Apply to Be Our Summer Intern!

Announcing Our 2019 Milton Jewell Internship

Are you a college student who’s looking to build your résumé, and make some money this summer? Are you interested in a career in journalism, communications, marketing, or photography, and eager to get your foot in the door? Or maybe you are hoping to learn more about the nonprofit sector, and passionate about helping your community?

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications for our prestigious Milton Jewell Internship, and all of our past scholarship recipients who are still enrolled in college are invited to apply.

This summer our Milton Jewell Intern will focus on marketing and communications projects, assisting with the foundation’s various print and electronic communications. We are looking for enthusiastic, creative individuals who are mature, quick to learn, and hard-working. We are particularly interested in students with an interest in photography and photojournalism.

The intern will work 20 hours per week from our Southern Shores office on the Outer Banks, with flexible hours to accommodate additional employment. The position pays $12.50 per hour. Start and end dates will depend on the intern’s college schedule; however, a 12-week commitment is expected. The Milton Jewell Intern will closely with our Executive Director and our entire staff.

Job Duties:

  • Interview donors, grantees, scholarship recipients, and volunteers to glean stories of the Community Foundation’s impact on the Outer Banks.
  • Compose compelling and beautifully written articles and press releases to tell those stories, targeted for specific media outlets and audiences.
  • For students with a photography interest: capture on-site, creative photographs of the Community Foundation’s donors, grantees, and scholarship recipients that tell stories through powerful and inspiring images.
  • Update the Community Foundation’s social media pages, including our Facebook and YouTube pages. Craft creative strategies for engaging and expanding our social media audience.
  • Help design and update the Community Foundation’s webpages, as well as (potentially) various print publications, flyers, and brochures.
  • Analyze the Community Foundation’s electronic reach, using online analytical tools like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. Create recommendations on improving that reach.
  • Uphold and promote the mission and values of the Community Foundation.
  • Assist with administrative duties as assigned.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a current undergraduate college student. Preference may be given to current sophomores and juniors; however, current freshmen and seniors are also invited to apply.
  • Must be a current or past recipient of an Outer Banks Community Foundation scholarship, including any of our scholarships given in partnership with other entities. (If you received this invitation to apply directly from the Community Foundation, and you’re still enrolled in school, you qualify! If you’re not sure, call us at 252-261-8839 to check.)
  • Preference may be given to students in the field of journalism, communications, creative writing, public relations, and/or nonprofit management, and/or to students with a strong career interest in the nonprofit sector.
  • Additional preference will be given to students with photography interest and skills.

Essential Qualities:

  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm, creativity, flexibility, maturity, reliability, self-motivation, congeniality.
  • Superior work ethic.
  • Strong computer skills.
  • Proficiency with the MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint).
  • WordPress and web design skills are a plus, as are graphic design and videography skills.

To Apply:

  • Email your cover letter, résumé, list of three references, and writing sample to no later than December 28, 2017. Please specify “Internship Application” in the subject line of your email.
  • If you have a photography, graphic design, and/or videography, samples are welcome. Send us either links to your samples, or send them as attachments to your email application, if the total files are less than 10MB in size.
  • Your list of references should include professional and/or academic contacts, with at least one current or past employer. For each reference, include his/her name, title/affiliation, telephone number, and email address.
  • In your cover letter, please describe your career interests, and any experience you have managing or creating spreadsheets and databases.
  • Your writing sample should be between 750 and 5,000 words. It should be wholly written and edited by you. It may be an excerpt of a longer work.
  • Finalists may be invited to interview in person over the holiday break, if possible.

About the Community Foundation: Founded in 1982 and based in Southern Shores, the Outer Banks Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 public charity that helps meet local needs across Dare County and the entire Outer Banks. The Community Foundation manages $17 million across 180 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, providing tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. With these funds the Community Foundation awards charitable grants to local nonprofits, and educational scholarships to local students through 50 diverse scholarship programs. Since its inception in 1982, the Community Foundation has awarded an estimated $8 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students. Learn more at

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.

Plan Your Giving for 2019: What We Can Learn from Ebenezer Scrooge

By Lorelei Costa

Note: This article first appeared in the December 19, 2018 edition of the Outer Banks Sentinel.


My son and I are binge-watching A Christmas Carol this season—every version we can reasonably watch, from Patrick Stewart to the Muppets to the corny musical with Albert Finney. The story has great messages about opening your eyes to people in need, and about the sheer joy of giving back.

There is so much heart-breaking poverty in our world, not so very different from what the Christmas Ghosts showed Ebenezer Scrooge. Once you open your eyes, it can be downright overwhelming. With so much need around the world, and even here on the Outer Banks, where on earth do you start?

