We’re Going to Get There: One Year Later, the Road to Recovery from Dorian


We’re Going to Get There — The Road to Recovery from Dorian

Part One of a Two-Part Series, One Year After the Hurricane

by Kip Tabb

On a warm day in late August this year, Ocracoke looks much like it has for years. Traffic moves at a crawl through the village business district, the shops are full of people, restaurants are open, and golf carts and bikes seem the best way to get around.

“In general, it’s pretty brisk. And I’ve heard that from other people around the village as well. They’re feeling pretty good about the season,” Amy Howard, owner of the Village Craftsman, said. “All in all, that’s really good news.”

Yet Ocracoke is still a community on the mend from the devastation that Hurricane Dorian wreaked one year ago. Away from the main business district, among streets where only residents go, or along the quaint dirt roads that are still a part of the village, there is still a journey to be traveled.

“It’s just been really a real big challenge, so we’ve come a long way. We’re not fully back, but we’re going to get there,” Paige Bennett said. Bennett was one of a number of island residents who volunteered as caseworkers in the wake of Dorian to help her neighbors get the aid they needed.

On September 1, 2019 Hurricane Dorian made landfall at Elbow Cay in the Bahamas as a category five storm. For three days it lashed the island nation with sustained winds as strong as 185 mph, before beginning its trek to the north.

The path of the storm paralleled the coast, bypassing Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, finally making landfall on Hatteras Island at 8:35 in the morning on September 6 as a powerful category one hurricane.

As the storm exited over the ocean, it left unprecedented levels of damage in its wake, especially on Ocracoke and Hatteras. But, as is often the case in coastal communities, it was not the wind that did the damage; rather, it was the water, the storm surge that inundated the towns and communities.

And the storm surge was like nothing anyone in those communities had ever experienced — 7 feet, 4 inches in Ocracoke Village, flooding every street, every yard, every property. On Hatteras Island the US Coast Guard gauge recorded a storm surge of 7 feet.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation may have been the first relief agency to recognize the enormity of what was happening, establishing a relief fund before flood waters had even receded.

Lorelei Costa, Community Foundation Executive Director, said, “On Friday, September 6 when Hurricane Dorian was still blowing, I started getting news that Ocracoke had just been slammed and that it was under water. It became immediately clear that Ocracoke, which has always been a part of our service area, would need help of some sort. I talked to my board president, Scott Brown, and we decided to encourage donors to earmark gifts for Ocracoke or Dare County, or split it between the two.”

The response was overwhelming, ultimately raising over $1.5 million for Ocracoke and Dare County within a few months. The first and largest donor was TowneBank, contributing the lead gift of $150,000 on the very next day after the storm. Eventually more than 6,000 individuals, businesses, and other groups contributed to the cause.

From the beginning, the needs of the communities were extraordinary. On Hatteras Island homes were flooded and businesses damaged, but it was Ocracoke that took the full brunt of the storm.

In Ocracoke, homes that had stood for years were knocked off their foundations; almost every home, every structure had some form of water damage. Harrowing tales of people clambering out of windows to safety, or climbing on counters or beds to escape rising waters, were common.

Yet, no one lost their life.

“If we didn’t have anything else to be thankful for, but the lack of the loss of life, that in itself is enough,” Pastor Ivey Belch of the Ocracoke Lifesaving Church said.

Immediately after the storm, Pastor Belch was at the heart of the recovery process. His church’s Bread of Life Food Pantry has been a part of Ocracoke since 2017. Partially flooded by Dorian, the pantry moved temporarily to the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Station, which became the hub of relief efforts and donated supplies.

Food, cleaning supplies, and household goods poured into Ocracoke as Dorian exited. But just getting the supplies to the island proved to be a logistical nightmare; the storm surge ripped great chunks of asphalt from the roadbed of NC 12 on the north end of the island. The road was impassable for weeks, and the Ocracoke/Hatteras ferry trip went from a one-hour trip to two-and-a-half hours. The Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries continued service, but a round trip now took five to six hours.

The immediate needs of the community quickly became apparent — estimates put the number of uninhabitable homes as high as 40% in Ocracoke Village. Even homes that did not have structural damage still had losses.

