Ending another record-breaking year, the Outer Banks Community Foundation announced over $540,000 in grants and scholarships in 2014, including $105,000 in new grants earlier this week.
This brings the Community Foundation’s total giving to $6 million since its founding in 1982.
“The Community Foundation really is by and for the community,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “Our endowment doesn’t come from just one or two deep pockets. It comes from thousands of folks across the Outer Banks, who contribute small and large gifts to build our community’s future.”
Earlier this week, the Community Foundation used its home-grown endowment to award $105,000 in grants to three dozen nonprofits, benefiting every type of charitable cause, from arts and the environment to helping the homeless, the hungry, the sick, and the disabled.
Interfaith Community Outreach received the largest grant of December: $50,000 over two years to purchase a new office building. Interfaith has moved seven times in its 11-year history; a permanent home will help the organization save operating costs and assist more people in need.
Health and human services were the focus of several other December grants. The Community Foundation awarded grants to the Beach Food Pantry for a new website, to the Outer Banks YMCA for a pool lift to help disabled patrons, to the Community Care Clinic of Dare to implement electronic health records, to OBX Go Far for a Fun Run program for elementary school kids, and to the Currituck Free Dental Clinic on behalf of their Dare County patients.
The Community Foundation also awarded several grants to support education and the arts. These grants included awards to the Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts for a choral master class for high school students, the NC Aquarium Society for a new exhibit about Richard Etheridge and the Black Life-Savers of Pea Island, Friends of Jockey’s Ridge for Blackbeard’s Treasure Hunt Program, Theatre of Dare to bring Aesop’s Fables to elementary schools, the Don & Catharine Bryan Cultural Series for a musical theater program in the schools, and the Dare County Youth String Ensemble to purchase violins for elementary school children.
In addition, several donor-advised funds at the Community Foundation awarded almost $18,000 in grants this week, including the Bingham Family Fund, Burwell A. Evans Charitable Fund, Cathi Ostrander Family Fund, Francis W. and Virginia H. Meekins Family Fund, Hester Family Fund, June and John Kemble Memorial Cancer Fund, Kelly Family Fund, Phil and Mary Woodruff Fund, and Simpson-Sharp-Oakes Fund.
Grant recipients included American Legion, Beach Food Pantry, Coastal Family Church, Currituck Free Dental Clinic, Dare County Arts Council, Don and Catherine Bryan Cultural Series, First Flight Society, GEM Adult Day Services, Interfaith Community Outreach, Mano al Hermano, Monday Night Alive, Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, Outer Banks SPCA, Outer Banks Sporting Events, Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department, and Room in the Inn.
But while the grant-making in 2014 was impressive, Ms. Costa said there is room to do more. “Our community’s generosity is amazing, but our community needs are immense,” said Ms. Costa. “We received grant requests totaling $135,000 this month, and we weren’t able to fund everything. Many worthy projects received partial funding or no funding.”
“Next year we hope to do more so we can better meet local needs,” said Ms. Costa. “But we can only do that with the community’s support.”
The Community Foundation is currently raising funds for its Community Fund, its single largest grant-making endowment. Donations may be made online at www.obcf.org/donate and are fully tax-deductible. Checks may also be mailed to 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949.