Look, giving away money is easy. Giving it away wisely can be hard—yet all the more joyful. Effectual, impactful philanthropy does not require deep pockets, just some thoughtfulness and planning.

With the new year approaching, this might be a great time for you, your family, or your company to start planning your 2019 philanthropy. It’s simply a matter of reviewing your past giving, creating a vision, selecting focus areas, and setting some guidelines.

Step 1: Review your past giving. Start by making a list of all your gifts from 2018. If you keep good records, this will be easy—and the actual numbers may surprise you. But if you can’t remember every gift, that’s okay. What’s most important is to answer these three questions:

  • What was the largest gift you gave in 2018?
  • What gift had the most impact, or made the biggest difference, in your estimation?
  • Lastly, of all your gifts from 2018, which brought YOU the most joy?

In the perfect world, you’ll name the same gift for all three questions—but oddly, for most of us, that’s not always the case.

Ideally, we each donate the majority of our resources to the causes that fulfill us the most, and make the biggest difference.

For example, maybe Scrooge’s biggest gift was to his childhood boarding school, but the gift that made him happiest was the Christmas goose for the Cratchits. Maybe next year he resolves to give away more geese.

Step 2: Create your vision. Think big, and imagine a little. What are your hopes and dreams for your community, today and tomorrow? How would you want to improve our world?

Speaking of world, ponder your scope. Do you want to address global issues, or start at home in your community, or both?

Think about impact: Do you want to help today by focusing on immediate needs, or would you rather tackle root causes and long-term solutions? For example, would you rather buy new crutches for Tiny Tim, or contribute to research for finding a cure for spina bifida?

Step 3: Select your areas of focus. Now that you have your vision, what are your specific charitable priority areas? If you’re not sure, think about the issues that inspire you (or enrage you) the most when you read the paper, or the organizations that have made a difference in your life.

Maybe you are passionate about disaster relief, or faith-based charities. Or maybe it’s the environment, health, education, animals, affordable housing, economic development, arts and culture, or civil rights. Be as specific as you want; specificity now will be helpful when you start to feel overwhelmed later. Try to narrow your focus to one, two, or three priority areas, the causes that touch your heart the most.

From here, consider summarizing your priorities into a short mission statement. This is optional: for most folks, a simple list of focus areas is enough. That said, if you’re doing this exercise on behalf of a company or foundation, you might find that a well-crafted mission statement will help you publicize your charitable goals.

Scrooge might have written something like this: I seek to ameliorate Ignorance and Want by supporting literacy efforts, helping children with spina bifida, advocating for reform of prisons and workhouses, and providing food for the hungry, with a special emphasis on Christmas geese.

Step 4. Set your guidelines. You have your charitable priorities now and, presumably, a budget for your giving. You may wish to establish some guidelines, and allocate percentages for different areas of focus.

For example, Scrooge may want to target 60% of his wealth toward his top causes (e.g., literacy, Christmas geese), while keeping 20% for general community causes (e.g., his alma mater and community foundation), and 20% for his flex fund. I do recommend keeping a small flex fund so you can support any unexpected, compelling requests as they arise.

If you have children, perhaps you allocate some amount for your kids to give away. If you have a business, perhaps you dedicate some amount for your company’s priorities, and some amount for your employees’ matching gifts. Set other guidelines (must-have’s, never-do’s) as desired.

Lastly, look again at your priorities, and compare them to last year’s giving. Whatever gifts brought you the most joy and made the biggest impact last year: make sure you dedicate the majority of your largesse to those places.

To purloin the sentiments of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred: Though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that giving has done me good, and will do me good.

May your holidays and new year also be filled with the joy of giving.


Image by Robert Doucette through Wikimedia Commons.

New Scholarship Honors Courage, Determination in Long-Time Coach

Story by Kip Tabb

Rex Sample led a remarkable life. A teacher, coach, athlete, and dad to two daughters, Margie and Nikki, Rex exemplified every value he hoped to impart to young people: courage, determination, and positivity in the face of hardship.

A new college scholarship will pay tribute to Rex’s extraordinary legacy. Established through the generosity of dozens of family and friends, the Rex Sample Award for Courage and Determination will be given for the first time in 2019 through the Outer Banks Community Foundation to an athlete from First Flight High School who has overcome adversity with courage, determination, and a positive attitude.

Success in life is measured by many things—by the love of friends and family, by the success of a career, by doing the things you love. But ultimately, the trials and adversity of life define a successful person. By that standard, Rex Sample enjoyed a level of success very few ever achieve.

“Elton John was his hero, and his theme song was ‘I’m Still Standing,’ ” said his wife of 20 years, Jackie Ricks-Sample.

Rex was a teenager when he diagnosed with leukemia. At that time, the early 1970s, the disease was viewed as a death sentence. His family, though, had a connection at the National Institutes of Health, and he was able to get into an experimental program.

“He was there off and on for a year,” Jackie stated. There were over 100 patients in the program, she said, and Rex was one of the few to survive. “He was one of only 16 who lived.”

After winning his battle with leukemia, Rex entered a career in education. He began teaching in Elizabeth City, where he grew up, but when First Flight Middle School opened in 1991, Rex immediately joined the staff.

Sports, kids, and coaching were always at the heart of who Rex was, according to Jackie. Tennis was his first sports passion, and he started playing in high school.  Once his teaching career began, he coached tennis, baseball, basketball, and eventually golf.

“Golf in his adult life became his passion,” said Jackie.

Rex had opportunities, his wife recalled, to teach and coach at the high school, but middle school was where his heart lay.

“He loved his middle school kids, and his middle school kids loved him,” she said. “He was always the teacher who looked out for the challenged kids.”

Rex, however, continued to have challenges of his own. Part of his leukemia treatment involved numerous blood transfusions, and somewhere in all those procedures, he was infected with hepatitis C, a slow developing disease that can be deadly if left untreated.

The couple knew about the hepatitis when they were married in 1998, but Rex continued teaching and coaching, devoted to his kids.

“He coached many championship golf teams, and many championship baseball teams,” she said.

“He was really an upbeat guy,” continued Jackie. “Some days he didn’t feel great and had to slow down some. But when he felt great, he would be on that golf course.”

In fact, Rex became an accomplished golfer, with 11 hole-in-ones to his name. One of his greatest joys was his time volunteering at the Masters in Augusta.

By 2005 the hepatitis C had really begun to take its toll, and Rex had to begin treatment that included a year-long cocktail of drugs noted for their devastating effort on the human body. The cure rate was only 50%. Rex endured 3 rounds of this treatment, but the virus persisted. By 2006 the severe effects of the drugs forced Rex to give up his dream job.

“He just couldn’t maintain the energy.  As much as he hated it, it was time to go on disability,” Jackie said.

Yet through it all, Rex faced his challenges with courage. “He just had a wonderful sense of humor and a positive outlook,” Jackie recalled.

Rex continued to surround himself with loved ones, who helped him through these difficult times. “His friends would say they just loved being around him. He was fun. He was funny. If he was your friend he was your best friend,” Jackie said.

Finally, in 2014 when new drugs were introduced, there was success.

“We were like, ‘Yay! We’ve been fighting this disease for all these years, and it’s finally gone,’ ” Jackie said.

Rex, however, still had challenges ahead. By that point, his liver was so damaged by the virus that it had become cancerous, and the only option was a transplant.

Rex continued to fight with positivity and determination, and the transplant was successfully completed in 2016.

“They called him Fat Cat,” Jackie said. “That was his nickname because he was a cat with nine plus lives. He just kept overcoming these challenges.”

At first the couple thought they had finally defeated the disease.

“He got through that, and was feeling good. But… the cancer had spread,” Jackie explained.

The first stroke was in September of 2017. Four months later, Rex Sample passed away. He left behind family and friends who loved and admired him, and countless students whom he had inspired and mentored.

Although his life was finally taken by the disease that he fought for so many years, the legacy that Rex left is one of optimism, hope, and love of life. “He had a non-defeatist attitude. He just kept overcoming all these challenges,” Jackie said.

The scholarship in his name will give opportunities to young people who have also faced hardship. Open to college-bound high school seniors, the Rex Sample Award is one of 50 scholarships held by the Outer Banks Community Foundation. Starting in late February, students can apply for the award—and any other OBCF scholarship for which they are eligible—through a common application online.

“We thought, what better way to honor Rex than to create a scholarship that would recognize… an athlete who has overcome adversity,” Jackie said.

“For him it was health, but it doesn’t have to be health. It could be challenges growing up. It might be family. It could be school. It really could be any adversity… how you deal with it and how you overcame it.”

“You just never give up,” said Jackie. “I think that was sort of his mantra.” It’s a legacy of courage and determination that will continue to live on.

Community Foundation Awards $70,000 in Grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation announced $70,000 in grants last week to 17 nonprofit charities. The grants will support a variety of local causes, from health care to food assistance, youth development to senior care, disaster relief to animal care.

The grants included over $15,000 to the Beach Food Pantry for new refrigerators and freezers, $25,000 to the Outer Banks Family YMCA to renovate their locker rooms, and over $7,000 to the Community Care Clinic of Dare to update their telephone systems and network technology.

