Praises for Interim Executive Director Bob Muller

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bob Muller for serving as our Interim Executive Director this year. We are all very, very grateful to have had his help and leadership, during some extraordinary times.

For more than a dozen years, Bob Muller has helped our Community Foundation be more thoughtful, more inclusive, more creative, and more focused. He first came to us in 2008, looking for Duke University Nonprofit Management program scholarships for local nonprofit leaders. He was asked, a few years later, to join the board, and did; he was asked to serve as board Treasurer, and then as board Chair; he always answered in the affirmative, and consistently applied his positive, can-do, team approach to our board and staff’s best efforts. When Dorian made landfall, Bob volunteered at the office, calling to thank donors, answering phones, and helping wherever needed.

When Lorelei Costa decided to make a career transition in early 2021, Bob was her first choice to lead as interim executive director, knowing that staff and board would get a knowledgeable and pragmatic leader while a search was conducted. Fortunately for us, Bob decided to make the sacrifice and come out of retirement to help staff and board through the next several months. What’s more–in addition to serving as interim E.D., Bob has been the Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Coordinator; as such, he’s been instrumental in crafting policy and creating new tools to help us work more effectively with nonprofit disaster partners up and down our Outer Banks.

Bob knew the ropes, and his smarts and corporate knowledge, coupled with his generous encouragement, spot-on support, and sage advice on many issues, made all the difference for board and staff during the transition of Executive Director to President and CEO. 2021 is turning out to be a banner year, and one in which all the plates were kept spinning, thanks to Bob’s steadfast leadership. He worked persistently to help see us through, and we made it–thanks to Bob–with flying colors.

As Bob moves on to his next adventures, board and staff offer their sincere “thanks” and “job well done,” and wish him clear skies, fair winds, and safe and happy travels. And we’re hoping he won’t be a stranger.

Community Foundation Awards $29,000 in Grants to Five Nonprofits

Your Community Foundation awarded grants to five nonprofits during its third quarter grants cycle. The grants will help preserve our region’s history and culture, support the arts in education, afford scholarships for nonprofit leaders, and address food insecurity, disaster response, and homelessness.

Fair Haven United Methodist Church in Rodanthe received a Community Foundation grant for $8,070 to purchase a “Safe haven generator for community support.” The new generator will protect perishable food for food ministries and will ensure alternate power for sheltering disaster responders and residents seeking post-storm shelter.

OBX Room In the Inn was awarded a grant for $7,500 to help pilot a Transitional Housing Special Project for clients who are motivated to transition from homelessness to independence.

North Carolina Symphony received a grant of $7,500 to support a Music Education Residency for Dare County students during the 2021/2022 academic school year.

A $5,000 Community Enrichment grant award to the Frisco Native American Museum and Natural History Center will support the museum’s efforts to enhance their Native American Life on Hatteras Island gallery with features that include new lighting, sensory activators, and a storytelling center.

 The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce received a grant of $1,000 to subsidize registration fees for nonprofit personnel to attend “Leadership OBX,” a professional development program, in 2022.

 “Behind each of these awards are compelling stories of the dedicated nonprofit professionals who work every day to meet needs in our community,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Chris Sawin. “We couldn’t be more proud to support their projects.”

Online applications for the fourth and final grant cycle applications is Friday, October 29, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Those interested in applying for a grant are encouraged to contact Chris Sawin at 252-261-8839 to discuss their project before applying.

PHOTO CAPTION: North Carolina Symphony will return to Dare County Public Schools in the 2021/2022 school year, with help from a Community Foundation grant. (Photo courtesy of Don & Catharine Bryan Cultural Series.)

Hanft McDevitt Scholarship Fund to help COA Graduates

The Hanft McDevitt Family Scholarship Fund was recently established by Roland McDevitt and Barbara Hanft for Dare County students graduating with an associate degree from College of The Albemarle with a desire to continue their higher education and a goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. The donors recognize that a four-year degree is foundational for success in many professions. Scholarships will be awarded from this fund for further schooling in a variety of fields, including education, political science, and rehabilitation, as well as the literary, performing and visual arts.

The fund is endowed, so it will be awarding scholarship for many generations to come. You can make a donation to this fund here, and by searching in the “Other Funds” dropdown menu.

Bob Parker Memorial Fund will help special kids

A new fund has been created to honor the good works and kind spirit of a generous local man. Bob Parker, a U.S. Army veteran and general contractor, lived with his wife, Rhonda Tillett, in Kill Devil Hills. He worked hard, loved deeply, and was passionate about the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and he loved sharing his interests with others, especially children. He also volunteered at Special Olympics events, and was devoted to the young athletes there.