“It did not get into my living quarters,” Connie Leinbach, the editor of the Ocracoke Observer, said. “But…it was chest high downstairs. I had to replace my washer and dryer.”

Housing was not the only problem. According to Hyde County Commissioner Tom Pahl, in a speech at the Community Foundation’s Annual Meeting, 88 out of 105 businesses on Ocracoke sustained significant damage. Many were left unemployed, and the financial strain was extraordinary.

The first grants from the Community Foundation were for assistance with the immediate needs of the community — paying for food, helping with utility and medical bills, replacing furniture and appliances — simply keeping day-to-day life moving forward.

Pastor Belch believes the speed at which the first grants and donations came to the island were important to the strength of the recovery.

“I would say definitely the amount of assistance and help and funding that came in, in the beginning, was a huge kickstart. I don’t think we would be where we’re at today if it hadn’t been for the amount of monetary and physical donations and help that came in the beginning,” he said.

That aid was invaluable. Although there has been significant funding for large projects to restore roads and infrastructure from government agencies, neither the state nor federal government had the flexibility or speed to help a family immediately who had lost a home or a job.

Working with the Community Foundation, a committee of volunteers from the Ocracoke Fire Department came together to distribute funds to storm victims. But in a community as tightly knit as Ocracoke, it was important that everyone believed in the integrity of the system. Thus, a group of volunteer caseworkers was formed to interview clients to ascertain needs, and pass along that information anonymously to decision-makers, with victims’ names and addresses withheld.

In an interview in November 2019 for the Coastal Review Online, Fire Department committee member Charles Temple explained the process.

“What we settled on was using case workers who could be advocates for their clients to us, but we wouldn’t know who the client was until we had already made decisions about giving out money,” he said.

Over time the needs of the community changed. By the end of November, NC 12 on the north end of the island had been repaired, and the goods, services, and workers needed to repair the damage done by Dorian were coming to Ocracoke. But as those goods and services reached the island, the necessity of addressing the damage to Ocracoke’s homes — and the critical shortage of housing — became even more apparent.

As 2019 ended and the new year began, the new challenge facing the Relief Fund was what could be done for the homes of Ocracoke and Hatteras Island.

Today, a year after Dorian, the Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund has now helped over 350 families from Ocracoke and Dare County, in partnership with the Ocracoke Fire Department, Interfaith Community Outreach, Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, Hyde County, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. But the challenges to address housing, increase our community’s resiliency, and make our communities whole, have continued, especially through COVID.

Coming Up: Part Two: Housing, and the COVID Crisis

COVID Rapid Response Grants Round Six Now Open

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits for a sixth round of COVID Rapid Response Grants.

During this cycle, the Community Foundation is especially encouraging grant proposals from groups addressing childcare and remote learning needs during school closures.

To be eligible for a COVID Rapid Response Grant, programs must be urgent in nature and must be related to the Coronavirus crisis, either directly (e.g., programs that assist students with remote learning) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to workers without child care). True to their name, COVID Rapid Response Grants have an expedited application process and a fast-track decision timeframe. COVID-related requests must be submitted by 5pm on Monday, September 14 via a one- or two-page letter, plus attached budget, with funding decisions made the following week.

“The Outer Banks continues to face unprecedented challenges through the COVID crisis,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “One challenge that we’d particularly like to address is the urgent need to support working families of school-age children while our schools are closed. We are very interested in helping families that must work during the school day, as well as families with children with special learning needs.”

To date, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $220,000 in COVID Rapid Response Grants for a wide range of programs, including nutritional assistance, internet connectivity for at-home students, and financial assistance for the unemployed.

To apply for a grant, nonprofits should first review the grant guidelines published online at www.obcf.org/grants, and then call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their project and funding needs.

OBCF Awards $65,000 in COVID Grants for Childcare and Educational Needs

In its fifth round of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, the Outer Banks Community Foundation has awarded more than $65,000 in emergency funding to local nonprofits. The grants will help families in Dare County afford childcare and tutoring during the COVID-19 school closures.

