The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits for its Community Enrichment Grants Program. Applications must be submitted online via the Community Foundation’s website: www.obcf.org/grants. The first deadline of the year is Friday, January 26.
The Community Enrichment Grants Program is the Community Foundation’s largest and broadest funding opportunity. In 2017 the Community Foundation awarded over $225,000 in Community Enrichment Grants to 35 local nonprofits. The grants are offered on a competitive basis for any kind of charitable project that benefits the Outer Banks, or any part thereof. Areas of interest include: 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 2017, for example, the Community Foundation sponsored playground equipment for the safehouse at Outer Banks Hotline, new vehicles for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to care for the historic equine herd, new/additional parking spaces for visitors to the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve, restoration of the historic 1911 building at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, and the development of new, outdoor performance and exhibit space for the Dare County Arts Council at the historic courthouse in Manteo.
Community Enrichment Grants are also awarded for capacity-building projects, with a goal of enhancing a nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality. For example, grants were awarded last year to GEM Adult Day Services for new computers and software, to Interfaith Community Outreach for a strategic planning facilitator, and to Ocracoke Community Radio for a new website.
Additionally, the Community Foundation is now also awarding 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 summer camp, educational offerings, or after-school programs. For example, a grant last year to the Bryan Cultural Series allowed that organization to offer free tickets to students for a performance of HMS Pinafore, and a grant to Mane and Taill allowed that nonprofit to offer need-based scholarships for horsemanship lessons to children with disabilities.
In 2018 the Community Foundation will be continuing its newly-expanded grants criteria. Specifically, in prior years, preference for Community Enrichment Grants was given exclusively to new initiatives and new projects; the goal was to make best use of limited grant money by encouraging nonprofits to find diverse sources for on-going funds. Today, however, with over 200 nonprofits serving the Outer Banks, it’s not always the case that a new program is needed to meet a community need. Therefore the Community Foundation expanded its focus in 2017 to better serve local needs, dually emphasizing both new programs as well as established programs that are filling a gap and/or meeting a vital, urgent need.
Community Enrichment Grants are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed quarterly. Any applications received by Friday, January 26 will have a decision by March 8. Before submitting an application for any grant, prospective applicants should first review the grant guidelines and FAQ online, and then contact Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839 to discuss their projects.
Photograph by Bonnie Brumbeloe, Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County. A Community Enrichment Grant to the Partnership in 2017 brought the Paperhand Puppet Production to Dare County for Kids Fest — to the delight of many children.