Community Foundation Names New Emeritus Directors

The Board of Directors of the Outer Banks Community Foundation has named two new individuals into the honored ranks of Emeritus Director. Sharon Elliott (left) served as a volunteer on the Community Foundation’s board from 2009 to 2015, including two years as the organization’s Treasurer and two years as President. Avery Harrison (right) served on the board from 2011 to 2015, including two years as Secretary and three years as the organization’s Scholarship Chair. The Board of Community Foundation is profoundly grateful for the dedication, wisdom, and expertise these extraordinary women lent to the organization.

OBCF Celebrates Record-Breaking Year at Annual Meeting

The Outer Banks Community Foundation held its Annual Meeting on March 19 to celebrate another record-breaking year of philanthropy. Board President Bob Muller led the meeting, which was attended by about 160 people.

Executive Director Lorelei Costa announced that the Community Foundation’s endowment had reached $13 million, up from $10 million two years ago, thanks to an extraordinarily generous community. She likened the Community Foundation’s endowment to a community garden, in which donors plant seeds, tended by the Community Foundation, yielding fruit each year for the Outer Banks to harvest.

From this metaphorical garden, she said, the Community Foundation “harvested” over $560,000 in grants and scholarships in 2014, even as its permanent endowment continued to grow for future grant-making.

Avery Harrison presented the Community Foundation’s scholarship highlights. She said that the organization had awarded over $140,000 in scholarships in 2014 to 89 local students. Ms. Harrison showed a video from Aaron Zeigler, a 2013 graduate of First Flight High School, who is the current recipient of the prestigious, four-year Sawyer Scholarship. Mr. Zeigler attends UNC Charlotte and will be interning with the Community Foundation this summer.

Dorothy Hester presented 2014 grant highlights. She said the Community Foundation awarded nearly $420,000 last year in grants to local nonprofits. Ms. Hester showed the winning videos from the Community Foundation’s nonprofit video contest. Room in the Inn, GEM Adult Day Services, and Interfaith Community Outreach won the first place, second place, and third place prizes, respectively. (Click the links to watch each organization’s winning video.)

The Community Foundation named two Champion Award winners at the meeting. The first honoree was Pat Herman, a senior attorney with Vandeventer Black, who practices in both Norfolk and Kitty Hawk. Ms. Costa credited Mr. Herman with donating countless hours of legal counsel to the Community Foundation on everything from policies to endowment agreements to estate planning.

Ms. Hester honored the second Champion: the late Sterling Webster III, who served on the Community Foundation board from 2000 to 2002 and was instrumental in starting the Disaster Relief Fund, which has helped hundreds of families across Dare County recover after devastating storms. Jane Webster, Sterling Webster IV, and several employees from the Hilton Garden in Kitty Hawk and the Ramada Plaza on Nags Head Beach accepted the award. The late Mr. Webster was also one of the first to join the Community Foundation’s Legacy Society, declaring his intention to leave a planned gift to help the Outer Banks for generations.

Ms. Costa announced the establishment of 12 new charitable funds in 2014, including the Webster Family Fund. Other funds started in 2014 were the Preston Family Fund, the Christopher Ellison Fund for the Arts, the Scott Day Family Scholarship Fund, the R. Stewart Couch Hatteras Island Scholarship Fund, the BANXblock Beach Fund, the Love in Action Fund, the Liberty Christian Fellowship Endowment, the Friends of Whalehead Fund, the Buck Thornton Memorial Fund, the Franklin Y. Hundley Education Fund, and the Jim Wood Endowment for Children’s Arts.

The Community Foundation membership elected Scott Brown and Nancy Sugg as new members of the organization’s board of directors, and Scott Leggat and Loretta Michael for their second terms on the board. Jo Whitehead, Bill Massey, and the 2016 Board President were elected by the membership to the 2016 nominating committee.

Mr. Muller thanked the Community Foundation’s board members, emeritus directors, fund holders, Legacy Society members, in-kind contributors, donating members, and grantees for all their various contributions to the community.

Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Clark, Village Realty. See our Facebook page for additional photos.

Now Accepting Applications For Aviation Education Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits for the Aviation Education Grant Program. Applications are due on Friday, May 1, and prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Community Foundation before applying.

The Aviation Education Fund was established by Phil and Mary Woodruff in 2007 to support charitable projects focusing on aviation education. The fund is structured as a perpetual endowment; as such, the principal of the fund remains invested for growth, while a portion is available for grants each year.

The fund has just over $322 to award in 2015, but excellent projects that meet certain criteria may be eligible for matching dollars from other Community Foundation grant funds.

“We invite any organization working in aviation education to apply for this award,” said Lorelei Costa, the Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Because it is a smaller grant, organizations can apply with a simple, one-page letter that explains their aviation education project and how they would spend the grant money.”

Nonprofits should also attach a copy of their IRS letter verifying their 501c3 status.

“If an organization has a larger project in mind, they can apply for matching funds through our online application at,” said Costa. Any larger request should meet the Community Foundation’s Community Enrichment Grants Criteria (click here).

In years past, the Aviation Education Fund has supported projects like the December 17 Aviation Flyby and the acquisition of an educational replica of the Wright brothers’ aircraft.

The application deadline for Aviation Education Grants is Friday, May 1. Before submitting an application, prospective applicants are urged to contact Lorelei Costa at the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839.

Stewart Couch Leaves Generous Scholarship Bequest

When Stewart Couch passed away, unexpectedly in February 2012, a heart-broken community searched for a way to memorialize this local leader. Within days, the Outer Banks Association of Realtors (OBAR) and the Outer Banks Community Foundation established a scholarship fund in his name to benefit Hatteras students. From across the country, dozens of people contributed to the fund.

Little did they know, Stewart himself had the exact same idea.

Stewart Couch grew up on Hatteras Island and graduated from Cape Hatteras High School in 1968. After earning his business degree from East Carolina University, Stewart came home to Hatteras, purchased a young Hatteras Realty in 1982, and grew that small company into the nationally-known vacation rental business it is today.

Stewart came from a family of community-minded citizens (his father, the late Ray Couch, helped establish the Outer Banks Preservation Association), and Stewart followed that family tradition, serving as president of OBAR and the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, among other positions.

Though devoted to his native Hatteras, Stewart was also a world traveler, and journeyed around the globe to ride the world’s greatest surf breaks. It was in Nicaragua, on one such surf trip with friends, that he passed away so suddenly, leaving behind a daughter, Nikki, two brothers, John and Danny, a large and beloved family, and countless friends and colleagues.

Stewart was known for his generosity, so no one was surprised that his will included bequests to many coworkers and family members. Then one autumn day in 2014, as the complex estate continued to settle, a check arrived to the Outer Banks Community Foundation: $160,000, a bequest from Stewart Couch to be invested as a scholarship endowment to help Hatteras students attend college.

“Mr. Couch’s gift was truly extraordinary,” said Lorelei Costa, the Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Combined with the funds raised by OBAR in 2012, the R. Stewart Couch Hatteras Island Scholarship will be our largest one-year scholarship to date: $8,900.00 this year, which is about the total cost of tuition, fees, and books for a full year at most in-state universities.”

“Because Mr. Couch chose to invest his gift as an endowment, the scholarship fund will continue to grow,” said Lorelei, “even as it awards an annual scholarship each year for generations to come.”

“We gave a lot of thought to the type of student that Stewart would have wanted to support,” said Jackie Ricks-Sample, the executrix of Stewart’s estate. “The selection will be based on community service, academics, work history, extra-curriculars, and financial need most of all.”

“Anyone who knew Stewart would know that he’d want to help an underdog, a diamond in the rough who might have been overlooked by others, but who could really excel if just given an opportunity,” said Jackie.

