providers to ensure that your money is not displaced.

Students: First and foremost, please don’t let potential displacement dissuade you from applying for local scholarships, because you absolutely can take steps to prevent scholarship displacement. It just takes a little self-advocacy.

If you receive financial aid from your college, study and save your financial aid award letter. These letters are often very confusing, so call your financial aid officer, and ask him or her to explain each component of your aid package to you. Learn which funds are loans that you must eventually pay back, and which funds are grants or scholarships that you do not pay back. Of those scholarships, ask which ones are based on need, which ones are based on merit, and which ones are guaranteed across all semesters.

Then, if you receive any local scholarships, from the Community Foundation or anyone else, you should receive another, modified financial aid statement, or just a final bill. Compare that new information to your original award letter, and make sure that your local scholarship dollars are not used to reduce any grants or scholarships from your original aid package. Those local dollars should only be reducing your loans, work study, or any unmet need.

If your school tries to reduce your scholarships or grants because of a local award, call your financial aid office and politely ask them to fix it. For example, see if your college will defer or spread out your local scholarships to future several semesters or years, or see if they’ll let you use your local scholarship to pay for a computer, books, supplies, transportation costs, or housing.

Scholarship Providers: There are several written conditions you should send to your students’ schools along with your scholarship checks to ensure that your funds benefit your recipients. For example, you should explicitly instruct the schools to use your funds only to reduce your students’ loans, work study, or unmet need — or else return the money to you if that is not possible. For a sample letter, please click here.

Even if your student has an “overaward” in his or her first year, it’s possible that s/he will need it the next year when other scholarships expire, so please consider holding your money for him or her, and resending it to his/her college in a year.

By the way, scholarship providers, you may be wondering whether you can bypass displacement by simply sending the scholarship money directly to your students instead of to their schools. Unfortunately, that strategy won’t help matters, because students are still required to report all of their outside scholarships to their universities, even if they receive the money directly. Also, by sending your money to the students’ schools, you are more likely to get the money back if the student leaves school for any reason. Finally, by sending the scholarship to the school, it becomes the university’s responsibility to complete any 1099 forms as needed if the student needs to report the scholarship as taxable income.

A new law in Maryland bans public colleges from reducing their financial support when a student receives a private scholarship. Perhaps North Carolina will follow suit. We know that a college education can change a person’s life, and local scholarships can make that possible. With the cost of college rising each year, let’s make sure our students reap every penny they earn.

Scholarship Application Now Open!

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications online. Applications are due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 31, 2019. We have 50 different scholarships available, and about $170,000 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 www.smarterselect.com, 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 31 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, start your applications today! Our application closes on Sunday, March 31 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 Jo Oden, Elects New Board at Annual Meeting

The Outer Banks Community Foundation honored Josephine Oden at its annual meeting on February 19, naming “Miss Jo” posthumously as the organization’s 2019 Champion, in recognition of her role in starting the foundation’s scholarship program. Two new board members were elected by the foundation’s members, and two departing board members were honored.

Photographs of the event can be found here.

The meeting was sold out this year, with 175 guests attending. The crowd celebrated $750,000 in grants and scholarships awarded to the Outer Banks in 2018, and almost $9 million awarded since the Community Foundation’s establishment in 1982.

The event featured exhibits from several local, historical nonprofits that had received grants from the Community Foundation the prior year, including the Pea Island Preservation Society, the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, the Ocracoke Preservation Society, and the Friends of the Outer Banks History Center.

Members of the Community Foundation unanimously elected two new directors for the organization’s board: Jean-Louise Dixon of Buxton, and Noel Preston of Martin’s Point. Ms. Dixon is a practicing attorney, and Rear Admiral Preston is a helicopter pilot retired from the US Navy. Board terms for Jane Webster and Ray White were renewed by the members.

Two retiring board members were thanked for their outstanding service: Teresa Osborne of Nags Head, who served as the Community Foundation’s president in 2017 and 2018, and Chris Seawell of Manteo, who served as vice president and grants chairman.

Mr. Seawell announced the winning videos from the Community Foundation’s annual contest. Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station came in first place, followed by Ocracats in second place, and the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research in third place. The winning videos can be viewed online by clicking here.

Katie Phillips gave the keynote address. Ms. Phillips was the Community Foundation’s Sawyer Scholar in 2016, and she spoke movingly about how her scholarship—and the Community Foundation—gave her hope and support through college.

Finally, Leanne Robinson, who was the Community Foundation’s Inez Daniels Austin Scholar in 2001, conferred the Champion Award to Josephine Oden, aka “Miss Jo,” the Community Foundation’s first female board member and first Hatteras board member.

Miss Jo, her sisters Ramona Hunter and Sybil Skakle, and their sister-in-law Ruby Moser, gave the first Inez Daniels Austin Scholarship in 1976 in honor of their mother, and moved the funds to the Community Foundation in 1984 to ensure the scholarship’s perpetuity. In so doing, Ms. Robinson said, Miss Jo started the Community Foundation’s entire scholarship program, which today includes over 50 scholarships that have bestowed more than 1800 awards and $2 million to local students attending college. Miss Jo passed away in 2017, and her son, Jeff Oden, accepted the Champion Award on his mother’s behalf.

Miss Jo was a Legacy Donor and left a final bequest to the Community Foundation, which grew the Inez Daniels Austin Scholarship even further. Her family has subsequently started a new scholarship in her own name, the Josephine Oden Scholarship, which will grant its first scholarship to a deserving Hatteras student in 2019.

