Periodically, in times of crisis, the Community Foundation may initiate a Rapid Response Grants Program to support nonprofit organizations on a proactive and/or competitive basis, as urgent needs arise. Rapid Response Grants may follow a natural disaster (e.g., Hurricane Dorian) or may be initiated during other times of need (e.g., COVID-19 crisis).

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants

Since the start of the Coronavirus crisis in March, the Outer Banks Community Foundation has held five cycles of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants and awarded over $220,000 in grants.

A sixth cycle was announced on September 4, 2020.


Grant Purpose

The primary goal of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants is to enable nonprofits to adapt, expand, or initiate vital services to the Outer Banks through the Coronavirus crisis. Those services could include child care, elder care, patient care, emergency response services, financial assistance to people out of work, nutritional assistance, and beyond. We define the Outer Banks as Dare County, Ocracoke, and/or the Currituck beaches.

To be eligible for a Rapid Response Grant, programs must be related to the COVID-19 crisis, either directly (e.g., programs to stop the spread) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to working parents without child care). We will also consider grants that would allow a nonprofit to adapt its existing programs in the face of the ever-evolving COVID-19 landscape (e.g., modifications to a food program to allow for community closures). In all cases, special emphasis may be given to efforts that help the most vulnerable and/or the most people in our community.


Eligible Organizations

Any nonprofit organization serving the Outer Banks is eligible apply — including those organizations that have an active Community Enrichment or Special Focus Grant with the Community Foundation. Local organizations may be given priority for funding.

Schools and government agencies may be eligible to apply, if it is demonstrated that financial support is not available from other sources.

Churches and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for projects assisting the wider community (i.e., not just members of their own faith or congregation), and if their outreach does not include the promotion of religious beliefs.


Eligible Projects and Grant Expenses

COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants will be awarded to support the direct costs of a charitable project or program (e.g., supplies, equipment, food, educational materials, program staff). Operating, overhead, and indirect costs are not eligible for grant funding.

Contract help and/or additional program staff may be eligible if used for extra personnel hired or augmented to meet a need related to the COVID-19 crisis. Grants are to be used for program staff only; neither administrative nor management staff time is eligible.

Grants will be paid on a reimbursement basis for actual costs incurred. Grant expenses must be substantiated by third-party documentation (e.g., receipts, statements, invoices). These documents should be generated from your vendor, not from your organization, with the exception of documentation of staff time. Grants for staff time will be paid upon the furnishing of timesheets; please ask our staff for sample timesheets or if you have questions.


How and When To Apply

Before applying, please call or email Lorelei Costa (252-261-8839 or to discuss your nonprofit’s needs. Grant requests will be reviewed quickly to ensure rapid decisions and timely programs. Before applying, please read the details below, gather your ideas, and call Lorelei Costa at 252-261-8839 to discuss your project.

Applications should consist of a one- or two-page letter in PDF format, briefly describing your nonprofit’s mission, the project at hand, the dollar amount requested, the local need it would meet, and the beneficiaries of the proposed program. Please be as specific as possible in terms of the number and demographics of the people you would serve with the grant.

Attached to your letter, please include a project budget in PDF format and, if you’ve never received a grant from the Community Foundation, your 501(c)3 letter, also in PDF format. Email your application, with all pieces in PDF format, to

The next deadline for COVID Rapid Response Grant applications is 5 p.m. on Monday, September 14. Funding decisions will be made within one week. For this cycle, the Community Foundation is particularly encouraging applications from nonprofits that are addressing childcare and remote learning needs during school closures.


Evolving Needs

As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, so too will our Rapid Response Grants Program. Please check back frequently with us if your needs change to see if our grants program can help.

If you have a need that does not seem to fit with our parameters, please contact us. As we learn about additional or changing community needs, we may adapt our grant parameters for better inclusivity.


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.