Graduating seniors from Cape Hatteras Secondary School can apply for the R. Stewart Couch Hatteras Island Scholarship through the Community Foundation’s website: The application requires a current transcript, three letters of recommendation, a financial need form, and an essay.

The Community Foundation manages over 45 local scholarships, including several that are exclusively for Hatteras students, such as the Inez Daniels Austin Scholarship, the Scott Day Family Scholarship, and the Greg and Eden Honeycutt Scholarship. Applications for all scholarships, including the Stewart Couch award, are due on Sunday, March 29.

The first R. Stewart Couch Hatteras Island Scholarship will be awarded at Senior Awards Night on Tuesday, June 2.

Though Stewart Couch’s community was left in shock upon his passing in February 2012, many found some solace by giving back to Hatteras for a scholarship in his name. And now we know that that was his exact wish.

For more information about the Community Foundation’s scholarship program, including information on establishing a scholarship fund or leaving a scholarship bequest, please click here, or call Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839.

Now Accepting Applications For Pauline Wright and David Loy Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits and qualified government agencies for the Pauline Wright and David Aycock Loy Grant Programs. These special, annual grants are intended to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), with a priority emphasis on autism and Down syndrome.

David Aycock Loy Grants are aimed to help children on the Outer Banks with autism or any kind of IDD or learning disability. Charitable organizations that serve these children—or their families—are encouraged to apply. The David Aycock Loy Fund has about $1,500 to award this year in grants, but excellent projects may be eligible for matching dollars from other Community Foundation grant funds.

Pauline Wright Grants are aimed at helping children or adults with Down syndrome or any other kind of IDD. Both nonprofits and government agencies are eligible to apply, but priority emphasis may be given to programs in schools, and/or job-training and life skills programs for adults. Pauline Wright Grants are available for both Dare County and Currituck County. Each county has a separate endowment fund, each with about $7,300 to award this year; projects benefitting both Dare and Currituck could draw from both funds. Excellent projects may be eligible for matching dollars from other Community Foundation grant funds.

Last year, the Community Foundation awarded Pauline Wright and David Aycock Loy Grants to: Mane & Taill Therapeutic Horsemanship Academy for scholarships for children with IDDs; Monarch for iPads for the Lighthouse Club in Currituck County; the Outer Banks Chapter of the NC Autism Society for social understanding workshops; and the Nags Head Fire Department for beach wheelchairs.

The application deadline for Pauline Wright and David Aycock Loy Grants is Friday, May 1. All grant applications must be completed and submitted online through the Community Foundation’s website: Before submitting an application, prospective applicants are urged to review the grant guidelines on the Community Foundation’s website, and also contact Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839.

Also by May 1, the Community Foundation is continuing to accept applications for its traditional Community Enrichment Grants Program. Community Enrichment Grants are open to any nonprofit serving the Outer Banks for any kind of charitable project. Areas of interest include: arts & culture; animal welfare; children & youth; education; the environment; disaster relief & prevention; health; historic interpretation & preservation; and other human services. Applicants should follow the same guidelines as above.

Community Foundation Accepting Scholarship Applications thru March 29

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications online. The application deadline is Sunday, March 29. Apply online now by clicking here. [Editor’s note: The link to the application was disabled, following the close of the application cycle.]

The Community Foundation manages 45 scholarship programs and awarded over $140,000 last year to 89 local students. Graduating high school seniors, current college students, and adult continuing education candidates from Dare County, Currituck County, and Ocracoke are eligible to apply.

Scholarships range from one-time awards of $250, to four-year awards totaling $20,000.

“We have scholarships for a huge diversity of students,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Art majors, math majors, musicians, firefighters, tennis players, law enforcement majors, nursing students, community college students, vocational students, and more — all are encouraged to apply.”

The Community Foundation is offering several new scholarships this year, including Linda Porter’s Shear Genius Scholarship, which is open to high school seniors and adults who hope to study cosmetology or aesthetics, and the Scott Day Family Scholarship, which looks for high school seniors from Hatteras who hope to major in education.

