Irene Contributions Continue to Bring Relief
Recovery Team members who have been trained in providing relief response and assessing needs. On Hatteras Island, referrals come through Dare County Social Services case managers.
“The case managers and Long-Term Recovery team members determine the immediate needs of individuals, and after first checking to see if there is help available from other agencies, they come to ICO for the funds. Before we write checks, we double-check the amount, purpose, and reasonableness of the request,” said Jenniffer Albanese, Executive Director of ICO. “As time has passed, the needs have changed from relief to recovery, and we have all worked together transitioning from one phase to the next.”
Because of the urgency of some needs, ICO writes checks from its
own account and then files for reimbursement from the Community Foundation.
The first couple of months after Hurricane Irene, disbursement of
funds went primarily for doctor bills, medicine, groceries, vehicle gas, and deposits for rental housing.
By Thanksgiving 2011, the relief effort began shifting into recovery
mode as volunteer work crews filtered into the area. Hurricane victims used what little discretionary funds they had to purchase materials needed for the repairs while they waited for settlements from insurance companies.
Relief efforts became a race to recovery. The funds helped purchase pilings to raise homes, necessary furniture such as bedding and appliances, and other items needed to get residents back in their homes.
The End of the Journey Now after almost two years, recovery is complete for many,
although there are some still struggling. In some instances where volunteer labor is depended upon, projects are slowly being completed in increments as volunteer teams rotate in and out of the county.
The lessons learned have helped the county develop a plan for
future storms. “We used our experiences to develop a revised Long-Term
Recovery Plan in which Social Services would take the lead in long- term recovery,” said Jay Burrus, director of Dare County Social Services. “We will seamlessly move from short term recovery to longer-term efforts, working closely with traditional helping organizations, faith-based long-term recovery groups, and local helping organizations. This includes the Community Foundation, whom we anticipate will again serve as a fiduciary agent.”
And in August, Stumpy Point residents, who have seen their
recovery happen with help from the Disaster Relief Fund, voiced their “Amen” to that.
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According to Costa the business model for the OBCF is typical
of this type of organization. “Ours is really a classic model of community foundation that’s used across the country,” she says.
But what makes the OBCF standout were the first steps taken
to create the organization. “From the beginning the Community Foundation had the benefit of the leadership of experienced business people,” she says. “They had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve and how they wanted to achieve it.”
From that vision came a foundation that underwrites many of
the activities of the Outer Banks nonprofit community. The initial vision of the founders has expanded. In addition to
the more than $350,000 in grants last year, the foundation awarded $115,000 in scholarships to Dare County Students in 2013.
It is almost impossible to overstate the impact of the foundation in Outer Banks life. It is through its funding that Food for Thought, providing weekend meals for so many Dare County school children, got its start. In 2012 the OBCF awarded a $15,300 grant to the Water’s Edge Charter School in Corolla. It was the Community Foundation that provided the seed money for the Dare County Arts Council’s Community Music School, serving at risk kids.
The founders wanted to create a way to enrich life on the Outer
Banks, to provide a means to make this a better place to live—and they seem to have succeeded. “The Community Foundation is about facilitating philanthropy,” Costa says. “It’s about giving back to the community.”
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