“Our schools are starting in 10 days with remote learning, which will safeguard our students and teachers through the COVID crisis, but will also present a tremendous challenge for working families who cannot stay home with their kids,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director.

“The Community Foundation is working to address this urgent need by helping nonprofits offer new childcare and tutoring programs in our community, and by offering scholarships to help families afford these and other educational programs.”

The Outer Banks Family YMCA received a grant to launch its E-Learning Academy, a full-day program designed for kids, Pre-K through 8th Grade, learning virtually this school year. Through this program, the Y is transforming its Nags Head facility into “classrooms” that will support students’ online education and remote learning. Academic coaches at the Y will support students through the Dare County Schools’ curriculum and provide additional daily enrichment for kids. The grant from the Community Foundation will allow the Y to offer E-Learning Academy “scholarships” to families who cannot otherwise afford the program. For more details, and to enroll your child, please call the YMCA at 252-449-8897.

The Mustang Outreach Program also received a grant from the Community Foundation, for a Remote Learning and Tutoring Center Project in Kill Devil Hills. Following CDC guidelines, the Center will serve as a safe, centrally located, and sanitized environment for tutoring, with an emphasis on serving children with special learning needs. The grant from the Community Foundation will allow the Program to offer scholarships to families who cannot otherwise afford tutoring. For more details, and to enroll your child, please call Mustang Outreach at 252-441-4612.

In addition to these two new programs, the Community Foundation is also supporting families through a grant to Interfaith Community Outreach. Through Community Foundation funding, Interfaith will offer monetary assistance to families with financial need to help pay for any type of childcare and/or tutoring the family may need. “Whether it’s a babysitter, a childcare facility, a special needs educator, or an afterschool tutor helping a child learn English, this grant to Interfaith will help families give their children with the support and care they need to be safe and succeed in remote learning,” said Ms. Costa. Families can apply for assistance at www.interfaithoutreach.com/assistance, or by calling 252-480-0070.

The grants announced today are funded by a special gift the Community Foundation received from an anonymous donor at the end of last year. The Community Foundation announced the Vision 2020 Fund for the Outer Banks in February, with the intent of using the gift to address an urgent and pressing community need, to be identified.

“Today, as the COVID crisis continues to affect local families, businesses, and nonprofits across our community, the Board of the Community Foundation decided that the best use of the Vision 2020 Fund was to address these on-going, urgent, COVID-related needs,” said Ms. Costa.

You can help more families in our community afford child care, get access to educational support, and otherwise thrive through remote learning and the COVID-19 crisis. To contribute to the Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Grants Fund, visit www.obcf.org/donate, or call 252-261-8839 for more information.

Community Foundation Accepting Applications for COVID Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits for a fifth round of COVID Rapid Response Grants, as well as applications from any nonprofit for any type of charitable project benefiting the Outer Banks.

During this cycle, the Community Foundation is especially encouraging grant proposals from groups addressing childcare and remote learning needs during school closures.

To be eligible for a COVID Rapid Response Grant, programs must be urgent in nature and must be related to the Coronavirus crisis, either directly (e.g., programs to stop the spread) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to workers without child care). True to their name, COVID Rapid Response Grants have an expedited application process and a fast-track decision timeframe. COVID-related requests must be submitted by 5pm on Friday, July 31 via a one- or two-page letter, plus attached budget, with funding decisions made by August 7.

“The Outer Banks continues to face unprecedented challenges through the COVID crisis,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “One challenge that we’d particularly like to address is the urgent need to support working families of school-age children while our schools are closed. We are very interested in helping families that must work during the school day, as well as families with children with special learning needs.”

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation awarded more than $150,000 in COVID Rapid Response Grants for a wide range of programs, including nutritional assistance, internet connectivity for at-home students, and financial assistance for the unemployed.

To apply for a grant, nonprofits should first review the grant guidelines published online at www.obcf.org/grants, and then call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their project and funding needs.

In addition to COVID-related projects, the Community Foundation is also accepting applications for any charitable project benefiting the Outer Banks through the Community Enrichment Grants Program. Community Enrichment Grants are offered on a competitive basis for any kind of nonprofit program, including: arts & culture; animal welfare; children & youth; education; the environment; disaster relief & prevention; health; historic interpretation & preservation; and other human services.

