First Flight High School Seniors Awarded $38,900 in Scholarships

Eight First Flight High School seniors will be heading off to their first year of college in the fall with support from local fund establishers and donors.

Eighteen 2022 scholarship awards for these eight students total $38,900. Nine of the 18 scholarships are renewable, making the potential total investment for these students $122,900 over the next four years.

2022 First Flight High School scholarship recipients are:

Chloe Clark
$2,500/$1000 renewable

  • Bill Jones Memorial Scholarship
  • Dare County Association of Fire Officers Scholarship

Versailles D’Alessio
$8,000/$6,000 renewable

  • Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship
  • Rex Sample Scholarship for Courage and Determination
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Kayla Hallac

  • Courtney M. Burgess Memorial Scholarship

Kate Hamilton
$4,500/$3,500 renewable

  • Barbara Barnes Sherman Scholarship
  • John T. Daniels, Lois Pearce Smith, & J. Bryan Smith Scholarship
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Maggie McNinch
$8,900/$6,000 renewable

  • Milton A. Jewell Academic Scholarship
  • Robert E. Rollason, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Mya Salch
$9,000/$6,500 renewable

  • Elizabeth and Wayne Evans Scholarship
  • Osborne Scholarship
  • Wallace H. McCown Memorial Scholarship
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Maggie Sherman

  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Loxley Wayland
$3,500/$3,500 renewable

  • Charles H. & Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship

The awards were presented at First Flight High School’s Awards Night on April 26. Congratulations to these students, and plenty of thanks and appreciation to scholarship fund establishers and donors to funds for local scholarships. Anyone can contribute to an existing scholarship fund or establish a new scholarship fund. Online donations can be made at, and scrolling through the list of funds. If you’ve dreamed of creating a fund and want to know more, call us at 252-261-8839 to get started.

Manteo High School Seniors Awarded $19,400 in Scholarships

Six Manteo High School seniors will be heading off to their first year of college in the fall with support from local fund establishers and donors.

The ten 2022 scholarships awarded to these six Manteo High School seniors totals $19,400. Four of the ten awards are renewable, making the potential total investment for these students $52,400 over four years.

2022 Manteo High School scholarship recipients are:

Ana Karen Alvarez-Isidoro
$10,000/$9,000 renewable

  • Elizabeth and Wayne Evans Scholarship
  • OBX Scholars Program Award
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Ivy Cage

  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Jordan Holcomb

  • Catherine Carrington Clawson Scholarship

Grayson Lewis

  • Duck Woods Ladies Tennis Association Scholarship
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Morgann Owens

  • Dare County Association of Fire Officers Scholarship
  • Outer Banks Association of Realtors Scholarship

Hart Vandzura

  • Frank M. Cahoon Scholarship

The awards were presented at Manteo High School’s Awards Night on April 25. Congratulations to these students, and plenty of thanks and appreciation to scholarship fund establishers and donors to funds for local scholarships. Anyone can contribute to an existing scholarship fund or establish a new scholarship fund. Online donations can be made at, and scrolling through the list of funds. If you’ve dreamed of creating a fund and want to know more, call us at 252-261-8839 to get started.

2021 Annual Report is Now Online

The 2021 Annual Report can be found in its entirety here.










Maureen Welch and her granddaughter Elyot Lowdermilk celebrate a sunset on Run Hill for our cover, as does Katy Spore’s artistic rendition of our Southern Shores flat top cottage, for our 40th anniversary.

Donor-Advised Fund Establishers Gift $250,000 to Waves Edge Village School in Corolla

Water’s Edge Village School in Corolla (WEVS) and the Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF) are proud to announce that Corolla residents Wayne and Betty Evans pledged $250,000 to help WEVS (a K-8 charter school) build an additional schoolhouse adjacent its current location in the historic village. The tuition-free school, founded in 2012 and guided by a mission to incorporate whole child development with an emphasis on project-based, hand-on learning, has grown from 15 to 43 students. The new building will accommodate current need and future growth by providing an additional three classrooms, a community room, a resource room, and a teacher’s office.