Bob left this world, too soon, after fighting a long and courageous battle with illness. Rhonda wanted to ensure that the selfless acts of charity and the love for special children that Bob shared with this world during his lifetime would continue, so she created the Bob Parker Memorial Fund, a field of interest fund, that will be used to award grants “to organizations that help individuals with special needs, with preference given to Special Olympics and other programs that serve children with disabilities.”

The fund is endowed, so it will be awarding grants to charities in Bob’s name for many generations to come. You can make a donation to this fund here, and by searching in the “Other Funds” dropdown menu.

Helping People Help Animals Fund

An anonymous donor has established the Helping People Help Animals fund to support Outer Banks nonprofits who assist any kind of animal, wild or domesticated, with scales, feathers, fur, or fins. The fund’s stated purpose is “to provide grants to charitable organizations, with preference given to those organizations staffed entirely (or nearly entirely) by volunteers; to protect, rehabilitate, and care for all animals, both domestic and wild.” This generous donor expressed an “admiration for all those who volunteer to help animals, and this fund is to help those who do the work and participate in the efforts” that support agencies’ missions.

The Helping People Help Animals Fund is an endowed, Field of Interest fund; the Community Foundation’s board of directors will base grant decisions on applications it receives. The Helping People Help Animals Fund is poised to make grants that will support local animal causes for generations to come. Since the fund’s principal is invested, the fund will grow and grant amounts from the fund will increase over time.

Our fund’s creator noted, “There aren’t that many people who devote effort to the care of animals…it’s not easy work.”

The Community Foundation is delighted to have this new fund that provides additional support to all creatures, great and small, and we are grateful to this donor for having the foresight and inspiration to address a need that deserves more attention.

Nourishing Hatteras Island Fund Created

A local couple has established a new fund to help fight food insecurity and isolation on Hatteras Island. The Nourishing Hatteras Island Fund is a donor-advised fund, created “to support Hatteras Island Meals and other health and wellness programs on Hatteras Island.”

Hatteras Island Meals (HIM) served 10,000 meals in 2020 alone; a testament to the level of need in the small, island communities. It operates on a shoestring budget, and can fulfill its mission only because of grants, individual donations (they’ve had no special events since Dorian and COVID), and scores of dedicated volunteers who spend time each week making sure that homebound neighbors receive prepared meals and the warmth and reassurance of personal contact. If you ever want a pick-me-up, we suggest going to the HIM Facebook page to read the inspiring posts about their many wonderful volunteers.

Perhaps the best news of all about the Nourishing Hatteras Island Fund: the fund’s creators have left gifts in their wills for this fund, which will only increase its good works in future years.

Interested in establishing and naming a fund to meet local needs? Your Community Foundation offers a variety of fund types, including scholarships, donor-advised, and field of interest, to match personal preferences in philanthropy. Find out more here, and reach out to us at 252-261-8839 if we can help you get started.

American Red Cross Grant Funds Help Outer Banks Repair and Prepare

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has completed work on a grant funded by the American Red Cross. The grant was designed to assist families in need following Hurricane Dorian, and to provide the Community Foundation with resources to review and improve its disaster response process.

The grant funded a part-time Disaster Relief Coordinator, who supported existing Community Foundation disaster relief grants as well as the new grant funds made available by the Red Cross.

“The partnership between the Red Cross and the Outer Banks Community Foundation leaves both the Community Foundation and the community we serve stronger and better prepared to respond to future disasters,” opined Community Foundation President and CEO Chris Sawin. “Our thanks go out to our nonprofit partners, and to Disaster Relief Coordinators Bob Muller and Susan Rhew, for their work on this grant.”

The grant also funded mental health services on Ocracoke Island, which were provided through Ocracoke Interfaith Relief and Recovery Team (OIRRT) and staffed by Earle Irwin, a retired clinical nurse specialist. Her services were welcomed by the island’s residents as they worked to overcome the extensive damages, losses, and disruptions caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Work managed under the grant helped repair and rebuild 41 homes; six of those home repair projects were funded directly by the Red Cross. The home repair work was accomplished by volunteers working with Ocracoke Interfaith Relief and Recovery Team and UMCOR (the United Methodist Council on Relief). Work done by Cape Hatteras United Methodist men to repair and elevate repetitive loss properties on Hatteras Island was also administered under the ARC grant.