Additional grants included $5,000 to Dare County Special Olympics to replace equipment and uniforms that were damaged during Hurricane Michael. A further $3,000 was awarded to the Outer Banks Dementia Task Force for a conference for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, four donor-advised funds within the Community Foundation awarded grants earlier this month, including the Preston Family Fund, the Peregrine and Kaye White Fund, the Elliott-Sawyer Family Fund, and the Kelly Family Fund. Donor-advised funds are managed on behalf of individuals and families, who recommend the grants that are awarded. This month’s recipients included a host of local organizations, including Room in the Inn, Dare Challenge, OBX Pride, Friends of Jockey’s Ridge, Elizabethan Gardens, and Interfaith Community Outreach.

The Giving for Good Giving Circle also made grants this month to the Outer Banks SPCA, Surfrider Foundation, OBX Go Far, and OBX Storm. The Giving Circle is a group of local families with school-age children who pool their donations and decide together how to award grants.

“The Community Foundation is the Outer Banks’s home-grown grant-maker,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “We invest in our local students and nonprofits, supporting our community’s most promising opportunities, and meeting our community’s most pressing needs.”

She continued: “Our grant funding doesn’t come from one or two deep pockets. It comes from thousands of folks from across the Outer Banks, from Dare County, Ocracoke, and Currituck, and even visitors to our community, who contribute small and large donations to build our community’s future.”

Anyone can contribute to any of the Community Foundation’s charitable funds, including the Community Fund, its largest and broadest grant-making endowment. Donations can be made securely online at and are fully tax-deductible. Checks can also be mailed to OBCF, 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949.

Giving Guide by Lorelei: Tax-Saving Tips for Philanthropy

By Lorelei Costa

Note: This article first appeared in the November 14, 2018 edition of the Outer Banks Sentinel.


‘Tis the season to be giving! Yup, it’s that time of year. As the holidays approach, many of us reflect back on our calendars—and our checkbooks—and begin to choose the charities that will receive our year-end largesse.

While you’re reviewing your finances, this is a great time to make sure your philanthropy is structured to take the best advantage of the new provisions in the new tax bill. It may well be that you can get a greater tax benefit by shifting your giving strategy just a bit.

To be clear: you can still deduct your 2018 charitable donations! However, the new tax law has essentially doubled the standard deduction for most Americans, and therefore some tax-payers will find greater advantage in choosing the standard deduction, rather than itemizing cash donations and other typical deductions.

For example, maybe you don’t have a lot of mortgage interest to deduct. Your best strategy may be the standard deduction. If that’s your situation, there are still several smart giving strategies that may help your tax bill—and, of course, help your community.

Whether you itemize or not, consider whether these tactics will help your bottom line.

IRA Rollover Contributions: If you are age 70½ or older, your best strategy may be to donate to your favorite charities directly from your IRA, rather than from your checking account. Whether you itemize or not, if you donate directly from your IRA to charity, the money is never added to your income, yielding a much better bottom line on your tax return. Also, donations from your IRA count toward your required minimum distribution, which is fantastic if you don’t need your IRA for income right now, but are forced to take a distribution anyway because of your age. Remember, for this strategy to work, your IRA has to write the check directly to your charity.

Gifts of Stock: Gifts of cash are not always your most tax-advantaged strategy. If you happen to own securities outside of a retirement account, ask your financial advisor whether donating your appreciated stock would benefit you more than writing a check to charity. Donating your appreciated assets may help you avoid the capital gains tax, which is helpful whether you itemize or not.

Gift Bundling: Perhaps you contribute annually to charity, and perhaps your budget is somewhat flexible. Consider bundling the donations you might have made over two or more years into one year.

Take, for example, a married couple that gives $10,000 to charity each December, and has about $10,000 in mortgage interest and other potential deductions. If they give their usual $10,000 in December 2018, they might not benefit from itemizing in 2018 (because the standard deduction is now $24,000 for married couples).

But what if they gave that gift just a few weeks later, in January 2019, instead, and also gave again in December 2019, as per usual? By making two years’ worth of gifts in 2019, they can take the standard deduction of $24,000 in 2018, and itemize $30,000 in 2019—a much greater benefit over two years. If you have some flexibility in your budget, ask your accountant if this strategy would help you.

As always, the Outer Banks Community Foundation is your local resource for legacy philanthropy. Whether you wish to create a scholarship, endow your favorite nonprofit, help your community with a planned gift, start a grant-making endowment, or establish a family legacy fund, we are here to facilitate your giving. Call us at 252-261-8839 to learn more.


New Evans Scholarship Pays It Forward

Story by Kip Tabb

When Betty Evans was in nursing school, an anonymous donor reached out and helped her at a time of need.

“Someone donated money, and they chose me to receive it,” she said.

“It was $50, which doesn’t sound like much, but at the time I was really struggling. Just the idea that somebody wanted to help really made a difference. And it stuck with me.”