WEVS publicly launched its capital campaign on Tuesday, April 12 during a celebration at the historic 1890s schoolhouse. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.35M. Betty Evans said, “It’s motivational and inspirational to do something good for a child. Years ago we spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. There was a plaque next to the elevator that said something like, ‘It doesn’t matter how big your house is or what kind of car you drive, what will matter is if you made a difference in the life of a child.’ And I think this school can make a difference in the lives of many children, so let’s build this school!”

With the momentum generated by the Evans’ pledge from their donor-advised fund (held here at Outer Banks Community Foundation), along with a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation’s Community Enrichment grant program, the school hopes to inspire community support for the project. Community engagement is particularly necessary because local and state governments may not contribute to the campaign due to the school’s charter status. Wayne Evans said, “This is what we can do for Corolla. One hundred years ago there were people who did this same thing. And I hope 100 years from now that building still is still working for the community.” The new classrooms will expand the school’s campus – younger students will still have classes in the old schoolhouse.

Contributions to the capital campaign can be made on the school’s website or by mailing payments to PO Box 215, Corolla NC 27927. Please notify board president Meghan Agresto with any questions about the WEVS capital campaign.

2020 and 2021 COVID Rapid Response Grants Impacts

Mustang Outreach Program tutor Lindsey with student participant London

Two years ago, the world was shocked to learn about COVID-19, a new, frightening, and rapidly spreading disease. The entire country was in lockdown. In Dare County, bridges were closed, cutting off the local community from the outside world. The silence on our roads and in our schools and other public places was deafening and surreal.

What many thought would be a couple of months of sacrifice turned out to be a prolonged period of uncertainty, unemployment, and hardship. Perhaps worst of all, our kids were stuck at home without the benefit of team sports, dance classes, school clubs or formal, in-person education.

In response to the crisis, Outer Banks Community Foundation immediately reached out to local nonprofits to offer grant support, wherever they saw need. Now, two years after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible to look back at how the Community Foundation’s extraordinary grantmaking to nonprofits helped keep thousands of Outer Banks residents from missing meals, education opportunities, social connections, and more.

In all, the Community Foundation completed eight rounds of Rapid Response grants of over $350,000. These grant awards had both an immediate and a long-term impact for 21 nonprofits and the families they serve.

One of the first challenges of the lock down was providing students with online access for remote learning. Dare County Schools identified nearly 200 students who lacked internet at home and/or stable housing, and requested funding through Dare Education Foundation (DEF) to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots and service for these households. A March 2020 Community Foundation grant to DEF paid for 69 Wi-Fi hotspots, with service for three months; a second grant, in September 2020, provided for an additional 50 hotspots, and data plans for 180 hotspot devices, extending access for all identified families. “Our ability to provide mobile hotspots to students during the pandemic was essential for virtual learning to be fully effective,” said Holly King, Dare County Schools Director of Technology Services. “We are grateful for the support from our community partners that allowed us to make this possible.”

Students on Ocracoke also were in desperate need for connectivity. The lockdown struck only six months past Dorian’s catastrophic landfall, and the majority of island homes and businesses were still in disrepair and disarray. Many Ocracoke students did not have internet service at home. A Community Foundation grant provided for 25 Wi-Fi hotspots. “During the time when we couldn’t work face to face, the hotspots filled an important gap for our students,” said Ocracoke School guidance counselor Mary McKnight.

Supply chain problems and mounting unemployment created food insecurity for many families. One of several grants to address this was a $25,000 collaborative buying grant initiated by Community Foundation Treasurer Pat Regan, a retired food industry executive, and Beach Food Pantry. A tractor-trailer’s worth of food was purchased through Food Bank of the Albemarle and brought to Beach Food Pantry, where it was divided up for use by pantries throughout the Outer Banks.

Food outreach programs to the elderly saw a dramatic increase in requests for services. Home-delivered meals in Dare County increased by more than 40%. Meal exchanges were contactless to protect this vulnerable population; the downside was that socialization for this marginalized and isolated group was severely curtailed. Community Foundation COVID Rapid-Response grants to Albemarle Development Corporation and Hatteras Island Meals bolstered both home-delivery programs.

