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COMMUNITY FUNDS IN FUNDS OUT “This storm was unlike any other in recent memory,” By Sandy Semans Ross

On August 24, Stumpy Point residents offered a prayer of thanksgiving, getting together to share a meal and tell stories about hurricanes that have hit the village over the past several decades.

The occasion recognized the two-year anniversary of the

arrival of Hurricane Irene, which blew in on August 27, 2011 and brought with it the worst flooding ever experienced by Stumpy Point. More than 80 percent of the homes in the mainland village sustained substantial damage with several destroyed.

Stumpy Point, however, was not the only area hard hit on the Outer Banks. On Pea Island, two new inlets sliced through NC 12, leaving Hatteras Island residents with no utilities and no way to leave. Colington Island, Wanchese, Manteo, the soundside of Kitty Hawk, and many other communities also suffered serious damage.

said Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners. “Most hurricanes have hit the oceanfront the hardest, but Irene came up the sound and flooded the soundside areas . . . The storm surge was estimated at six to eleven feet and not only flooded hundreds of year-round residences; it floated many off their foundations. We . . . knew that we had a long hard recovery ahead of us.”

Immediately after the storm, local nonprofits stepped up, both in supporting victims and in managing the generous outpouring of donations. From across the Outer Banks and across the country, people opened their hearts and wallets to help Irene’s victims.

Accepting Contributions

Sharing the huge task of administering funds was the Outer Banks Community Foundation and the Interfaith Community Outreach (ICO). Working together, these two nonprofits maintained a transparent check and balance system.

“Every donated penny goes directly to relief and recovery expenses,” said Lorelei Costa, Executive Director of the Community Foundation.

The donations were accepted and held by the Community

Foundation, which reimbursed ICO as it wrote checks to cover a vast array of needs.

Both the Community Foundation and ICO provided all of

their services free of charge. Following Hurricane Irene, the Community Foundation

received $160,000 in donations for Hurricane Irene victims and then another $11,500 following Hurricane Sandy.

Although the current Disaster Relief Fund is dedicated to helping with hurricane recovery, the Community Foundation has been helping out with various disasters for about 30 years. Two of its earliest disaster-related grants include $1,000 to the Avon Methodist Church in January 1985 after the parsonage lost furnishings during a hurricane, and $2,500 to Dare County Social Services in December 1990 to provide emergency food relief for Hatteras Island after the collapse of the Bonner Bridge.

How the Funds Were Distributed

The current arrangement for disbursal of funds from the dedicated Disaster Relief Fund begins with referrals to ICO for relief help from Dare County Social Services case managers hired to work on Hatteras Island. Long-Term Recovery Team members trained in providing relief response also assess needs and make referrals for residents in other parts of the county that also suffered substantial damage.

with a referral requests

Requests for funds from the Disaster Relief Fund begin to the ICO. North of Oregon Inlet, come from Long-Term

There is a very robust tradition of

Lorelei Costa of the

Outer Banks Community Foundation

Continuing A Tradition of Giving

giving on the Outer Banks, but the people who live here prefer giving to local causes and local organizations. There seems to be a collective need to know that money given locally will be used to help the local community.

There are a number of foundations on the Outer Banks that fill the roles traditionally played by national organizations—and they fill those roles very well.

The largest, and one of the oldest, is the Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF), founded in 1982 by a number of prominent Outer Banks residents, including David Stick and Andy Griffith. Filling many of the functions larger nonprofits play, the foundation has helped to create a thriving group of local foundations.

Photo by K. Wilkins Photography Story by Kip Tabb

Lorelei Costa, the Executive Director of the OBCF, has been in her role with the foundation for a little over a year, moving to the Outer Banks from Alaska. “My husband’s family lives in Portsmouth, and now we’re closer to family again,” she says. “We weren’t expecting to find something in my field (charitable and nonprofit organizations), but this position became available.”


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