In addition to repairing hurricane-damaged homes, the Red Cross grant afforded the Outer Banks Community Foundation the opportunity to restructure its disaster response program. The program will now include more nonprofits and will have better defined operating parameters. Changes were made as to how costs are covered, to the Community Foundation’s internal and external operational plans, and even how disaster relief donations are accounted for. The improvements were driven by the Community Foundation’s nonprofit partners, and discussions with Dare County Emergency Management, Dare County Social Services, and Hyde County.

Final funds from the Red Cross grant were awarded to Ocracoke Interfaith Relief and Recovery Team, Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, and Cape Hatteras Community Emergency Rescue Team.  These final grants are being used to replace supplies and equipment expended but not replaced by these groups after Hurricane Dorian.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization that connects people who care with causes that matter. Based in a historic flat top cottage in Southern Shores, the Community Foundation manages more than $24 million across more than 200 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, awards grants to local nonprofits, administers 58 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 $11 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students. 

Diane Baum St. Clair’s Bequest to the Outer Banks Keeps Giving Back

Model, Scholar, Hotelier, Philanthropist – Diane Baum St. Clair’s Bequest to the Outer Banks Keeps Giving Back

Diane Baum St. Clair made her mark on the Outer Banks in many ways. She ran away to New York City as a teenager, entered the world of high fashion, then left abruptly to pursue higher education from prestigious schools like Johns Hopkins and Yale universities, before returning home to help in the family’s businesses. During her adult life in Dare County, she generously gave back, supporting public, private, and philanthropic ventures in her small but growing oceanfront community.

Similarly, the Thomas and Annie Baum Memorial Fund has been giving back since its creation by bequest in 2005. Diane, who was Thomas and Annie’s daughter, made a gift in her will of $250,000 to the Outer Banks, through the Outer Banks Community Foundation, with instructions to establish a fund in memory of her parents, for “educational and cultural purposes.”

Between 2005 and 2021, more than $203,000 has been distributed from the Thomas and Annie Baum Memorial Fund to support 43 Community Foundation grants. During this same time period, the fund had grown–2021 assets are more than $340,000. The staying power of this Fund, and the gifts it has made and will continue make, will benefit people and places in Dare County for generations to come. This is the real beauty of bequests like Diane’s, and endowment funds at the Community Foundation. Also called “forever” funds, contributions into endowed funds are invested, and gifts are made each year from no more than 5% of a fund’s balance, averaged over three years.

Thomas, Annie, and Diane all lived remarkable lives, and they loved the Outer Banks well. We are still feeling that love and generosity today.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation accepts many different types of gifts – gifts of stock, property, or other assets; IRA distributions; and insurance beneficiary distributions, to name a few. Often, these gifts are made by bequest.

Do you love helping students get a college education? Seeing turtle hatchlings and sea creatures near our shores? Helping people who have special needs or circumstances? We can help you make your mark, by making a lasting gift for good. If you are writing or revising a will, and if the Outer Banks has been particularly good to you, we ask that you consider including a gift to the Outer Banks, through the Outer Banks Community Foundation.

Imagine the world of good your gift will do.

David Stick’s Words Ring True Today

The following is excerpted from David Stick’s “Outer Banks Community Foundation.”

In 1984, after having been asked repeatedly to explain the concept of the community foundation, I finally put down in writing my own description:

The Outer Banks Community Foundation was organized locally in 1982 to provide a method by which a large number of individuals and businesses can join together in establishing a permanent and constantly-growing endowment fund, with annual earnings used to address both current and long-range needs in the Outer Banks area.

Its sole concern is in maintaining and improving the quality of life…its flexibility provides the Community Foundation with a unique ability to respond quickly to the ever-changing needs of the Outer Banks community, and to employ both conventional and innovative methods in addressing such needs.

It enjoys a favored position under the provisions of the Treasury Regulations and IRS code, thus extending to all donors the maximum possible tax advantage.

It supplements and often supports the activities of many conventional charities, while offering the individual donor the opportunity—with a single contribution—to assist a variety of local charitable programs and projects.

It belongs to the people of the Outer Banks, both native and adopted. Through its designation as a public charity, it is operated in the public interest, prepared at all times to address the most pressing educational, social, health, cultural, and environmental needs of the Outer Banks.

It is a potential funding source for all benevolent uses; a pooling of the excess resources of hundreds of individuals who share a love and concern for the unique Outer Banks; and a private effort to address public problems in a trying era when funds from public sources are in increasingly short supply.

It is, finally, a way that any of us, and all of us, can put something back.