When schools and businesses closed, Outer Banks parents, grandparents, and guardians scrambled to find appropriate ways to keep kids occupied and up-to-date with their studies. Grants to Interfaith Community Outreach were awarded for financial assistance to struggling families to pay for tutoring and help parents who had to stay home from work to be with their children. Mustang Outreach Program pivoted from its music instruction program to offering in-person tutoring, transforming their space with an influx of new teachers, new student clients, and plexiglass cubicles. Their rigorous safety protocols, which included distancing, masking, and cleaning, were successful—no one in the program contracted COVID-19. “We were able to reach kids when they really needed online help with their school work,” said Mustang Outreach Music Director Ruth Wyand.

“I think it’s safe to say that none of us imagined a disaster like the coronavirus pandemic, not in our wildest dreams,” said Community Foundation CEO Chris Sawin. “Thankfully, the Rapid Response Grants program established after Hurricane Dorian allowed us to respond immediately, in ways that allowed nonprofits to address the needs of Outer Banks families quickly. The many funds established here over the years contributed to these grants, and we are very grateful to the philanthropy and foresight of donors for creating a means to help our community when needs are great.”

Duke Nonprofit Management Certificate Course Earns High Marks

Twenty-three Outer Banks nonprofit executives spent eight days in January and February learning intensely. Their online subject matter came straight from Duke University, and their end goal was to obtain a certificate in nonprofit management. Eight instructors, each high-level  educators and/or professionals in their respective fields, led virtual classes on financial management, grant writing, planning and evaluation, social enterprise, employment law, strategic planning, and more. $30,000 in Community Foundation grants assisted in underwriting course expenses for most attendees.

Here is just some of the positive feedback received:

“Having worked as a registered nurse and regional safety-net coordinator, I understood the challenges of accessing health care that uninsured, financially-challenged adults faced. To be an effective Executive Director of a free/charitable clinic, however, I had to learn how to lead so our organization could make positive, social change. The Duke Nonprofit Management Certificate Program taught me the key leadership skills that I needed to form the vision and culture for the Community Care Clinic of Dare staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors.” Lyn Jenkins, Community Care Clinic of Dare

“I sent you guys a thank you before the class began, however; I feel it’s even more apt to thank you in hindsight, given the invaluable experience I had. Everything about the class, including the instructors, the class content, and the interactions with classmates, was topnotch. Please relay my gratitude to everyone involved at Outer Banks Community Foundation.”  Mike Jones, Room In The Inn

“Even as a seasoned non-profit executive the Duke training was fantastic. It gave me the opportunity to engage with some managements tools I hadn’t yet tried. It also provided me with some useful tools to get/keep stakeholders engaged.”  Michelle Lewis, Executive Director, Peace Garden Project

The nonprofit sector is a significant contributor in communities nationwide; that is certainly the case on the Outer Banks, where more than 200 charitable organizations endeavor to create better outcomes for a variety of causes and need areas. Your Community Foundation is dedicated to increasing the capacity of local nonprofits. Sign up for our e-newsletter to keep abreast of upcoming events.


Community Foundation Awards $47,700 to Combat Addiction, Support our Youth, and Enhance Community Space

The Outer Banks Community Foundation board of directors approved $47,700 in First Quarter Community Enrichment grants to four nonprofits, lending support to programs for addiction treatment and recovery, youth and education, historic preservation, and child health and well-being. This is the first of four award cycles for Community Enrichment grants this year; more than $200,000 in funding is available from this grants program in 2022. Applications were received from Saving Lives Task Force, OBX Go Far, Ocracoke Preservation Society, and Water’s Edge Village School; all four nonprofits were awarded funding.

Saving Lives Task Force has operated since 2014 to combat substance abuse and addiction, tackling the problem strategically in five areas: Assess, Prevent, Reduce Harm, Connect to Care, and Track and Measure. The nonprofit was awarded a $2,950 grant from the Community Foundation to provide weekly, life-skills training workshops to people in recovery. Life-skills training offers tools and information to building self-esteem and achieving greater independence, which can help prevent relapse. This training series is a new program for the group. Topics will include nutrition, stress and pain management, finances, and healthy relationships. The Task Force expressed there is a lack of insurance and other forms of support for life skills training.

