Community Foundation Expands Grants Criteria, Announces Last Deadline of 2017

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced two expansions of its grants criteria. Effective immediately, the Community Foundation is now funding “Program Scholarship Grants,” and additionally is now giving equal priority to both new programs, and to established programs that are filling a gap and/or meeting a vital, urgent need.

“This is great news for Outer Banks nonprofits,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “If your organization has hesitated in the past to apply for a grant, we invite you to read our new criteria on our website, and call our staff to discuss your needs. Your projects may now be a perfect fit for our grants program!”

Program Scholarship Grants are the latest category of grants that the Community Foundation will be offering on a quarterly, competitive basis. These are grants to enable a nonprofit to offer “scholarships” for enrichment programs to individuals and families with financial need or other hardship. The scholarships should offset or reduce the registration fees that the nonprofit would normally charge for programs such as summer camp, educational offerings, or after-school programs.

“The goal of Program Scholarship Grants,” explained Ms. Costa, “is to enable local nonprofits to provide life-enriching opportunities to members of the community who would otherwise not be able to participate. These grants are offered in addition to our regular Project Grants and Capacity-Building Grants.”

But perhaps the most significant expansion of the Community Foundation’s grants criteria is its new, expanded focus on established charitable programs. Specifically, the Community Foundation will now support existing programs that are filling gaps in the community and/or meeting a critical community need.

“In our 35 years of grant-making, the Community Foundation has traditionally emphasized ‘seed grants,’ and the funding of new programs and organizations,” explained Ms. Costa. “This was at least partly because the local nonprofit sector was in its infancy, and the Community Foundation needed to make best use of its limited grant funds by helping to initiate new projects that the community could sustain through other sources of funding.”

The Community Foundation has a long history of launching new programs that endure to this day, including Food for Thought, Earth Fair, Mano al Hermano’s Family Literacy Program, 211, the Children and Youth Partnership, the Ocracoke Village Thrift Shop, Hatteras Radio, the Veteran’s Writing Program at the Arts Council, the Water’s Edge Village Charter School in Corolla, and much more.

“Today there are over 200 nonprofits serving the Outer Banks,” remarked Ms. Costa, “and nowadays it’s not always the case that a new program is needed to meet a community need. There are many established programs that are already serving vital needs — programs that simply require additional support. And so the Community Foundation is expanding to meet the changing demands of our community.”

“With our broader criteria, the Community Foundation will continue to play an essential role as the ‘venture capitalist’ of our local nonprofit sector, investing in new initiatives and innovative ideas, while also helping established, vital programs with their direct funding needs,” Ms. Costa said.

The Community Foundation’s final grant application deadline of the year is Friday, October 27. Any nonprofit serving the Outer Banks (Dare County, Ocracoke, and/or the Currituck beaches) is eligible to apply, including groups that work in arts and culture, animal welfare, children/youth, disaster relief and prevention, education, the environment, health, historic interpretation and preservation, and other human services.

“This cycle we have dedicated funds remaining for arts programs, health and wellness projects, environmental projects, and programs in Ocracoke and/or Hatteras,” said Ms. Costa. “If you are interested in applying for a grant, please review all of our information online first, and then call me at 261-8839 to discuss your ideas.”

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a public charity that connects people who care with causes that matter. The Community Foundation manages $15 million in 175 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, awards grants to local nonprofits, administers 50 scholarship programs, and provides tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. Since its inception in 1982, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $8 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students.