The Outer Banks Community Foundation awards quarterly Community Enrichment Grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations to help meet local needs and enrich the quality of life for the people of the Outer Banks.

What Do We Fund?

Community Enrichment Grants are awarded to projects that directly benefit all or a portion of our service area. Our service area includes all of Dare County, and all Outer Banks communities, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island. We currently do not award Community Enrichment Grants for projects targeting mainland Hyde or mainland Currituck.*

*With the exception of the Pauline Wright Endowment for Educational and Developmental Needs in Currituck Fund.

Eligible programs include:

  • Arts and/or culture
  • Animal welfare
  • Children and/or youth
  • Disaster relief and/or mitigation
  • Education
  • The environment
  • Health
  • Historic preservation and/or interpretation
  • Other human services

Community Enrichment Grants are usually awarded to support the direct costs of a charitable project or program (e.g., art supplies, medical equipment, educational materials, vehicles, program staff). These grants are paid on a reimbursement basis for actual costs incurred.

We also periodically award program scholarship grants, which are grants to a nonprofit to enable that organization to offer need-based program scholarships (i.e., program fee subsidies) to individuals or families with financial or other hardship. The scholarships/subsidies should offset or reduce the participation fees that the nonprofit would normally charge for an enrichment program such as a day camp, educational offering, and/or after-school program. (See our FAQ for more information.)

We also will award Community Enrichment Grants to build the capacity of a charitable organization serving the Outer Banks, with a goal of enhancing that nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality—in short, its ability to meet its mission and sustain its programs. Examples might include computer systems, strategic planning, and/or purchase of facility space.

Priority will be given to projects and organizations that:

  • Involve or benefit a broad segment of our community.
  • Provide an innovative approach to addressing area needs.
  • Either initiate new projects or programs to influence beneficial change, or fill gaps, or address urgent community needs.
  • Attract additional funding from other sources (i.e., matching funds).
  • Promote an organization’s financial sustainability.
  • Promote collaboration and efficiencies amongst multiple organizations.
  • Promotes ideas of inclusion, diversity, equity, or accessibility.

Community Enrichment Grants are generally not awarded for:

  • Regular operating expenses (see our FAQ for further definition).
  • Wages for management and/or fundraising for the general organization. (Program staff wages, however, are eligible for inclusion.)
  • Employee benefits or overhead.
  • Programs or projects that are typically supported by government or other charities, unless it is demonstrated that funding is not available from other sources.
  • Direct or grassroots lobbying.
  • Organizations that have a current, outstanding grant with the Community Foundation, unless special circumstances apply.

If you are seeking funds for a charitable project or organization that does not seem to fit the above criteria, you are welcome to contact the Community Foundation staff. We may be able to recommend other potential funding sources, including one of the Community Foundation’s donor-advised funds.

Grants are typically awarded for a 12-month period, unless an extension is granted, or other special circumstances apply.

Who Can Apply?

Any 501(c)3 organization is eligible to apply for a Community Enrichment Grant, as are other tax-exempt organizations for charitable projects that meet a public need, in accordance with IRS guidelines.

Schools and Government Agencies: Please contact our staff before starting an application. Occasionally, schools and government agencies may be considered for Community Enrichment Grants, if it is demonstrated that financial support is not available from other sources. For Dare County schools, please inquire first with the Dare Education Foundation before contacting us.

Individuals: Community Enrichment Grants are never awarded to individuals.

Faith-Based and Religious Entities: The Outer Banks Community Foundation will consider Community Enrichment Grants to faith-based and religious entities, including churches, for projects that address the needs of the wider community. We will not award Community Enrichment Grants for projects that primarily seek to promote religious beliefs or attempt to recruit new members to a particular religion. We will generally not award grants to churches for projects or assets that would primarily benefit the members of a single congregation or religion. Please contact our staff before starting an application.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, or disability.

How to Apply

Before starting your application, please first review these guidelines and our FAQ page online. After you’ve read all of our online information, contact the Community Foundation staff to discuss your potential project and your funding needs. We ask that you contact us after reading our online materials, but before starting your application. It’s best to start that process at least one week in advance of the application deadline.

Please be sure that all of your organization’s past grants are fully paid and closed, and that your organization has submitted all required final reports.

Once you’ve closed all past grants, submitted all required final reports, and contacted staff to discuss your project, you may click here to apply online.

If You Receive a Grant

Community Enrichment Grants are paid on a reimbursement basis to organizations for their approved expenses. Grant expenses usually must be substantiated by third-party documentation (e.g., receipts, statements, invoices). These documents should be generated from your vendor, not from your organization, with some exceptions, including grants for program scholarships, grants to provide direct financial assistance to individuals, and grants for staff time (talk to our staff, please, for further instructions). Click here to download our Procedures for Grant Reimbursement.

All monies should be used within one year from the grant award date. If you believe that any portion of your grant money will be left unspent at the end of 12 months, please contact the Community Foundation to request a grant extension. Otherwise, unspent funds will be returned to the endowment.

We require that all Community Enrichment Grant recipients:

  • Publicize the Community Foundation grant as specified in your grant application and award letter.
  • Complete a brief final report after the grant is complete. Unless special circumstances apply, your completion of this form will be required before your organization can be considered for another Community Enrichment Grant.

Your Feedback is Welcome

The Community Foundation invites your feedback on our grants program. We welcome comments from any nonprofit in any stage of the grants process; whether you have received a grant, just applied for a grant, been declined, or are even just considering applying, we want to hear from you. To submit your feedback anonymously, please use our online questionnaire. Your comments, concerns, praise, and criticism will help us become a better grant-maker for our community. This survey will be open indefinitely, and you can respond multiple times, now and/or in the future. If you would rather give us feedback directly, please call our staff any time at 252-261-8839.

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