The Outer Banks Community Foundation awards quarterly Community Enrichment Grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations to help meet local needs and enrich the quality of life for the people of the Outer Banks.

What Do We Fund?

Community Enrichment Grants are awarded to projects that directly benefit all or a portion of our service area. Our service area includes all of Dare County, and all Outer Banks communities, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island. We currently do not award Community Enrichment Grants for projects targeting mainland Hyde or mainland Currituck.*

Eligible programs include:

  • Arts and/or culture
  • Animal welfare
  • Children and/or youth
  • Disaster relief and/or prevention
  • Education
  • The environment
  • Health
  • Historic preservation and/or interpretation
  • Other human services

Community Enrichment Grants are usually awarded to support the direct costs of a charitable project or program (e.g., art supplies, medical equipment, educational materials, vehicles, program staff).

We also periodically award program scholarship grants, which are grants to a nonprofit to enable that organization to offer need-based program scholarships (i.e., program fee subsidies) to individuals or families with financial or other hardship. The scholarships/subsidies should offset or reduce the participation fees that the nonprofit would normally charge for an enrichment program such as a day camp, educational offering, and/or after-school program. (See our FAQ for more information.)

We also will award Community Enrichment Grants to build the capacity of a charitable organization serving the Outer Banks, with a goal of enhancing that nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality—in short, its ability to meet its mission and sustain its programs. Examples might include computer systems, strategic planning, and/or purchase of facility space.

Priority will be given to projects and organizations that:

  • Involve or benefit a broad segment of our community.
  • Provide an innovative approach to addressing area needs.
  • Either initiate new projects or programs to influence beneficial change, or fill gaps, or address urgent community needs.
  • Attract additional funding from other sources.
  • Promote an organization’s financial sustainability.
  • Promote collaboration and efficiencies amongst multiple organizations.

Community Enrichment Grants are generally not awarded for:

  • Regular operating expenses (see our FAQ for further definition).
  • Wages for management and/or fundraising for the general organization. (Program staff wages, however, are now eligible for inclusion.)
  • Employee benefits or overhead.
  • Programs or projects that are typically supported by government or other charities, unless it is demonstrated that funding is not available from other sources.
  • Direct or grassroots lobbying.
  • Organizations that have a current, outstanding grant with the Community Foundation, unless special circumstances apply.

If you are seeking funds for a charitable project or organization that does not seem to fit the above criteria, please contact the Community Foundation staff. We may be able to recommend other potential funding sources, including one of the Community Foundation’s donor-advised funds.

*Currituck projects may be eligible for certain Special Focus Grants.

Grants are typically awarded for a 12-month period, unless an extension is granted, or other special circumstances apply.

Who Can Apply?

Any 501(c)3 organization is eligible to apply for a Community Enrichment Grant, as are other tax-exempt organizations for charitable projects that meet a public need, in accordance with IRS guidelines. Occasionally, schools and government agencies will be considered for Community Enrichment Grants, if it is demonstrated that financial support is not available from other sources. For Dare County schools, please inquire first with the Dare Education Foundation before contacting us. Schools and government agencies may also be eligible for certain Special Focus Grants.

Community Enrichment Grants are never awarded to individuals.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation will consider Community Enrichment Grants to faith-based and religious entities for projects that address the needs of the wider community. We will not award Community Enrichment Grants for projects that primarily seek to promote religious beliefs or attempt to recruit new members to a particular religion. Please call our staff before applying.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, or disability.

How to Apply

Before applying, please first review these guidelines and our FAQ page online. After you’ve read all of our online information, contact the Community Foundation staff to discuss your potential project and your funding needs. We ask that you contact us after reading our website, but before starting your application, and at least one week in advance of the application deadline.

Please be sure that all of your organization’s past grants are fully paid and closed, and that your organization has submitted all required final reports.

Once you’ve closed all past grants, submitted all required final reports, and contacted staff to discuss your project, you may click here to apply online.

EZ App: If you are requesting $5,000 or less, and your organization has received — and successfully completed — a Community Enrichment Grant from us within the past three years (36 months), you may be eligible to use our EZ App — our shorter and easier grant application. The EZ App runs on the same deadline as our full application, and will be reviewed on the same timeframe. However, before you can access the EZ App, your request must first be preapproved for the EZ App by our staff. Not all grant projects will be eligible. Please see our FAQ for more information, and contact us at 252-261-8838 to see if your project is eligible.

Deadlines and Decision Dates: Our 2019 deadlines and decision dates are the following:

Application Deadline: Friday, January 25          Decision Date: Thursday, March 14
Application Deadline: Friday, April 26          Decision Date: Thursday, June 6
Application Deadline: Friday, July 26          Decision Date: Thursday, September 5
Application Deadline: Friday, October 25          Decision Date: Thursday, December 5

If You Receive a Grant

Grant Payments: Community Enrichment Grants are intended to reimburse an organization for its expenses and should be used within one year from the grant award date. If awarded funds may be left unspent at the end of 12 months, the grant recipient may contact the Community Foundation to request a grant extension. Otherwise, unspent funds will be returned to the endowment. Click here to download our Procedures for Grant Reimbursement.

We require that all Community Enrichment Grant recipients:

  • Publicize the Community Foundation grant as appropriate.
  • Complete a brief final report after the grant is complete. Unless special circumstances apply, your completion of this form will be required before your organization can be considered for another Community Enrichment Grant.

We Welcome Your Feedback

The Community Foundation invites your feedback on our grants program. We welcome comments from any nonprofit in any stage of the grants process; whether you have received a grant, just applied for a grant, been declined, or are even just considering applying, we want to hear from you. To submit your feedback anonymously, please use our online questionnaire. Your comments, concerns, praise, and criticism will help us become a better grant-maker for our community. This survey will be open indefinitely, and you can respond multiple times, now and/or in the future. If you would rather give us feedback directly, please call our staff any time at 252-261-8839.