Most Community Enrichment Grants will support the direct costs of a charitable project or program. In 2019, for example, the Community Foundation sponsored pet resuscitation masks for Dare County fire departments through the Coastal Humane Society, furnishings for the Monarch Beach Club’s day programs, and renovations and new appliances for the Roanoke Island Food Pantry.

Some limited Community Enrichment Grants are also available to nonprofits for program staff wages. For example, a grant in 2019 is allowing the Community Care Clinic to retain a Spanish language translator and interpreter to provide medical care to low-income, uninsured, and under-insured patients.

Community Enrichment Grants also are awarded for capacity-building projects, with a goal of enhancing a nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality. For example, grants were awarded last year for software for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and for computer equipment for Interfaith Community Outreach.

Additionally, the Community Foundation awards program scholarship grants, which are grants to enable a nonprofit to offer “scholarships” to individuals and families with financial need or other hardship. The scholarships offset the registration fees that the nonprofit would normally charge for any kind of enrichment program, such as an educational offering or tutoring program.

While applications for COVID Rapid Response Grants may be in the format of a brief letter, applications for Community Enrichment Grants must be submitted via the Community Foundation’s online system. The deadline for Community Enrichment Grants is also Friday, July 31, but Community Enrichment Grants will be awarded on September 3. All applicants are urged to call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 before starting an application. More information can be found at www.obcf.org/grants.

Lorelei Costa Elected to Statewide Nonprofit Board

The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits announced today that Outer Banks Community Foundation Executive Director Lorelei Costa has been elected to the statewide board of directors of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.

The announcement states: “Since 2012, Costa has led the Outer Banks Community Foundation, a public charity that helps to increase charitable giving, manage charitable funds, and provide targeted grants and scholarships to meet local needs in Dare County, Ocracoke, and across all Outer Banks communities.

“We’re so pleased that Lorelei brings her experience and perspective from both the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to the Center’s board and the greater North Carolina nonprofit community the Center serves and advocates for,” said Jeanne Tedrow, president and CEO of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.

Costa also serves as a board member of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, and recently served on the Community Leadership Council of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. She has a been a life-long volunteer with nonprofits, including performing arts groups, historic preservation, public radio, women’s health, and a homeless shelter, and her local fire department.

About the Center: Founded in 1990, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a statewide network for nonprofit board and staff members, an information center on effective organizational practices, and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole. We offer services directly to all sizes and types of 501(c)(3) nonprofits and work closely with other local, state and national groups that assist nonprofits.”

Costa said, “It’s an honor to be elected to this board. I have long admired the NC Center for Nonprofits. They are a very valuable resource to groups across the state, including ours.”

2019 Annual Report is Published Online

Our 2019 Annual Report is published! At a time when more and more experiences are virtual ones, we decided not to print a large batch of books, but instead, to publish and share an historic year in our Community Foundation with you online.

The main reason: there were just too many donors to print – to do so would have nearly doubled the size of our Annual Report! A record 6,000 donors from around the country and across the globe contributed to our Disaster Relief Fund after Hurricane Dorian. That disaster was unlike anything our community had seen, since the Community Foundation was formed, nearly forty years ago. Daniel Pullen’s photos, a heart-warming story, and a complete list of disaster donors all are included in this year’s report, in addition to other important benchmarks.

There were four new scholarship funds created in 2019, to honor people who worked hard, got ahead, and who inspired others to achieve more and to always think and act generously. Thirty 2019 graduating seniors and nineteen college students received $192,000 in scholarships in 2019, from 55 scholarship funds held in trust at the Community Foundation. Each scholarship represents a student who is preparing to go out into the world to live their dreams and reach their goals.

There are six new funds, created in 2019 by big-hearted donors who wanted to leave this Outer Banks a better place. Five of these are “endowed,” meaning they have been placed in trust so they will aid the community for many generations into the future, finding solutions to pressing needs and supporting promising opportunities we can only dream of today.