My first awareness of the existence of community foundations came in early 1980 when I read in The Daily Advance that an organization called The Elizabeth City Foundation had made several sizable grants designed to address area needs, especially in the Camden County schools. Attorney Dewey Wells, a personal friend who had done some legal work for me, was listed in the news story as the Executive Director of the Elizabeth City Foundation, so I contacted him for information.

Initially, Dewey sent me a couple of brochures. Later I got more information from him in personal conversations, and from a speech he had made entitled: “More Than You May Have Wanted to Know About Community Foundations.” Despite the title of Dewey’s speech, it provided me with only a fraction of what I wanted to know about community foundations, so I later made contact with the Council on Foundations in Washington and purchased their voluminous two-volume Handbook on Community Foundations. For two years after making that first contact with (Elizabeth City Foundation Founder) Dewey Wells, I put aside any thoughts of proceeding with the organization of a community foundation on the Outer Banks. Then, on June 8, 1982, Andy Griffith came up to my home in Southern Shores for the specific purpose of putting on tape the answer to a question I had asked earlier, “Why does a nationally known actor, still active in a career that calls for him to spend most of his time in Hollywood, California, consider Roanoke Island, North Carolina, his home?”

Andy and I taped a couple of hours in general discussion, much of it about his boyhood, his involvement with the Carolina Playmakers at Chapel Hill, his bit parts in The Lost Colony, and his growing love for the Outer Banks and its people, whom he credited with providing the needed encouragement to-embark on his acting career. “Sometime,” he told me after the taped session was terminated by a failure of the recorder (which neither of us could fathom), “I’d like to find some way to pay them back.”

We were sitting across from each other at the circular table in my study, and my immediate response was that I shared his desire, and I knew how to accomplish it. I then spent a couple of minutes explaining to him, in essentially the following words, the concept of the community foundation:

“Throughout the country there are thousands of wealthy individuals or families who have established private foundations. We have more than our share of them in North Carolina, with prominent names such as Duke, Reynolds, and Hanes. But in those communities where there is no wealthy individual or family, a community foundation can accomplish the same charitable purpose when a large number of people band together, each making a modest contribution, with the result that the aggregate then becomes meaningful.”

Andy’s response was immediate, and enthusiastic. “Let’s go with it,” he said. And by the time he left ten minutes or so later we decided that the first step would be to run the idea past a couple of astute businessmen before involving anyone else. It was easy to agree on two businessmen-Eddie L. Greene and George Crocker-and we decided to set up a meeting with them for the next week, but without telling them what we wanted to discuss with them. The Outer Banks Community Foundation was on the way.

The following words are excerpted from David Stick’s opening statements at the Community Foundation’s first Board of Directors meeting, on November 16, 1982:

“Those of us fortunate enough to have been born on the Outer Banks, and others who have chosen to live out ·their lives here, share equally in our love for this unique area. We share an appreciation for the informality and openness, the history and lore, the raw and ever-changing beauty of the sea and sounds and storms and sunsets.

Life has been made better—more satisfying and rewarding—by virtue of our close kinship with this many-faceted expanse of windswept coast with its shrouded forests and its broad plains of marsh-grass wafting in the gentle breezes. Yet, in recent years especially, we have viewed with mixed emotions the dramatic changes taking place, welcoming the new aura of affluence and progress, while at the same time becoming increasingly concerned about the inroads that threaten the charm and appeal of the Outer Banks. We have begun to wonder with gnawing fear and trepidation, just what the generations of the future will find here, after we are gone.

Now finally, there is a way each of us can participate actively and permanently in shaping the future of the Banks, even after our departure. It is our way, individually and personally, of repaying our beloved Outer Banks for the wonders and contentment it has given us.

The basic premise behind the Outer Banks Community Foundation is quite simple. There should be available in our immediate coastal area a sizable reserve fund from which grants would be made annually for local needs not ordinarily within the province of government, religious institutions or charitable organizations.

The grants would be administered by a board of able and respected local individuals. Primary funding would come from voluntary bequests by residents and friends of the Outer Banks. Normally sizable funds would not pass to the Foundation until after the death of each participant, though some individuals with excess assets might choose to make partial transfers earlier.

Unless otherwise specified, only earnings would be distributed each year. The fund would continue to grow, however, as assets increase in value and as additional individuals make bequests. It would thus be both a self-perpetuating and an expanding source for grant funds.

