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Community Foundation Awards $150,000 in COVID Grants

This week the Outer Banks Community Foundation announced its fourth round of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, awarding over $13,000 to three more nonprofits. These latest grants will support artists in Dare County, a diaper drive for families with young children, and essential upgrades for our community’s free health clinic.

In total the Community Foundation has awarded over $150,000 in COVID Grants since March 13 to sixteen local nonprofits, supporting their efforts to provide for the basic, urgent needs of Outer Bankers during the Coronavirus emergency.

“Since mid-March, our local nonprofits have been on the front lines of this crisis, keeping our families secure and healthy through this pandemic,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “This extraordinary work is despite our nonprofits suffering from over $1.1 million in revenue losses because of the COVID crisis, due to canceled fundraisers, decreased donations, and lost opportunities for earned income.”

“The Community Foundation has been honored to help begin to fill this funding gap for our indispensable nonprofits. We’ve been so inspired by their tireless determination to serve our community’s basic needs through the COVID-19 crisis, and we are honored to assist in their efforts.”

The fourth, most recent round of Rapid Response Grants funded new needs related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Recognizing the important role that the “creative class” of artists, musicians, and performers play in Dare County — and the impacts that the COVID shut-down has had on their livelihoods — the Community Foundation awarded Dare County Arts Council a grant of $5,000 to support new digital revenue platforms for Outer Banks artists. The grant will support virtual concerts, online classes, an online store of local artists’ wares, and digital art exhibits.

Funding for this grant was from a bequest from the late Dorothy Luedemann, a local artist whose Legacy Gift to the Community Foundation established a forever fund to award grants to arts organizations across Dare County

Children and Youth Partnership for Dare County also received a Rapid Response Grant in May: $5,000 to address an area of unmet need—diapers for families of young children. The cost and lack of availability of diapers and wipes have put a significant strain on families already struggling to pay rent, provide food, and afford other basics. The Children and Youth Partnership is planning drive-through diaper distribution events on Roanoke and Hatteras islands in the near future, so families can conveniently and safely receive these vital necessities.

The Community Care Clinic of Dare also received a Rapid Response Grant in May to upgrade their facility, to allow for better sanitation, social distancing, and telemedicine. The clinic provides free primary medical care, medication assistance, and health and wellness education to approximately 550 uninsured and underinsured patients each year who live or work in Dare County.

Since March, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $70,000 to local food assistance programs to meet increased needs through the COVID crisis, from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras Island to Ocracoke. Rapid Response Grants have helped the Beach Food Pantry, Food for Thought, the Lifeline Outreach in Salvo, Bread of Life Food Pantry in Ocracoke, and the Buxton Food Pantry. Hatteras Island Meals and the Albemarle Development Corporation also received assistance to serve prepared meals to homebound seniors and adults with special needs.

Other Rapid Response Grants have provided financial assistance to Dare County residents who are out of work due to Coronavirus closures. Interfaith Community Outreach and Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men are using grant money to help families that are most affected by unemployment or underemployment, by assisting with rent, mortgage, utilities, medical bills, and more.

Dare County and Ocracoke students benefited from more than $15,000 in grants, used to fund wireless access and adaptive equipment for special needs students. The goal of these grants was to allow students to successfully participate in remote learning and online classes through the mandated school closures. The Community Foundation was also able to award a wireless access grant for Currituck County students through a donor-advised fund.

“We have been blessed at the Community Foundation to receive several bequests, major donations, and legacy gifts over the years to endow our community grant-making,” said Ms. Costa. “These gifts, made over many years, have given us the flexibility to rapidly respond in times of crisis. We are more grateful than ever to our donors. Their legacy gifts continue to allow us to be innovative in meeting community needs as they arise.”