Betty went on to a career as an operating room nurse, specializing in heart surgery, a career that was personally and professionally rewarding. And now that she has an opportunity to do so, she and her husband, Wayne, would like to give another nursing student the same kind of help that meant so much to her.

Starting next year, the Elizabeth and Wayne Evans Scholarship will do just that. This new, need-based scholarship through the Outer Banks Community Foundation will help local nursing students attend any two-year or four-year nursing degree program.

“There’s a need for nurses,” Betty said. “There’s a shortage, and there will be more of a shortage in the future. It’s such a great career, and there’s so many places in it to go into.”

Originally from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Wayne and Betty have always believed in giving.

“We came from pretty poor backgrounds,” Wayne said. “We’ve been blessed in life, and now we want to give back.”

“We always like to help. Back home we always to try to help with animals and veterans groups,” Betty said.

The veterans groups for Betty, especially, have a special meaning.

“One of the girls I worked with lost her son in Afghanistan,” she said.

Most of the giving they have done in the past was anonymous, and usually through the local Catholic Church. Because of the Evanses, children from Beaver Falls who may not have had anything for Christmas found presents under the tree.

“We have a lady at the Catholic school who knows the kids,” Betty said. “She gets the wish list. She does the shopping. She does the wrapping. We get the thank you notes. They’re just so sweet and so funny. It’s so much fun to get those and see how cute they are.”

“I think we get more enjoyment out of giving the money to people,” Wayne said.

For the most part, Wayne and Betty live in Corolla now, in a home by the sea they bought some years ago. Sometimes Wayne still gets an occasional call from the restaurant equipment repair company that he founded.

“Other than that I’m retired,” he said.

“He loves it here,” Betty said. “When we get back home, he’s just so anxious to get back here. There’s something so soothing about the ocean and the sound of the surf.”

Once settled in their new home, the Evanses had that same desire to give back to their new community. The Outer Banks Community Foundation, with its emphasis on local giving, seemed like a natural fit.

“We like to donate locally. We don’t like those big charities,” Wayne said.

Then they read about Bonnie Pfennighaus and Louise Baraw, and their planned gift to establish a scholarship fund.

“When I read the article, that gave us the idea to go with the Community Foundation,” Wayne said. “Then I read up about them, and they seemed like a pretty good organization.”

The Community Foundation’s programs and services to donors seemed to fit the way the Evanses prefer to give.

“It gave us a place to go centrally,” Wayne said.

It also gave the couple the opportunity to do something they had been discussing for a while.

“We had talked about starting a scholarship before,” Betty said.

Betty’s scholarship donor was anonymous, and the Evanses, too, had been anonymous in their past gifts.  Then they realized that by telling their story, other potential donors may read about it and be motivated to step forward.

“If somebody else sees our article, maybe they’ll go to the Foundation, too,” Wayne said. And that first gift, which helped Betty when she was a student, will be paid forward yet again.

Community Foundation Invites Donations to Community Fund

To Our Wonderful Community,

What are your hopes and dreams for the Outer Banks… ten years from now, twenty years from now? What kind of community do you want to leave for our children, our grandchildren, and the generations after them?

At the Outer Banks Community Foundation, these are the conversations we have every day, because our job—our mission—is to invest in the future of this amazing place we are privileged to call home. And as we talk with our neighbors about our community’s future, we hear the same words again and again: opportunity, resilience, quality of life, compassion, generosity.

We want to share our vision for the Outer Banks of tomorrow, and examples of how we’ve already invested in that vision. Second, we invite your contributions for that future—your ideas, your enthusiasm, and your generous financial support. With your help, we can shape the Outer Banks’s future, and make our home an even more wonderful place for generations to come.

Opportunity: Can you envision a day when every hard-working student from the Outer Banks, regardless of background, has the opportunity and means to achieve a college education? That’s our dream at the Community Foundation, and your generosity can make it possible. In the words of one of our 72 local scholarship students, a Hatteras graduate who attends East Carolina University today: “Your contributions directly impact the lives of small town girls with big dreams like me.”

College education is just one opportunity we endeavor to provide for our young people. Thanks to our donors, last year we made strategic grants to Special Olympics, Mano al Hermano, Children and Youth Partnership, After Prom, and dozens of other charities, providing educational and enrichment opportunities to youth of all circumstances and abilities.

Community Resilience: We’ve been hard hit by many storms in recent years. What can we do to prepare our community for future disasters? With your help, the Community Foundation will continue to invest in the resilience of the Outer Banks, not only by building our Disaster Relief Fund to help future victims, but by investing in our local emergency infrastructure. For example, already this year we’ve purchased generators for Hatteras Island, radio technology for first responders, and smoke detectors for at-risk households.