The Community Foundation’s story—the one you’ll see in our 2019 Annual Report—is really about thousands of donors, all with different interests, different passions, and different stories. Some want to ensure our children have opportunities for bright futures. Some want to use our expertise to create funds to support a specific charity, alma mater, or park. Others have broader interests and want to apply their donations to address larger needs. Still others want to give back to a place that has given them so much, and help the Outer Banks in general, with a forever gift to the community.

It is our honor at the Outer Banks Community Foundation to connect people who care with the causes, great and small, that matter most to them. We ensure their legacies are honored, stewarded, and do the most good.

We hope you enjoy reading the good YOU helped create in 2019. And we hope you’re thinking about the kind of mark you are making, and the lives you are touching, through your philanthropy. We invite you to call us at 252-261-8830 to help you further your legacy of giving.

Read the full annual report here.

Community Foundation Awards $37,000 to 14 Nonprofits

At the June meeting of the Outer Banks Community Foundation Board of Directors, over $37,000 was awarded to support the work of 14 vital nonprofits. The grants will aid a variety of local causes, including care for our elderly, therapeutic activities for people with special needs, food, medicine, education, and the arts.

NC MedAssist received a $10,000 Community Enrichment Grant to provide free prescription medications to low-income, uninsured Dare County residents. An estimated 15% of Dare County adults are uninsured and 11% of our residents live at or below the federal poverty level. Last year, NC MedAssist served 245 Dare County residents, providing them with more than $650,000 in needed, and often life-saving, medications.

NC MedAssist reports that the high cost of prescription medications is still the number one reason why uninsured individuals go without their daily medicine for diseases like high blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes. “Without our programs, our patients would have to choose between putting food on the table and purchasing their medicine,” wrote Sheila Kidwell, NC MedAssist Director of Foundations and Communications.

Dare County residents can apply for medication assistance online at https://medassist.org/how-to-enroll/ or by calling MedAssist toll-free at (866)331-1348.

MANE & TAILL Therapeutic Horsemanship Academy earned a $7,000 Special Focus Grant to provide individual riding lessons and horsemanship skills to people with special needs in Currituck County. MANE & TAILL has been serving the community since 2009, providing a safe, nurturing environment for approximately fifty clients each year. Their programs are designed so that children and adults with special needs can learn life lessons and reach physical, emotional, and social goals from their experiences with horses.

This grant was made possible by a bequest from the late Pauline Wright of Currituck, who had a passion for helping people with disabilities and left a gift to the Community Foundation in her will to do exactly that.

Outer Banks Forever was awarded a $500 Special Focus Grant for digital education and distance learning programs about the history of the Wright Brothers.

Special Focus Grants are available in the spring of each year, with dedicated funds earmarked by donors for the causes they choose. The Community Foundation currently administers Special Focus Grants in the areas of animal welfare, aviation education, and opportunities for people with disabilities, in both Dare and Currituck.

Several donor-advised funds also made grants in June, including the Kelly Family Fund, the Preston Family Fund, and the Burwell A. Evans Charitable Fund. Donor-advised funds are managed on behalf of individuals and families, who recommend the grants that are awarded. This month’s recipients include G.E.M. Adult Day Services, Friends of Jockey’s Ridge, NC Coastal Land Trust, Lacey J. McNeil First Flight Rotary Scholarship, Outer Banks Relief Foundation, Beach Food Pantry, and Dare County Arts Council.

The Community Foundation is now accepting applications for its next cycle of Community Enrichment Grants. Eligible projects must directly benefit all or a portion of the Community Foundation’s service area, which includes all of Dare County, and all Outer Banks communities, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island. Community Enrichment Grants support all charitable causes, including arts and culture, children/youth, disaster relief and prevention, education, the environment, historic interpretation and preservation, and other human services.

Prospective applicants are urged to review the grant guidelines online at www.obcf.org/grants, and then call the Community Foundation to discuss their ideas. The application deadline is Friday, July 31, 2020.

Community Foundation Awards $164,000 in Scholarships

For a full list of scholarship recipients, please visit www.obcf.org/scholarships/recent-recipients.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation awarded $164,000 in scholarships this spring, helping students from across the Outer Banks achieve their educational dreams.

