Community Foundation Expands Nonprofit Grants Program

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced a significant expansion of its flagship grants program.

Effective immediately, the Community Foundation will now award grants to include nonprofit staff wages as part of its Community Enrichment Grants Program. This is in addition to its traditional focus on funding tangible items, one-time costs, capacity-building endeavors, program scholarships, and capital assets and improvements.

“This is exciting news for Outer Banks nonprofits,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director, “because it will help fill such a huge funding need for our local charitable sector.”

The Community Enrichment Grants Program is the Community Foundation’s largest and broadest funding opportunity. Last year the Community Foundation awarded over $225,000 in Community Enrichment Grants to 35 local nonprofits.

Community Enrichment Grants are offered on a competitive basis for any kind of charitable project that benefits Dare County, Ocracoke, and/or the Currituck beaches. Areas of interest include arts and culture, animal welfare, children and youth, education, the environment, disaster relief and prevention, health and wellness, historic interpretation and preservation, and other human services.

In the past, Community Enrichment Grants have supported local charities by funding tangible items or one-time project costs. In 2017, for example, the Community Foundation sponsored playground equipment for the safehouse at Outer Banks Hotline, new vehicles for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to care for the historic equine herd, new/additional parking spaces for visitors to the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve, and restoration of the 1911 Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station.

“While tremendously impactful, grants for supplies, assets, and delimited services do not always cover a nonprofit’s greatest need,” said Ms. Costa. “Many nonprofits also need professional staff to do critical work — yet funds to pay staff are often the hardest dollars to raise. Now, thanks to our generous donors, the Community Foundation’s grant funding has grown, and we are able to offer grants that include program staff wages, as well as other hard costs.”

The Community Foundation is anticipating high demand for staff funding. Grant applications will be competitively evaluated against several criteria, with priority given to projects that involve or benefit a broad segment of the community, provide an innovative approach to addressing area needs, attract additional funding from other sources, promote an organization’s financial sustainability, and/or promote collaboration and efficiencies amongst multiple entities. New programs are prioritized, as well as established programs that are filling a gap and/or meeting a vital, urgent need.

Most of all, the Community Foundation will assess applications based on community impact.

“We ask all applicants to tell us, in as much detail as possible, how the project will benefit the Outer Banks — who will be served, how many people, and how the project will make a difference,” said Ms. Costa. “The strongest applications will connect the staff support to specific, positive outcomes.”

Nonprofits can apply now to the newly expanded Community Enrichment Grants Program via the online application. The next deadline is Friday, July 27, 2018, and the last deadline of the year is Friday, October 26.

The Community Foundation is offering a special grant-writing clinic for local nonprofits that want to learn more about the program expansion. The informative workshop will be held on Thursday, July 12 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Skyco on Roanoke Island. Nonprofits are asked to register for the workshop in advance by clicking here.

“If your organization has hesitated in the past to apply for a grant, we invite you to read our new criteria on our website, attend our workshop on July 12, and call our staff to discuss your needs. Your projects may now be a perfect fit for our grants program,” said Ms. Costa.

Additional Resources:
Community Enrichment Grants Guidelines
Community Enrichment Grants FAQ


The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a public charity that connects people who care with causes that matter. The Community Foundation manages $17 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.