Quality of Life: Beautiful beaches, artistic offerings, our rich, cultural history… how can we preserve and enhance the amazing quality of life that draws so many of us to the Outer Banks? Thanks to our donors, the Community Foundation has invested significantly in local arts, culture, history, and the environment. Over the past year, our grants supported the Dare County Youth Orchestra, will help restore the historic Ocracoke Island Inn, jumpstarted the campaign to build new, outdoor art space in Manteo, launched the educational efforts of the Pea Island Preservation Society, and will help create a children’s learning center at the Elizabethan Gardens. Your gift would continue to make the Outer Banks an even more wonderful place to live, work, and visit.

Compassion and Generosity: We could keep writing about wise and strategic investments, but perhaps more than anything, what makes our Outer Banks so very special, is the breath-taking compassion and generosity of our people. This is a community that rolls up its sleeves, empties pockets, and helps, always, when a person or family needs assistance.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is building our permanent source of support for people in need. A recent grant to Interfaith Community Outreach will significantly expand their capacity to help cancer patients. Other grants have built a playground at a local safehouse for domestic violence victims, purchased toiletries for high school students who can’t afford their own, and provided resources for people with dementia and their families. We even have special funds for animals, which have provided grants to help injured raptors, sick sea turtles, and homeless kitty cats.

Our community is unfailingly generous and compassionate, and I hope that you can be generous today by making a tax-deductible gift to the Outer Banks Community Foundation. From the island of Ocracoke to the beaches of Currituck, and all across Dare County, your donation would care for the sick, provide food for the hungry, and offer opportunities to people of all backgrounds and abilities. Your donation would help preserve our history, introduce students to music, and assist victims of storms.

Will you invest today in the future of our home? Please go to to make a secure donation, or mail a check with your generous gift to 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949.

Unless you designate your gift for a specific fund, your contribution will go directly into the Community Fund, which is our largest grant-making resource, helping dozens of diverse charities across the Outer Banks each year, like the ones mentioned. But more than just grants, your gift to the Community Fund will be part of every single scholarship, grant, and resource we provide. And it’s a permanent endowment, which means your investment will help your neighbors for generations.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We so appreciate your trust in the Community Foundation, and your investment in the Outer Banks’s future. With your support, together we can fulfill those dreams for our community—starting right here and right now!

With our deepest gratitude,

Lorelei Costa
Executive Director

P.S.  Will you help make dreams for the Outer Banks come true? Please visit and invest in the future of our community today.

It’s #GivingTuesday! How To Make the Most of It.

By Lorelei Costa

Note: This article first appeared in the November 21, 2018 edition of the Outer Banks Sentinel.

You’ve heard of Black Friday, of course, and probably Cyber Monday. There’s even Small Business Saturday, if you want to support the little guys.

After all these days dedicated to buying and bargain-hunting, there is a reprieve. We now have Giving Tuesday.

Billed as the global day of giving, Giving Tuesday is the antidote for consumerism, the one day each year we are supposed to pause from our shopping to give back to our communities. Falling on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday has become a social media “movement,” its creators say, to celebrate and encourage philanthropy.

A day of giving. Fantastic, right? Truly, anything that encourages generosity and benevolence is great in my book.

But… At the risk of blaspheming philanthropy, I have to admit that sometimes I’m a little tempted to mutter “humbug” on Giving Tuesday. Maybe I’ve just gotten curmudgeonly in my middle age, but the whole thing feels a tad gimmicky to me, a desperate attempt to jump on the bandwagon of holiday spending.

I don’t know about you, but I was buried last year in Giving Tuesday appeals. In 2017 I got emails from 20 different nonprofits—all on the same day—asking for help. Already this year, as of this writing—a full two weeks before Giving Tuesday— I’ve received Giving Tuesday emails from no fewer than eight charities. These are all really great nonprofits, but, sadly, most of us have only so much to contribute. If every nonprofit is asking every potential giver all on the same day, it’s going to lead to donor fatigue.

I’m not the only Grinch. I just read an article by Joe Garecht entitled: “Why Your Non-Profit Should Avoid #GivingTuesday Like the Plague.” His point, among others, is that for all the time and energy that nonprofits devote to Giving Tuesday, most groups don’t raise enough money to cover their costs.

Having said all that, for all my humbugs, there is definite momentum and excitement around Giving Tuesday. It really does present an opportunity to raise awareness for your favorite charity. If we can encourage a movement of community-mindedness, that’s pretty awesome.