OBX Go Far volunteer mentors help kids learn how to run and compete; also built into their six-week programs for elementary and middle-school children are life lessons in responsibility, goal-setting, attitude, commitment, and respect. A Community Foundation grant of $19,750 will allow the group to reach more Dare families by supporting an updated, bilingual website and underwriting program fees for many participants. “Due to the pandemic, the majority of our families are now in need of assistance, and we are here to serve them,” wrote OBX Go Far Executive Director/Dare County After-School Enrichment Director Samantha Brown.

Ocracoke Preservation Society is restoring the historic Odd Fellows Lodge, a 1901 two-story wood frame building located on an acre of land near the center of Ocracoke Village. The lodge has served many purposes over the years, including as island schoolhouse, US Navy look-out, and, more recently, as The Silver Island Inn. The Society’s vision is to have the first floor of the restored lodge serve as a welcome center for island visitors; the second floor will house nonprofit administrative offices. A $15,000 Community Foundation grant toward roof renovation will help support the restoration project.

Water’s Edge Village School in Corolla teaches 44 children, fostering learning in this small community and saving students more than four hours of transport each day to other schools in Dare and Currituck. The school has a waiting list of students but lacks the space to accommodate a larger student body; they are undertaking a capital campaign to increase their capacity. A Community Foundation grant of $10,000 will help the growing school purchase classroom technology and equipment.

“The Community Enrichment grants process offers an opportunity for nonprofits to apply for funds from an unrestricted grant-making pool that has grown considerably over the years,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Chris Sawin. “We encourage nonprofit leaders to contact us at any time throughout the year to discuss their projects, so we can work together to help address both pressing needs and promising opportunities.”

Grant applications are submitted to the Community Foundation via an online grants link. Organizations interested in applying for grants should contact Chris at the Community Foundation to discuss their project, prior to submitting an application. The next round of Community Enrichment grant applications is due by 11:59 pm on Friday, April 29.

2,100 Scholarships Awarded and Counting–How the Community Foundation Helps College-Bound Residents

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Shenandoah University

High school seniors face a hectic school year crammed with extra-curricular events, social activities, not much sleep, and more than a little stress about the changes, challenges, and excitement that college will bring. We interrupt this busy time in their lives with a promise—send us your hopes and aspirations, as well as your letters of recommendation and completed application, and we will consider you for a potential windfall of scholarship dollars from 60 funds. In 2022, more than $200,000 will be awarded.

Since our scholarship program began, $2.5 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 1,100 students. In 2021, $175,000 was awarded to 51 students, averaging nearly $3,500 per student. The number of annual awards, and award amounts, have steadily ticked up over the years. Renewable scholarships, that follow students throughout all four years of school, have been a focus. The scholarship application itself has been updated several times, always with an eye toward making the program accessible to more students.

“To date, 30 Outer Banks students have been awarded multi-year scholarships of $20,000 or more, and another 25 have been awarded between $10,000 and $19,999, just from the programs we administer,” said Scholarship Program Manager Nandy Stuart. “Awards of these sizes represent significant financial support for these students, allowing them to focus on learning, achieving their degrees, and ultimately finding success in careers that match their aspirations.”

“Conversely,” Nandy continued, “one scholarship fund was established by a woman who received a $25 check to help her pay for college. Of course, this was a long time ago, and the amount was tiny; what struck this donor (who became a nurse), was that someone she didn’t know was willing to invest in her and show faith in her. She felt that if she could continue that tradition by encouraging others, they would feel the same sense of affirmation and support that she did.”

Each year, as the Community Foundation pool of scholarship funds, investments, and awards grows, the process to decide who will receive these awards is reviewed, improved upon, and called into play. In late winter board members and community members are invited to serve on one of several committees to review applications. The applicant pool is divided into opportunities that are based on need, merit, or discipline area.