 

 

Photograph Above: Katie Phillips, the Community Foundation’s 2016 Sawyer Scholar, and keynote speaker at the foundation’s 2019 annual meeting. Photograph by Biff Jennings, Shooters on the Beach.

Community Scholarships: How Can We Do the Most Good

Note: This article first appeared in the February 6, 2019 edition of the Outer Banks Sentinel.

It happens every spring in Dare County, at the end of each school year.

The community gathers at each local high school—dozens of businesses, families, civic groups, and churches—with the graduating senior class. Community leaders stand at a podium, one by one, and begin to call students’ names.

I’m describing Scholarship Night, and in case you haven’t seen it, let me tell you: our local scholarship programs are a stunning display of community generosity. The smiles, the tears, the pride—Scholarship Night is truly inspiring.

Last year, in the course of just three evenings, our community bestowed $500,000 in scholarships to our Dare County seniors. That’s counting just the local dollars from our own community; that doesn’t include Pell grants or any of the money given by universities or colleges. As far as I can tell, scholarships are the largest act of philanthropy, dollar-wise, in the Outer Banks in any given year.

As the director of the Outer Banks Community Foundation, I am privileged and humbled to participate in local scholarships each year. The Community Foundation is the largest and most diverse scholarship provider in Dare County (we also have scholarships for Currituck and Ocracoke), with over 50 different scholarship endowments, and anywhere from 50 to 100 student recipients each year.

Not all of our scholarships are for four-year institutions; many are earmarked for community colleges, trade and vocational programs, and continuing education.

The Community Foundation is just one of many local groups helping students pay for college. Scholarships are truly the entire community coming together to help our young people achieve their dreams and start off in the world.

So, is it enough? Do we do enough for our students?

$500,000 is an incredible amount from a community our size—but I cannot pretend that we’re meeting the need.

Consider this: across North Carolina, the average student loan debt upon college graduation is over $26,000 per student, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Each year about 175 graduating seniors from Dare County head to a four-year school. Multiply that by the average debt in North Carolina: our young people are graduating college collectively owing $4.5 million in loans.

College debt is certainly not unique to the Outer Banks or to North Carolina. Across our country, 44 million Americans owe $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans, according to the Federal Reserve. What’s most shocking is how quickly that’s growing. The national student loan debt was less than a $500 million in 2006. In other words, our student loan debt has tripled in less than 15 years. How did that even happen?

If you want to get riled up, read “Buried in Debt,” a 2018 study that analyzes survey data from 7,095 adult Americans with outstanding student loans. A growing number of young Americans are delaying or foregoing home ownership, marriage, starting a family, even retirement, because of debilitating student debt. The domino effect on our national economy is mind-blowing.

Our little community is amazingly generous in trying to protect our students from debt, yet the cost of college is outpacing our fundraising. So how can we do the most good with the scholarships we give? I ponder this question constantly, and I have a few humble suggestions.

Most local scholarships are one-time awards of $1,000 or less, and while $1,000 is very generous, these days that hardly pays for college textbooks.

Meanwhile, scholarships are a lot of work—both for the giver (creating an application, selecting students, writing checks), as well as for our high school faculty (coordinating the program, collating transcripts, writing letters of recommendation). Perhaps our community’s smaller scholarships could amplify impact and achieve some economies of scale by working together, pooling funds, utilizing a common application, and making larger, more significant awards.

I’d also like to make a case for renewable scholarships. The majority of our local scholarships are one-year only, which means that our kids are entering college with great financial backing in year one, only to be high and dry for the last three years of school.

It’s not just local scholarships that run out after a year; many colleges and universities “front-load” their merit-based aid in year one to attract the best possible freshman class, only to reduce or eliminate the aid in subsequent years. This is troubling because many students select their colleges based on financial aid packages, without realizing that university aid may decrease after a year. I have seen with our scholarship recipients first-hand, and it’s a trend that is becoming well-documented by US News World Report and others.

As local scholarship providers, we can do the most good by helping our students when they need us most, in the subsequent years of college, by making our local scholarships renewable.

As a parent of a high school junior, these numbers and trends keep me up at night. But then I remember everything that we are doing as a community: $500,000 each year for our students. Collectively, we are eliminating roughly 20% of our local students’ loans. That’s not too bad.

We are making a difference. What a testament, not only to the benevolent spirit of our community, but also to the value we place on education and on our young people. Come witness it on Scholarship Night, and get involved by giving back.

 

The Outer Banks Community Foundation’s Scholarship Application opens on Monday, February 25. The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 31. Click here to apply.

Annual Meeting 2019!

We hope you will join us for the Annual Meeting of the Outer Banks Community Foundation!

The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, February 19 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel at 1701 South Virginia Dare Trail in Kill Devil Hills.

We invite you to arrive at 11:30 am to enjoy socializing while browsing some local history exhibits from our 2018 grantees. A delicious lunch will be served at noon, after which we will conduct some brief membership business (including ratification of new proposed bylaws), watch the winning videos from our annual video contest, and announce our 2019 Champion Award.

We are near the maximum for the seating limit at our Annual Meeting. Please call 252-261-8839 to register, and we will do our best to accommodate you or, if need be, add you to our wait list. Thank you so much for your interest!

 

 

 

Photograph above by Biff Jennings, Shooters at the Beach.