31 graduating seniors from Cape Hatteras Secondary School, Manteo High School, Currituck County High School, Ocracoke School, and First Flight High School received scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year. Of these students,15 received awards that are renewable for up to four years of college.

In addition to these awards, the Community Foundation has also renewed financial support to 22 current college students who earned multi-year scholarships.

The R. Stewart Couch Hatteras Island Scholarship, in the amount of $8,600, was awarded to Hatteras Island Secondary School senior Jadon Midgett. Stewart Couch established this scholarship for Hatteras Island students through a generous bequest in his last will and testament. Contributions raised by the Outer Banks Association of Realtors in Stewart’s memory were added to his bequest to make this the Community Foundation’s most generous single-year award. The scholarship is given each year to one graduating high school senior from Hatteras Island, the “diamond in the rough” who just needs a little help to achieve his or her educational dreams.

“Throughout High School, I have always done my best to keep a strong academic record and maintain involvement in as many extracurricular activities as possible. Now it seems that all of this work is finally beginning to pay off,” wrote Jadon. “As the son of a lineman and the grandson of a commercial fisherman, I come from a blue-collar family and am a first-generation college student… this scholarship will certainly be a big help.”

First Flight High School graduating senior Sara Rae (Simone) Midgett was awarded the $6,000 Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship, which is renewable for up to four years, with a total value of $24,000. This need-based scholarship targets Manteo and First Flight High School students who worked throughout high school and who plan to continue to work through college. The intent of this scholarship is to help students achieve educational dreams that might not otherwise be possible. Simone also received a $1,000 Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship.

“I worked hard to become captain of the lacrosse team and Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper,” wrote Simone in her application essay. “I worked hard to be elected student government secretary and president of Teen Democrats. I worked hard for all of these things because I knew they could help me reach my goal: to go to college. For me, having the opportunity to go to college allows me to beat the odds. I would be the first person in my family to go to college and graduate.”

The Milton A. Jewell Academic Scholarship, a four-year, $24,000 award, went to Judith “Judy” Rose Williams of First Flight High School.

Judy wrote, “My goal is to become a pediatric surgeon and travel the world, giving patients the healthcare they deserve. One day, I hope to move to a Third World country and open a clinic with an attached orphanage or youth center. I not only want to give children physical support, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual support. I am determined to give them the opportunity to live out their passions, just as I intend to live out mine.”

The Community Foundation also announced three new scholarship programs this year. Two scholarships were created by Millie Roughton, in memory of her late husband, local entrepreneur, and Bear Pharmacy founder Billy Roughton. The Billy G. Roughton Memorial Scholarship for Medical Professions provides financial assistance to students from Dare or Currituck Counties with strong academic records who are pursuing a field of study in an allied, clinical health profession; the Billy G. Roughton Memorial Scholarship for Tourism and Hospitality will award scholarships to learners with strong academic records who are pursuing certification in tourism and/or hospitality. The Karen Phillips Scholarship, also established in 2019, will be awarded to a Dare County student who plans to pursue studies in a medical field. The first scholarships from these three new funds will be awarded in the fall of 2020 by Community Foundation scholarship partners College of the Albemarle and Mount Olivet United Methodist Church.

Scholarship funds have been generously donated by 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, or donate to an existing fund online at www.obcf.org/donate.

Community Foundation Awards $150,000 in COVID Grants

This week the Outer Banks Community Foundation announced its fourth round of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, awarding over $13,000 to three more nonprofits. These latest grants will support artists in Dare County, a diaper drive for families with young children, and essential upgrades for our community’s free health clinic.

In total the Community Foundation has awarded over $150,000 in COVID Grants since March 13 to sixteen local nonprofits, supporting their efforts to provide for the basic, urgent needs of Outer Bankers during the Coronavirus emergency.

“Since mid-March, our local nonprofits have been on the front lines of this crisis, keeping our families secure and healthy through this pandemic,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “This extraordinary work is despite our nonprofits suffering from over $1.1 million in revenue losses because of the COVID crisis, due to canceled fundraisers, decreased donations, and lost opportunities for earned income.”

“The Community Foundation has been honored to help begin to fill this funding gap for our indispensable nonprofits. We’ve been so inspired by their tireless determination to serve our community’s basic needs through the COVID-19 crisis, and we are honored to assist in their efforts.”

The fourth, most recent round of Rapid Response Grants funded new needs related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Recognizing the important role that the “creative class” of artists, musicians, and performers play in Dare County — and the impacts that the COVID shut-down has had on their livelihoods — the Community Foundation awarded Dare County Arts Council a grant of $5,000 to support new digital revenue platforms for Outer Banks artists. The grant will support virtual concerts, online classes, an online store of local artists’ wares, and digital art exhibits.

Funding for this grant was from a bequest from the late Dorothy Luedemann, a local artist whose Legacy Gift to the Community Foundation established a forever fund to award grants to arts organizations across Dare County

Children and Youth Partnership for Dare County also received a Rapid Response Grant in May: $5,000 to address an area of unmet need—diapers for families of young children. The cost and lack of availability of diapers and wipes have put a significant strain on families already struggling to pay rent, provide food, and afford other basics. The Children and Youth Partnership is planning drive-through diaper distribution events on Roanoke and Hatteras islands in the near future, so families can conveniently and safely receive these vital necessities.

The Community Care Clinic of Dare also received a Rapid Response Grant in May 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.

Since March, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $70,000 to local food assistance programs to meet increased needs through the COVID crisis, from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras Island to Ocracoke. Rapid Response Grants have helped the Beach Food Pantry, Food for Thought, the Lifeline Outreach in Salvo, Bread of Life Food Pantry in Ocracoke, and the Buxton Food Pantry. Hatteras Island Meals and the Albemarle Development Corporation also received assistance to serve prepared meals to homebound seniors and adults with special needs.

Other Rapid Response Grants have provided financial assistance to Dare County residents who are out of work due to Coronavirus closures. Interfaith Community Outreach and Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men are using grant money to help families that are most affected by unemployment or underemployment, by assisting with rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills, and more.

Dare County and Ocracoke students benefited from more than $15,000 in grants, used to fund wireless access and adaptive equipment for special needs students. The goal of these grants was to allow students to successfully participate in remote learning and online classes through the mandated school closures. The Community Foundation was also able to award a wireless access grant for Currituck County students through a donor-advised fund.

“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. “These gifts, made over many years, have given us the flexibility to rapidly respond in times of crisis. We are more grateful than ever to our donors. Their legacy gifts continue to allow us to be innovative in meeting community needs as they arise.”

How is the COVID Crisis Affecting Your Nonprofit? Please Respond to Our Survey by Wednesday, May 6

We need to hear from you! The COVID-19 crisis has profoundly affected the Outer Banks, including our nonprofit sector, and we’d like to learn more about your organization’s challenges, your programs, and how we can help.

Click here to respond!

Have you expanded your services? Furloughed staff? Received a PPP Loan? Lost any revenue? Please share your experiences to help us shape the Community Foundation’s response.

Your time is valuable. Please know this nine-question survey will take just a few minutes. Also, we would appreciate only one response per nonprofit, so please make sure the appropriate person from your group gets this email.

We kindly ask that you please respond to our survey by Wednesday, May 6. Any questions or ideas? Please email me; I’d love to hear from you.

Please note: This survey is confidential. No information about any individual organization will be released without your permission. Also, participation in this survey is optional: neither your choice to participate (or not), nor any of the information you choose to provide, will be used in the consideration of any grant application, now or in the future, to the Community Foundation.

Thank you again for your time and for your thoughtful response to our survey!

Click here to respond.


Reminder: The next deadline for our next COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Cycle is Tuesday, May 12 at 5:00 pm. Decisions will be announced on Wednesday, May 20. Before applying, please read the details on our website, gather your ideas, and call me to discuss your project. Find more information at www.obcf.org/grants.

Stay well and healthy!

Lorelei Costa, Executive Director

Outer Banks Community Foundation

Mailing Address: 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949

Please note: Our physical office is temporarily closed to visitors. Instead, please reach us by phone or email.

t: 252-261-8839

f: 252-261-0371

c: 252-455-1404