From, students can apply for any Community Foundation scholarship. Applicants begin the process by completing a short questionnaire, which quickly and easily directs them to the scholarships for which they’re eligible.

From there, students complete one common application, upload one transcript, submit any required essays, and apply for all Community Foundation scholarships for which they are eligible, all in one place. Teachers and community members can provide confidential recommendations online, without having to make multiple copies.

Though many of the Community Foundation’s scholarships are merit-based, the majority of awards consider financial need. For the need-based awards, students are required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and upload the resulting Student Aid Report into their application.

“If I could give one tip to every applicant, it would be: Start early!” said Costa. “Please don’t wait until March 29 to begin your application. We have a strict deadline, and if you start too late, you might not get your recommendation letters and Student Aid Report in time.”

Scholarship funds have been generously donated from individuals, families, businesses, nonprofits, civic groups, and government agencies to help local students pursue higher education. Any community member can establish a scholarship fund with the Community Foundation by calling Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839.

All scholarship winners will be announced at their schools’ Senior Awards Night in May and June.

Annual Meeting Rescheduled to March 19

The Annual Meeting of the Outer Banks Community Foundation has been officially rescheduled to Thursday, March 19. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Pamlico Jack’s Restaurant in Nags Head.

“We warmly invite all of our grantees, donors, volunteers, and supporters to join us for this special event,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation.

As before, guests are invited to arrive at 11:30 a.m. to view artifacts discovered on Hatteras Island by the Croatoan Archaeological Society. A lunch will be served at noon, followed by a short presentation highlighting the Community Foundation’s scholarships and grants from 2014. The winning videos from the Community Foundation’s nonprofit video contest will be shown, and two Champion Awards will be presented.

The lunch is $20 per person, and RSVPs are requested by Thursday, March 12. Guests are asked to RSVP by calling the Community Foundation office at 252-261-8839.

The meeting, originally scheduled for February 19, was postponed due to icy roads and frigid temperatures. The Community Foundation will refund any guests who prepaid for the February 19 luncheon who cannot attend on the new date.

Community Foundation Announces Free Grant-Writing Workshop

The Outer Banks Community Foundation and the NC Center for Nonprofits announce a free grant-writing workshop for local nonprofits. The course will be held on Friday, March 20 from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese.

Entitled “From Great Idea to Winning Proposal: How to Find and Attain Grant Funds for Your Nonprofit,” the workshop will be led by Melissa Le Roy, a nonprofit consultant and instructor from Saluda, North Carolina.

“Melissa is back by popular demand!” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Grant-writing is always our most requested training topic, and Melissa got rave reviews two years ago after leading a similar workshop with us. So we knew we had to bring her back.”

Le Roy’s presentation will focus on all of the essential elements of a winning grant proposal, from the cover letter and executive summary, to the goals, objectives, and budget. Participants will learn about the typical questions that funders consider, and the criteria they use when evaluating proposals. The workshop will cover the entire grants process, from the application to the financial statements to the final grant report.

“This year Melissa will focus especially on how to research and find prospective funders who might fit your nonprofit,” said Costa, “so we recommend this course even if you attended her session in 2013.”

Toward the end of the workshop, Costa will provide a special overview of the Community Foundation’s grants criteria, application, and final report process. She’ll answer all questions and offer essential tips for submitting a successful proposal.

“If you are thinking about applying to the Community Foundation this year, you should definitely attend this workshop,” said Costa.

Through her firm OnFire Nonprofit Consulting, and through Duke University’s Nonprofit Management Program, Le Roy teaches classes and helps nonprofits with fundraising, volunteer management, strategic planning, accounting, special events, marketing, social media, and more. Le Roy served as a board member of the NC Center for Nonprofits for six years, as executive director of the SC Chapter of the US Green Building Council, and as executive director of the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center. Le Roy has a master naturalist certificate from Clemson University and an advanced certificate in nonprofit leadership from Duke University.