Each participant would determine whether the earnings from his or her assets would be distributed at the discretion of the administrative board, or designated for specific purposes. The scope of such potential uses is almost limitless, ranging from the more conventional—scholarships, purchasing books for the library, improving recreational facilities for the youth and elderly or assisting established charitable organizations—to the more imaginative, such as fisheries research, aiding individuals made destitute by fire or natural disaster, or upgrading the environment.

People of modest means, as well as the more affluent, can share equally in the program, designating a limited share of their assets for the Foundation without adversely affecting the needs of their heirs. You can join now in this local effort to provide for the future needs of our beloved Outer Banks.”

Generations have grown up since our Community Foundation began in 1982. Many of its founders and initial funders are no longer with us, but their legacies live on, and their gifts, made years ago, are still supporting the causes they were passionate about. Today’s Community Foundation staff and board of directors stand on the shoulders of David Stick, Martin Kellogg, Eddie Greene, Andy Griffith, Jack Adams, Ray White, and many others, who worked to get our Community Foundation off to its solid start. While they couldn’t foresee today’s issues, they realized the power behind collective philanthropy and they had faith and conviction in the community foundation model. We are forever grateful for their visionary thinking and dedicated efforts over many years. Their work, which continues today, ensures the Community Foundation will always be part of what makes our Outer Banks so wonderful, generations into the future.

Kelly Family Fund’s Amazing Community Impact

When Mike Kelly rolled onto the Outer Banks, by way of Elizabeth City, in his Ford Fairlane in 1970, the ‘Banks were mostly sand and the cottages relatively few. Still in college, he waited tables during the summer to cover school expenses for the year ahead. When he graduated in 1972, he moved here full-time, attracted by the long summers, laid back lifestyle, and lucrative (albeit seasonal) employment.

Fast-forward ten years: when the Community Foundation was started by David Stick and a core group in 1982, Mike wasn’t far behind. “My earliest recollection of learning about the Community Foundation came from conversations that happened at A Restaurant By George, where I was General Manager,” said Mike. “George (Crocker), David (Stick), Andy (Griffith), and others would hole up at an upstairs table and conceptualize and hash out details. I was intrigued and wanted to know more about what those guys were up to.”

When Mike became a restaurant owner in 1985, he knew that a key to his business success would be community involvement. He joined the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors in 1987; by 1990 he was its Board Chair. As his business and community involvement grew, he led efforts to create several major events to help local charities, including the Kelly Charity Golf Classic, the OBX Marathon, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The proceeds of the Kelly Charity Golf Classic are used each year to grow the Kelly Family Fund, a donor-advised fund he established in 1994 at the Community Foundation.

“In the early days of the Community Foundation, there was plenty of local buy-in, and lots of small gifts, but we weren’t growing to the point where we were sustainable,” recalled Mike. “I decided to create a donor-advised fund, as a way of investing in our Community Foundation. I liked the fact that we could recommend grants and give money from the fund to local charities each year.”

Mike created the Kelly Annual Charity Golf Classic in 1994 with the help of his Penguin Isle business partner, Doug Tutwiler. The golf tournament was a big success, generating about $14,000 for the Kelly Family Fund in net proceeds each year.

Through the combined power of annual gifts to the fund and investing the principal, the Kelly Family Fund has grown, even while grants are being made each year. As of August, 2021, nearly $380,000 in grants have been awarded to charities like Outer Banks Hotline, Friends of Nags Head Woods, Dare County Youth Center, American Legion, Boy Scouts, Friends of Jockey’s Ridge, Manteo High School, Food For Thought, Outer Banks Family YMCA, Dare Education Foundation, GEM Adult Day Services, disaster relief, and much more. In all, nearly the Kelly Family Fund has awarded 275 grants since its inception in 1994. The best part of all? There is more in the fund now—$400,000—than at any other time in its history.

“I feel like the Kelly Family Fund is a great example of what can happen with the right income stream, the right financial team, and patience over a number of years,” said Mike. “I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to put back nearly $400,000 into the community since 1994, and that today there is more than $400,000 in the fund, an amount that will continue to grow, thanks to good management and investing.” Another feel-good for Mike? He’s been able to make philanthropy a family affair, by including his wife, Willo, and his daughters Elizabeth (with husband Ben) and Juliane in the grant recommendations process.

“David Stick would be overjoyed to know this fund’s history,” said Bob Muller, who served on the board with Mike. He said of the Community Foundation, “As Mr. Stick said, ‘It’s a way all of us can put something back.’”

If you would like to amplify your giving, and help create brighter futures on the Outer Banks, please contact us at 252-261-8839. We’d be honored to help you with your philanthropy.