Committee members review applications and engage in group discussions to arrive at the final scholarship recipient list for all available awards. Most of the 60 scholarships managed by the Community Foundation are available to all high schools, from Currituck to Dare to Ocracoke. It’s a competitive process, but there are many scholarships to be awarded, including those for four-year colleges, two-year schools, state colleges and universities, vocational programs, and more.

Scholarship awards are announced at each school’s Awards Night, usually held in April and May, and are listed on the Community Foundation website at

If you would like to know more about our scholarship process or are interested in volunteering for a committee or establishing a scholarship fund yourself, please give us a call at 252-261-8839. The options for scholarship programs are almost as diverse as the students themselves.

If you’d like to read about the impact of some of the scholarship funds established over the years, we invite you to read these stories:

Renewable Scholarships Fund Four Years of School for Deserving Local Students

With 57 scholarship programs, there is plenty of variety for local high school seniors who are seeking help getting to college, including choice of schools, academic concentration, merit- or need-based, and more. The Outer Banks Community Foundation and its fund establishers, volunteer board, and committee members have invested a lot of time to ensure that scholarships are given to the most deserving, hard-working, and focused students. Scholarship fund goals are to help students succeed in school, and in life, and we feel our scholarship programs provide vital support and affirmation at a critical time.

In 2020, the Community Foundation board, after careful research and reflection, decided that all newly-created scholarship funds, with the exception of funds for partner programs, would be renewable. Their reasons for making this change are compelling:

  • Renewable scholarships mean more money per student, over the course of four years, which yields a bigger impact for each recipient
  • Renewability addresses front-loading concerns (a common practice at many, if not most, colleges and universities) because it allows awards to be carried over
  • Administration is reduced, meaning money in goes out the door and to students

Here are four stories that describe where college students are in their school careers—and on their paths through life. As you will read, renewable scholarships have made a profound difference.

Milton A. Jewell Academic Scholarship recipient – Isabel Estes, First Flight High School Class of 2019

Isabel Estes is a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying English and Comparative Literature and Communications. She wrote, “Being among the first in my family to try going to college, or to go to Carolina, feels like trailblazing, almost. It’s like a leap in a completely different direction from most of the rest of my family. It’s been challenging to find my own path in that respect.”

Isabel also said, “Above all else, I’d like to express my eternal gratitude to the OBCF and the donors that have afforded me such a life-changing opportunity. I simply cannot express how grateful I am, how my heart feels as if it could burst with love and appreciation for the community I am so fortunate to be a part of. I hope to begin paying it back by making good on my intention to embrace the opportunities afforded to me by a college education, but also to pour what love and light I can back into this community. Thank you, from the bottom of my joyous heart, for taking the time to read the words I’ve written, and thank you for all you do to nurture our community.”

The Milton A. Jewel Academic Scholarship is a four-year, renewable scholarship with a potential value of $24,000.  The fund was established by our Community Foundation in 2003 with a bequest from Ruth Medgyes, a former Southern Shores resident, who wanted to honor her grandfather and help Dare County students attend college. Students are selected based on academic standing, SAT scores, community service, extracurricular activities, demonstrated leadership, two essay questions, and an interview. Financial need may also be considered. This scholarship is available to Dare County high school seniors and is renewable for up to four years, so long as the student maintains full-time enrollment and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship recipient – Vanessa Salazar, Manteo High School Class of 2018

Vanessa Salazar is a rising senior at East Carolina University, where she is working toward a degree in Recreation Therapy. A 2018 graduate from Manteo High School, Vanessa transferred from Appalachian State to ECU after her sophomore year. The Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship has supported her throughout.

Vanessa recently wrote, “I am glad I made the decision to transfer to East Carolina University and pursue my Bachelors in Recreational Therapy with a minor in psychology. I believe everything happens for a reason and I am where I am now due to fate and hard work. Next fall I will enter my senior year at ECU and I honestly cannot believe how fast time went by. I am almost there! I want to take this time to thank the Outer Banks Community Foundation for aiding me financially during these past years. This help has greatly alleviated my concern of how I was going to pay my own way through college. I cannot put into words how grateful I am. Thank you.”

