Community Foundation 40th Birthday Backyard Bash on Oct. 15 Celebrates Community Philanthropy

The Outer Banks Community Foundation invites the public to its 40th Birthday Backyard Bash at the Outer Banks Brewing Station on Saturday, October 15 from 2 – 6 pm. The free event will feature live music, birthday cake, and a $4,000 grant to be awarded to one local charity by event-goers. This community grant kicks off a new partnership with Charitocracy OBX, our new, local, online giving circle, where donors pool their contributions, nominate, and vote for local nonprofits to receive grants each month.

“Our Community Foundation was built on a model of many people making modest contributions, for the betterment of the entire community,” said President and CEO Chris Sawin. “As we reflect on 40 years of giving, we are humbled by the efforts of others and inspired to do our part to position this extraordinary organization into its next 40 years of service. We are very pleased to mark this auspicious occasion by launching a new giving platform the whole community can be involved in, starting at just $1 a month.”

The Outer Banks Community Foundation was the brainchild of historian David Stick, who recognized the value of establishing a charitable foundation to address the unmet needs of the Outer Banks. He looked at what other communities had done, formulated a concept, and gathered together George Crocker, Eddie Greene, and Andy Griffith to share his ideas for creating a community foundation for the Outer Banks. They then brought in local leaders in banking (Ray White), law (Martin Kellogg), and finance (Jack Adams), formed a board and organization structure and had their first official meeting on November 16, 1982.

Forty years later, the Community Foundation has grown thanks to the dedication of more than 70 community leaders who have served on the board of directors, and thousands of generous donors who love the Outer Banks. The five pillars of service to the community are scholarships, grants, disaster relief, nonprofit support, and fund stewardship. Individuals, families, and nonprofits have created more than 200 funds, each a perpetual endowment that will give back through local charities for generations to come. To date, more than $10 million in grants and $2 million in scholarships have been awarded, impacting tens of thousands of individuals and families in Dare County and on Outer Banks beaches from Corolla to Ocracoke.

Every attendee at the Backyard Bash will have the opportunity to help choose a new $4,000 grant recipient, commemorating the Community Foundation’s 40th anniversary. “To everyone on the Outer Banks, please join us to celebrate this milestone, participate in the grantmaking process, and blow out the candles,” said Sawin.

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$65,150 in 3rd Quarter Grants Awarded to Eight Nonprofits

Community Foundation Awards $65,150 to Eight Nonprofits for Nutrition, Education, History & Culture, Performing Arts, and Pet Health

A learning moment amid butterfly release excitement. Photo courtesy of Elizabethan Gardens.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation board of directors approved $65,150 in third quarter Community Enrichment grants to eight nonprofits, lending support to programs that educate our children, nurture our elderly, provide animal welfare, support the performing arts, appreciate our environment, history, and culture and train our region’s nonprofit leaders.

Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts received grant support for their 38th season relaunch. “We are grateful to the Community Foundation for their support of this exciting entertainment series,” said Forum President David Connaughton. “Our supporters also make possible the college scholarships and student internships in performance, sound, and stage management we are able to offer. World-class entertainment and focus on the performing arts enrich us all.”

Dare Education Foundation received funding to assist with in-house technology for Language Arts programs in all county schools. Teachers will be able to use grant-funded document cameras to provide high-quality visual components that increase student engagement in class.

Elizabethan Gardens was awarded funding for PlantED, a new child education initiative to increase learning and nurture enthusiasm for nature, botany, gardening, and environmental science. “We greatly appreciate the Community Foundation’s support to enhance educational programming at the Gardens,” said Executive Director Theresa Armendarez. “This funding will add sensory elements to the Discovery Cottage outdoor space that will help us serve a broader audience.”

The Tamassee Group received grant funding for a new documentary film that will promote public awareness of the Outer Banks and its fascinating history. The film’s anticipated completion date is early 2024.

Hatteras Island Meals received a grant to provide nutritious, hot meals to homebound Hatteras Island residents each weekday. “Community Foundation grant support goes a long way toward moving us closer to our goals,” said Hatteras Island Meals Board Chair Mike Tidd. “We delivered compassionate outreach and 10,000 hot meals last year; we expect that we’ll beat that number in 2022. There’s a need, and we’re meeting it head-on. We plan to continue doing just that.”

Coastal Humane Society was awarded grant funding to provide low-cost heartworm tests at vaccination clinics and subsidized treatment when pets test positive for heartworm.  They also will subsidize heartworm prevention medication for one year to owners in need of extra help.

NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island received a grant to support free public events and training for Dare County employees and residents. They plan to present at several community events where organizers are requesting services but can’t afford the associated costs.

A grant award to Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce will offset registration fees for nonprofit personnel to attend “Leadership OBX” in 2023. Interested nonprofit staff should visit the Chamber website for updates and applications.

“Community Enrichment grants offer nonprofits the opportunity to apply for funds from a growing and unrestricted grant-making pool,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Chris Sawin. “We encourage interested nonprofit leaders to contact us at any time to discuss their projects, so we can work together to help address the Outer Banks’ most 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 before applying. The next round of Community Enrichment grant applications is due by 11:59 pm on Friday, October 28.


Pauline Wright Endowment for Currituck Animal Shelter Helps 60 Dogs Rescued In Moyock

This is Lo, a happy hound looking for his fur-ever home. Currituck Animal Shelter staff help reconnect lost pets with their owners, arrange pet adoptions, educate the public on animal care, and provide a clean and healthy environment for pets in shelter.


It was on the cold winter night of January 29, 2022 when news broke out that the Currituck County Animal Shelter had seized and rescued more than 60 dogs in Moyock. It was the largest seizure in the shelter’s history. Many of the animals were malnourished, neglected, and in desperate need of medical attention. The sheer number of animals needing help was overwhelming and heartbreaking.

Through a grant from the Pauline Wright Endowment for the Currituck Animal Shelter and a generous donation from an anonymous donor, the Outer Banks Community Foundation was able to help. The Community Foundation’s funding of the shelter helped pay for emergency vet bills, food, and supplies that the shelter needed.

Pauline Wright loved animals; especially her sheltie, Draco. She loved helping people, too, and was an active participant in her husband’s medical practice in Jarvisburg, where she would go on calls and minister to people who were ill or had lost loved ones. She ran the kitchen for the Wright Emergency Clinic and Maternity Hospital. Her personal mission was to ‘make everyone smile,’ according to those who knew her.

The labs were all adopted or placed with rescue in roughly 30 days!” said Currituck Animal Services & Control Director Gina Maurer. “The donation from the Community Foundation helped with the daily supplies and needed vet care.”

To support Outer Banks Community Foundation please click here to donate today, or send a check to Outer Banks Community Foundation, 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949. 

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: