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COVID Rapid Response Grants Round Six Now Open

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits for a sixth round of COVID Rapid Response Grants.

During this cycle, the Community Foundation is especially encouraging grant proposals from groups addressing childcare and remote learning needs during school closures.

To be eligible for a COVID Rapid Response Grant, programs must be urgent in nature and must be related to the Coronavirus crisis, either directly (e.g., programs that assist students with remote learning) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to workers without child care). True to their name, COVID Rapid Response Grants have an expedited application process and a fast-track decision timeframe. COVID-related requests must be submitted by 5pm on Monday, September 14 via a one- or two-page letter, plus attached budget, with funding decisions made the following week.

“The Outer Banks continues to face unprecedented challenges through the COVID crisis,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “One challenge that we’d particularly like to address is the urgent need to support working families of school-age children while our schools are closed. We are very interested in helping families that must work during the school day, as well as families with children with special learning needs.”

To date, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $220,000 in COVID Rapid Response Grants for a wide range of programs, including nutritional assistance, internet connectivity for at-home students, and financial assistance for the unemployed.

To apply for a grant, nonprofits should first review the grant guidelines published online at www.obcf.org/grants, and then call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their project and funding needs.

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.”

Community Foundation Awards $37,680 in COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants to Nine Nonprofits

In our second round of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, the Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced $37,680 in emergency funding to nine local nonprofits, supporting their efforts to provide for the basic, urgent needs of Outer Bankers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“As this pandemic deepens, our nonprofit partners are rising to overcome serious obstacles, and are determined to continue ensuring that their clients have access to basic services,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “These leaders are acting with courage, perseverance, and selfless generosity, and we are honored to be able to help support our partners who are meeting the most essential needs of our community.”

The Community Foundation awarded almost $30,000 to local food assistance programs across the Outer Banks. Grantees include the Beach Food Pantry, the Bread of Life Food Pantry in Ocracoke, Hatteras Island Meals, Lifeline Outreach in Salvo, and Food For Thought. These organizations are all serving record numbers of clients through the COVID-19 crisis. Rapid Response Grants will restock pantry shelves, purchase additional refrigeration, support home-delivered meals for at-risk seniors, deliver grocery hampers, and provide food vouchers for families in need.

Rapid Response Grants are helping our community’s homeless. Room in the Inn, a nonprofit that organizes shelter for the homeless through the winter months, is now able to extend their season, thanks in part to a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation. The Rapid Response Grant will allow them to continue sheltering homeless adults for at least another month through the COVID crisis, following CDC health and safety guidelines for emergency shelters.

The Community Care Clinic of Dare was awarded $939 in support of new telemedicine services. The grant will purchase blood pressure cuffs and no-patient-contact thermometers, so that clinic staff may safely provide quality care for their patients with chronic conditions through telemedicine.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has now awarded over $90,000 in COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants. Although priority for these grants has been given to meeting basic human needs through the crisis, especially food and nutritional assistance, the Community Foundation has also been able to utilize special funds to help with other projects. For example, dedicated funds to help animals will support the Coastal Humane Society, Feline Hope, and Friends of Felines in supplying dog food, cat food, and cat litter at local food pantries, helping people care for their pets during this difficult time.

Dedicated funding to help people with disabilities is supporting Easterseals UCP in purchasing “sensory bags” for their clients with intellectual disabilities from Dare and Currituck Counties. The bags will include items that clients can use at home during this socially isolating time to support language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem-solving skills, and social interaction.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation continues to accept applications for its COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program. Grant requests will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed every two weeks to ensure quick decisions and timely programs. The third application deadline is 5:00 pm on Thursday, April 16; decisions will be announced on Tuesday, April 21.

To be eligible for a COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant, programs must be related to the Coronavirus crisis, either directly (e.g., care for patients) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to out-of-work residents). Priority has been given to meeting essential human needs, especially food and nutritional assistance. Other priorities may include medical care, shelter, other essential supplies and needs (e.g., face masks, sanitation supplies), support for essential workers, remote learning, and health and wellness programs, including mental health programs. Special emphasis may be given to at-risk populations, including the homeless, the elderly, people with financial need, essential workers, people with disabilities, and people with health risks.

To apply for a Rapid Response Grant, nonprofits should first call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their programs and their funding needs. From there, requests can be submitted via an emailed one- or two-page letter in PDF format, briefly describing the nonprofit’s mission, the project at hand, the dollar amount requested, the local need it would meet, and the beneficiaries of the proposed program. You can find more information about all of these programs, and how to apply, at www.obcf.org/grants.

Wells Fargo Bank Awards $50,000 Grant for Disaster Relief

Wells Fargo has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Outer Banks Community Foundation for the Ocracoke Disaster Relief Fund. The grant will directly support hundreds of households who have been devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

“Our hearts go out to all the families and businesses impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” said Thomas Cline, Wells Fargo’s Region Bank president for Eastern North Carolina. “Wells Fargo is committed to supporting our communities in their time of need, and we appreciate the Community Foundation’s commitment to ensuring that every penny in the Disaster Relief Fund will go directly to hurricane victims.”

“Our neighbors on Ocracoke are still struggling terribly in the aftermath of this hurricane,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “Private philanthropy is now playing the leading role in rebuilding our communities, and Wells Fargo’s donation is a big step forward in meeting our neighbors’ needs.”

Already, dozens of  households on Ocracoke have been awarded assistance through the Disaster Relief Fund. Administered in partnership with the Ocracoke Fire Department, the Fund is helping these families with appliances, car down payments, utilities, rent payments, wheelchair ramps, medications and medical equipment, electrical repairs, and much more.

The Disaster Relief Fund has also pledged up to $500,000 toward temporary shelter and home repair needs. In partnership with Hyde County, the Fund is paying for utility hook-ups for 35 temporary trailers for Ocracoke families while their homes are rebuilt or repaired. Additionally, the Disaster Relief Fund has pledged financial assistance to purchase building supplies for home repairs for 60 Ocracoke homes, in partnership the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

These awards, said Ms. Costa, are just the beginning of many grants to come over the next many months.

Relief efforts on Ocracoke are led by volunteers, who are contributing countless unpaid hours to helping their neighbors in the recovery. This includes volunteer case workers, who are working directly with storm victims, and the members of the Ocracoke Fire Department, who are managing disbursements. Beyond Ocracoke, more than 7,700 businesses and families have donated to the Disaster Relief Fund since Hurricane Dorian.

“We have been astounded by the efforts of the volunteers in Ocracoke, who are tirelessly helping their neighbors, and the generosity of people across the country who have donated to Disaster Relief,” said Ms. Costa. “From large institutions like Wells Fargo, to children running lemonade stands, the outpouring of generosity has been incredibly humbling.”

The Community Foundation is still accepting donations to the Disaster Relief Fund for Ocracoke. Contributors can visit www.obxdisaster.org to make a secure donation online. Or mail a check to OBCF, 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949, with “Ocracoke disaster relief” written in the memo line.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a public charity that helps meet local needs across Dare County and the entire Outer Banks. The Community Foundations manages $19 million in 175 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, awards charitable grants to local nonprofits, administers 50 scholarship programs, and provides tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. Since its inception in 1982, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $9 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students.