So, if you have a favorite charity that you want to support on Giving Tuesday, here are some tips to take best advantage of this day:

1. Get A Match. People love Black Friday and Cyber Monday because of the special deals, and on Giving Tuesday there are special philanthropy deals that you can use to multiply your gift. The biggest one is Facebook, which is matching Giving Tuesday donations this year up to $7 million. For example, if you give $100 to your favorite charity through Facebook on November 27, Facebook will match your donation, dollar for dollar, and your favorite charity will get $200. Facebook may be on Santa’s Naughty List at the moment, but this is still a good deal for nonprofits. To get the match, your donation has to be through Facebook, and the offer runs out at $7 million, so give early in the morning (the matching starts at 8:00 am) to make sure your charity gets its due.

2. Be A Match. If you’re a major donor, consider making a leadership gift and creating your own matching challenge. Let’s say you have $1,000 that you could give to your favorite charity. Create a Facebook fundraiser, right on your own Facebook page, for said favorite charity. Promise your Facebook friends that, along with Facebook’s matching money, you’ll also personally match their Giving Tuesday donations, up to $1,000. Voila. If your friends give, your $1,000 just raised $4,000 for your favorite charity. You just quadrupled your impact.

3. Flaunt It. Peer pressure is a potent thing. I’m convinced that the Outer Banks is such a giving community because we’ve created a culture of philanthropy here. People give more when there’s social inspiration to do so, when they feel like they’re part of a movement. Use the power of peer pressure to do some good. If you give on Giving Tuesday, take an #unselfie, brag about your donation, make a video, tag your friends. Cultivate that culture of philanthropy, and use it to inspire and motivate your network.

One last thought. Apparently our society has set aside one day for giving back—one day out of 365 days each year. Is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving really the only day we should think about philanthropy? Many food pantries, children’s programs, homeless shelters, etc., get a glut of donations and volunteers around the holidays, and then nothing in February. Ruthie’s Kitchen, our local, weekly “soup kitchen” program, suspends service in July and August because no one volunteers in the summer.

One of the best ways to help a charity is through regular, sustaining donations. If your budget allows, please consider making an automatic monthly gift to your favorite nonprofit. The reliability of your contributions will help that organization with cash flow throughout the year.

So this year on Giving Tuesday, I’d like to issue a challenge of my own. What if Giving Tuesday were not one Tuesday each year, but every Tuesday of every week? What if we all tried to find one thing to do each week to serve the Outer Banks, whether it’s walking one rescue dog or dropping $5 in a donation jar or setting aside one can of corn? Better yet, what if giving were simply an everyday act?

Now that sounds like a movement to me.

Community Foundation Grant Will Help More People with Cancer

Update: November 21, 2018: We are so terribly sad to learn of Jennifer Wall’s passing on November 20. Truly, heaven has a new angel. We extend our thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.


When Jennifer Wall was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2015, she was frightened for herself and her family.

“I was diagnosed with cancer of the liver bile ducts. As a young mother of two young children, I was scared at the seriousness—and what the future would hold for myself and my family.” A graduate of East Carolina University, Jennifer lived in Kitty Hawk and owned a small business in Kill Devil Hills, all while being a mom.

As Jennifer fought her battle with cancer, she endured surgery and months of radiation in Raleigh. Meanwhile, her family began to struggle with the costs of child care and travel. The medical bills piled up, and Jennifer’s family started to fall behind.

The challenges facing Jennifer are distressingly common. Approximately one third of working-age cancer patients go into debt, according to Kaiser Permanente, and cancer patients are almost three times more likely to file for bankruptcy, according to the National Institutes of Health.

No one should face cancer alone, and here in the Outer Banks, they don’t have to.

In 2016, Jennifer discovered a charity called Interfaith. Established in 2004, Interfaith Community Outreach is a nonprofit organization in Kill Devil Hills that helps people like Jennifer who are struggling with a temporary, emergency crisis. Over these past two years, Interfaith has been helping Jennifer with living and travel expenses while she seeks cancer treatment.

If cancer seems like a growing phenomenon, that’s because it is. Almost 40% of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute, and Interfaith sees a rising need for their services in the Outer Banks. Last year alone, Interfaith helped 700 local cancer patients and family members, which was a 17% increase over the prior year.

But there’s good news. Interfaith now has more resources to help more people like Jennifer. A recent grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation of almost $25,000 will help Interfaith add staff capacity to their cancer program—and increase their coffers for providing direct financial assistance.

“This grant will make such a difference,” said Jean Freeman, who has been Interfaith’s Cancer Outreach Coordinator since the program began in 2015. “In these three years, unfortunately, our cancer outreach has grown beyond our imagination. With this grant we can increase our staff hours, help more clients, and have more time to raise more funds to sustain it.”

By providing support for Interfaith’s staff, this grant is the first of its kind for the Community Foundation. Founded in 1982, the Outer Banks Community Foundation has awarded over $8 million in grants and scholarships, but their grants have traditionally focused on tangible items and capital assets and improvements.

