Community Foundation Prepares for 2023 Hurricane Season

L-R) Dare County Commissioner Danny Couch, Community Foundation CEO Chris Sawin, and Community Foundation Grants Manager Scout Schillings with Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men volunteer leaders Reverend Toni Wood, Hermann Serfling, Jim Scroggin, and Bob Leh.

The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1 and runs through November. Outer Banks Community Foundation is making plans to support our community in the event of a 2023 landfalling hurricane and is inviting public donations for its Disaster Relief Fund.

The Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund is our community’s largest source of support for local disaster efforts, providing critical monetary assistance for everything from immediate relief to long-term recovery, reconstruction, and resiliency. The Community Foundation collects disaster relief donations for both Dare County and Ocracoke and works through nonprofit partners to assist individuals and families in need.

Disaster Relief Fund donations are used immediately after a disaster to provide emergency food, shelter, water, sanitation, supplies, and medical care. The same fund supports longer-term repair and resiliency projects to fix damaged dwellings not covered by other means and to mitigate the effects of future storms for our residents. The Community Foundation has disbursed monies donated to its Disaster Relief Fund after hurricanes Isabel (2003), Hermine (2005), Irene (2011), Sandy (2012), Arthur (2014), Matthew (2016), Michael (2018), and, most recently, Dorian (2019), when a record $1.6 million was donated and distributed to help local hurricane victims.

Community Foundation staff know it’s a matter of when–and not if–another hurricane will strike.

“Preparation is key to our disaster response plan,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Chris Sawin. “We are meeting with local partner agencies, including Dare County Emergency Management, Interfaith Community Outreach, and Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men to review our plans for the 2023 storm season. Another part of our preparation is fundraising to ensure resources are in place to help when a storm hits.”

The Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund is always ready to receive donations, so that the community has an immediate response to urgent situations. Donors can support the fund at any time, not just when disaster strikes.

Disaster Relief Fund distributions are used to meet a variety of needs in the wake of hurricanes and other crises. Funds help disaster victims pay for temporary shelter, home repairs, supplies, furniture, appliances, food, and other necessities. In instances when individuals have lost wages (e.g., if a person’s place of employment was flooded or closed), support can be applied even more broadly.

Community Foundation Disaster Relief grant awards help pay expenses not covered by other sources of support. These distributions are intended to cover unmet needs, fill gaps, and help people who have no other help; toward that end, disaster victims are assisted in seeking all potential sources of support (e.g., insurance, FEMA, state or federal assistance) first.

All of the $1.6 million raised after Hurricane Dorian was distributed through local nonprofit and county partners to help hundreds of families recover. Donations to the Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund are 100% tax-deductible, and every penny goes toward disaster relief, recovery, and resiliency. The Community Foundation absorbs the expense of administering this program.

“Providing support after hurricanes is in our Community Foundation’s DNA,” continued Sawin. “We live here, too, and we are determined to do all we can when friends and neighbors need help most.”