Honoring Daughter’s Memory, Couple Establishes Fund to Help Families Battling Addiction

Christina Jones with her children Zach and Nevaeh in 2012. (Courtesy of Rick and Mary Ann Jones)

Driven by the tragic loss of their daughter to addiction, an Outer Banks couple has established a beacon of hope for families facing the same darkness. The Christina Nicole Jones Memorial Fund for Substance Abuse Education, Counseling, Prevention, and Treatment will provide funding for agencies addressing the needs of families facing addiction.

Rick and Mary Ann Jones lost their daughter Christie to prescription painkillers at the age of 34, the same day she was released from the hospital with the pills. In their grief, they established a fund to provide

“hope and loving care” for Outer Banks families. Christie adopted as a baby, was a gifted, creative, and sociable individual who sailed through school and embraced motherhood early on, yet she faced emotional fragility and struggled throughout adulthood. Despite attempts in various programs, Christie couldn’t regain control of her life and ultimately lost her battle with addiction, succumbing to prescribed opioids and Xanax obtained through a cycle of hospital visits.

Rick and Mary Ann became Outer Bankers as many do; a summer vacation started them down the path to full-time residency and year-round affinity for “life on a sandbar.”

“We’ve loved the Outer Banks since we first visited in the early 1980s when our children were growing up,” says Rick. “We decided to retire here in 2010 to experience the beauty of the Outer Banks for the rest of our lives.”

After moving to the area full-time, the Jones family became involved in several local causes. After attending a Saving Lives Task Force meeting, they decided to create a fund at the Community Foundation. That’s when they realized how serious the substance abuse problem is on the Outer Banks.

“Knowing the difficulties addiction creates for both the victim and their families, we wanted to do something to provide assistance and create a lasting legacy to honor our daughter,” says Mary Ann.  “We were aware of the ongoing good works the Outer Banks Community Foundation enables through donor-established funds, so we decided to help by creating a new fund there.”

The Christina Nicole Jones Memorial Fund for Substance Abuse Education, Counseling, Prevention, and Treatment is an endowed field-of-interest fund that will support grants for agencies addressing substance abuse for generations.  The first grant award from the fund contributed to Sound Minds, a new mental health collaborative program of Interfaith Community Outreach, the Outer Banks Relief Foundation, and Dare County Health and Human Services.

If you are interested in setting up an endowment fund, visit https://obcf.org/giving/create-a-fund/ or call the Community Foundation at 252-423-3003. Funds can be created to memorialize loved ones, support a favorite issue or charity, provide scholarships, and more.  Anyone can learn about or donate to any existing fund online at www.obcf.org/donate.