“In the past, our grants have been for specific, one-time purchases, like power generators for Hatteras Island, the new ballfield in Ocracoke, the new building for the Beach Food Pantry, and violins for the Dare Youth Orchestra,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “These grants have made a huge impact on our community, but many nonprofits, like Interfaith, need staff, not stuff, to accomplish a vital mission.”

To better address nonprofits’ needs, this summer the Community Foundation announced a significant expansion of their grants program, adding staff salaries to the list of qualified grant expenses.

“Usually funds to pay staff are the hardest dollars for a nonprofit to raise,” explained Lorelei. “Now, thanks to our generous donors, the Community Foundation’s grant funding has grown, and we are able to offer grants that include program staff wages, as well as other hard costs.”

Though Interfaith relies on a cadre of dedicated volunteers, who logged more than 6,800 hours of volunteer labor in 2017, it’s the staff that keeps the organization running efficiently—and providing care and moral support to their clients.

“In addition to the monetary help, the staff at Interfaith check on me regularly and are genuinely concerned about my cancer battle,” said Jennifer.

This kind of emotional support can make all the difference. Another Interfaith client, Kat Reilly, is a recent survivor of breast cancer. She told us: “While all of the tests, the surgeries, and the chemotherapy are taking place, the bills are mounting. A lot of the expenses are covered by insurance, but some are not.”

Then Kat found Interfaith, who helped with her rent and transportation expenses, so she could concentrate on surviving and healing from cancer.

“It’s been proven that the better the attitude, the better the chances of faster healing,” said Kat. “Taking care of the financial end of things is stressful, no way around it, and it can easily affect your attitude in a negative way. To know that there were resources in our community that exist for situations like mine was beyond comforting.”

“The Community Foundation board was so enthusiastic about supporting this grant for Interfaith, because their impact on our community is so broad and immediate,” said Lorelei. “We have already seen a high demand for grant funding for staff, so applications are competitive.”

The foundation’s official criteria give priority to grant projects that benefit a broad segment of the community, are collaborative and/or innovative, attract additional funding from other sources, and/or enhance the organization’s financial sustainability. New programs are prioritized, as well as established programs that are filling a gap and/or meeting a vital, urgent need.

“For our staffing grants, we are really scrutinizing the nonprofits’ financials carefully, and looking for strong organizations that are well-managed and follow best practices,” said Lorelei. “We’re also looking for opportunities where our grant would make a transformative difference for that nonprofit and its mission.”

Interfaith’s mission goes beyond helping people with cancer. The organization has helped over 19,000 Outer Bankers in the face of crisis, including cancer or other illnesses, hurricanes or other disasters, job loss, or death in the family.

“These are friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are struggling, many of them in silence,” said Jean. “They are struggling to pay rent in order to keep a roof over their heads, and they are living in the dark because they couldn’t afford to pay their electricity bill last month.”

“We have seen great successes with clients going into remission or getting scans showing ‘no cancer,’ but we have also lost too many clients due to this dreaded disease,” continued Jean. “Our clients are so very grateful for the help and assistance they receive during their journey fighting this disease.”

As for Jennifer, her cancer is unfortunately not curable, but she can be kept stable with continued treatments. And she and her family continue to fight heroically, with Interfaith by their side. “I am fighting on, currently in a clinical trial. My faith is steadfast and I hope to survive this battle and be able to give back to others in the future.”


The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a public charity that connects people who care with causes that matter. The Community Foundation manages $18 million in 180 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, awards grants to local nonprofits, administers 50 scholarship programs, and provides tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. Since its inception in 1982, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $8 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students. The next application deadline for a Community Foundation grant is Friday, October 26.

Video Contest 2019

If your nonprofit has received any kind of Community Foundation grant since 2014, you are eligible to enter our seventh annual video contest!

This is an opportunity to showcase your organization’s success stories, tell us about your nonprofit’s amazing work, and highlight any exciting or impactful program that the Community Foundation helped fund… while winning money for your group!

Your three-minute video should highlight a project that the Community Foundation supported with any grant since 2014. We can accept just one submission per organization, please. The winning videos will be announced and shown at our annual meeting on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. ALL entries will be posted on the Community Foundation’s website and YouTube page.

And then, of course, there’s the prize money: the first place organization will receive $2,000, second place winner will receive $1,000, and third place will receive $500.

Don’t know how to make a video? It’s easy! Check out your phone, camera, or computer – or even the closest teenager! Your video doesn’t have to be perfect and will not be judged on technical ability. Instead, videos will be judged on how they make us feel. A winning video will make us excited to support your organization’s vital mission! Check out past winners here! For details on the proper video format for submission, please click here for our flyer.

Deadline for entries is Friday, January 18, 2019!