The grant-writing workshop is free for any board or staff member representing an Outer Banks 501(c)3 nonprofit. Lunch is included, and a tour of the Coastal Studies Institute’s new LEED Gold facility will be offered. But space is limited, and advance registration is required by Monday, March 16.

For more information, download the course description and agenda.


UPDATE: Registration for this workshop is now closed. Please be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter so you can get early notice of future offerings.


Scott Day Scholarship Honors Late Teacher

When beloved teacher and coach Scott Day departed this world on August 24, 2014, he left behind not only his family, but a generation of Hatteras students whose lives he had enriched as an educator, mentor, and friend.

And now, Mr. Day is leaving an even larger legacy.

Earlier this month, the Outer Banks Community Foundation announced a new scholarship fund in memory of this treasured father, husband, 6th grade teacher, and baseball coach.

Starting in 2015, the Scott Day Family Scholarship will be awarded each spring to one extraordinary college-bound Hatteras senior with outstanding community service and leadership. Preference will be given to students with financial need who plan to major in an education-related field.

Mr. Day’s wife, Kristin, explained that toward the end of her husband’s seven-year battle with cancer, the entire community raised funds to help the family with the medical bills. After his passing, she used the remaining community contributions, along with the family’s own contribution, to establish the scholarship fund.

“One of the best ways to honor his memory and celebrate his life is to give back to this generous, loving community,” she said. “May Scott’s love for his students and his passion for teaching be an inspiration for others to become teachers.”

When the Community Foundation announced the new scholarship, Facebook erupted with the news. Former students, colleagues, and friends of Mr. Day’s wrote:

“Mr. Day was a major inspiration for me to become a teacher. I can’t thank him enough for everything that he did for me. This would make him so happy to be influencing students’ lives with this scholarship.”

“What an honor it will be for the students receiving this scholarship! Can’t think of one that would mean more to Mr. Day’s students!”

“He would be so happy and proud to be able to help a student reach their goal of obtaining a higher education! Anyone who had the pleasure to work, coach, volunteer, or be taught by him couldn’t help but be inspired by him and hopefully pass that inspiration on!!”

And, “The best teacher and friend ever. He would love this.”

Established by his family as a perpetual endowment, the principal of the Scott Day Family Scholarship Fund will remain invested, while only the earnings are used each year to award scholarships. That way, the scholarship will endure in perpetuity… Along with Mr. Day’s legacy of inspiring and helping students.

To contribute to the Scott Day Family Scholarship, go to Or mail your check, payable to OBCF, to 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949; please write Scott Day Scholarship in the memo line.

Students may apply for the Scott Day Family Scholarship starting in March; applications are accepted online at The Outer Banks Community Foundation manages over 45 scholarships for local students, along with 100 other charitable funds. For more information on establishing a fund in memory of your loved one, call Lorelei at 252-261-8839.

Community Foundation Now Hiring!

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is seeking qualified, enthusiastic applicants for the full-time position of Office and Program Manager. If you are passionate about serving our community, and you thrive in a fast-paced office, we invite you to apply to become part of our team.

The Office and Program Manager is responsible for managing all of the general business of the Community Foundation, ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of all programs and operations. The O&P Manager will manage all office systems, including the office building and grounds, all records and files, all computer and network systems, and the central constituent database. The O&P Manager will also manage the Community Foundation’s $2.2 million scholarship program, as well as organize all Community Foundation events and mailings. Additional responsibilities may be determined at the time of hire, based on the successful candidate’s interests, qualifications, and experience, and the Community Foundation’s needs. This is a full-time position with competitive salary and benefits, including medical and dental insurance. This position has huge leadership potential; it’s a great opportunity for someone wants to be involved with every aspect of the Community Foundation’s work. Click here for the full position description.

To apply, please email your résumé and cover letter to Lorelei Costa by Friday, January 30 at LCosta “at” After January 30, applications will be accepted but may not receive priority consideration.