Established in 2007, the Jerry and Arlene Davis Scholarship is a renewable award for graduating seniors from Manteo High School or First Flight High School who demonstrate a positive work ethic and history. In 2018, the annual award for new graduates was increased to $6,000, providing a potential benefit of $24,000 per student. This need-based scholarship targets students who worked throughout high school and who plan to continue to work through college. The intent of this scholarship is to help students achieve educational dreams that might not otherwise be possible.

OBX Scholars Program Scholarship recipient – Carlos Daniel Escobar-Roldan, Hatteras Secondary School Class of 2018

Carlos, a Hatteras Secondary School graduate, is a rising senior at Appalachian State University. His major is Electronic Media and Broadcasting. He’s spent his junior year at home, and has had to purchase video equipment to do coursework remotely. Carlos works odd jobs while in school and will work over the summer to help with costs. His current course load is 19 hours, including an internship, which are all going well. “I’m enjoying my internship and gaining lots of valuable experience. I’ve edited a handful of videos that have been and are being televised in the Boone, NC area.”

Carlos continued, “Even though it’s been a very different school year, I’m still trying to get the most out of it. I’m really excited to return to campus this following semester and live off campus too for that experience. Thank you for your help so far!”

The OBX Scholars Program is a four-year, renewable scholarship with a potential $16,000 benefit. Established in 2017, the OBX Scholars Program is the Community Foundation’s broadest scholarship program, helping deserving Dare County and Ocracoke students of all backgrounds, interests, and academic goals attend the college of their dreams. Many different donors contribute to this fund, or have contributed to this fund in the past, including the Outer Banks Woman’s Club, Ocracoke Island Realty, Village Realty, the Kiwanis Club in memory of Leo Sheetz, and the Dare County Outer Banks Jaycees.


Charles H. and Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship recipient Enrique Babilonia, Hatteras Secondary School Class of 2018

Enrique is studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and has been helped by several scholarships, including the four-year, renewable Charles H. and Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship.

Enrique wrote, “Attending Berklee College of Music has been challenging, frustrating, and at times overwhelming, but most of all, very rewarding. Being at Berklee has made me realize my deepest passions, and has given me every opportunity to optimize them. One of those things is trumpet performance. Just this year alone, I have played in more musical groups than I can count, ranging from film, pit and studio orchestras, jazz combos, wind ensembles, reggae bands, mariachi and salsa groups, and even a Justin Timberlake cover band. All of these groups, along with great resources to practice as much as I need to, have put me on a path to very exciting professional opportunities as I seek to make a living as a musician. However, if you look, my major is not listed as trumpet performance, but Composition. That is because while here, I discovered a very strong passion in writing music for the screen. This includes scoring for film, television, ads, radio, and any other things people do that can involve music.”

“Above all, this year has just been a very eventful one. I discovered new hobbies (like photography and cooking), rediscovered old ones (reading novels and drawing), and have found myself becoming much more extroverted and adventurous. I can’t thank you enough for all the continued support you’ve given me not just financially, but emotionally…I am and forever will be grateful for all you’ve done for me, as none of this would be possible without you!”

The Charles H. and Dorothy S. Luedemann Art Scholarship is a four-year, renewable scholarship with a potential benefit of $14,000. This program was established in 1998 through a bequest by Mrs. Luedemann to encourage talented Dare County students to pursue a college education in the arts, including music, visual arts, creative writing, or performing arts. This merit-based scholarship is renewable for up to four years, as long as the student maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA and remains full-time in college as an arts major.

College is full of changes, challenges, and demands, where young adults learn a great deal about life and strive to set their future course. We are honored to steward 57 scholarship programs for our community. We are committed to a fair, impartial process for all applicants. We would love to help every student who applies, and to that end, we will continue to work to build our scholarship funds. We are deeply grateful to every scholarship fund establisher. Scholarship funds can be established with as little as $1,000 in the initial year; if you are interested in learning more about creating a fund to honor someone, or to pass on your values to future generations, please give us a call. We would be honored to help you achieve your philanthropic goals.