One of the best parts of living on the Outer Banks is how supportive the local community is. That support is apparent in fundraisers that are a regular part of life when one of our neighbors needs help. The tremendous support for our schools is also evidence of a community that cares.
But if there is one characteristic above all others that demonstrates the commitment to supporting community, it is in the Outer Banks nonprofits.
There are a number of reasons why there are so many viable locally funded and well-run nonprofits on the Outer Banks. Some of that can be attributed to the feeling that we’re in this together—that sense of community.
But equally important, when Outer Banks residents give to a cause, they want to know the money they are donating is going back to their friends, neighbors, and community.
Here’s a quick glance at three of the more well-established Outer Banks nonprofit organizations in the area. With the exception of the Outer Banks Community Foundation, nonprofits always need volunteer help, so we’ve included a list of some additional nonprofit at the end. The Community Foundation, because of how it fulfills its mission, does not typically need volunteers.
Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF)
Any discussion of charitable organizations on the Outer Banks has to start with the Outer Banks Community Foundation. One of the oldest nonprofits on the Outer Banks it was founded in 1982 by Andy Griffith—yes, that Andy Griffith—and author David Stick, whose book, “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” is still considered the definitive book on North Carolina shipwrecks. Other notable Outer Banks leaders who helped to create the organization include Edward Green, who for a long time owned the Christmas Shop in Manteo, and banker Ray White.
The United Way has very little presence on the Outer Banks, and the OBCF fills the role a large national foundation like the United Way would typically play. In the case of the Foundation, however, it is done with an Outer Banks twist.
Since its founding, the OBCF has been involved with scholarship funding, and going into 2019 it will be administering 51 funds. Over this past year, the Foundation handed out approximately $230,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and COA students.
The Foundation got its start, though, as an organization to provide seed money to help nonprofits get off the ground and to support their activities with grants. Quite a number of local nonprofits began life with seed money from the OBCF, including Outer Banks Sporting Events, the sponsor of the Outer Banks Marathon.
The Foundation administers a number of endowments, many of them designated to specifically support Outer Banks nonprofits.
Dare County Arts Council (DCAC)
One of the first community-based Outer Banks nonprofits, the DCAC is now going into their 43rd year.
Begun as a cooperative venture among a group of local artists, the organization has grown to include a number of events throughout the year, including the New World Festival of the Arts, Artrageous, the Molly Fearing Art Show and the Frank Stick Art Show.
The old Dare County Courthouse has become the DCAC Gallery, featuring a remarkable array of artwork from members. The Gallery has also become an important part of the cultural life of downtown Manteo. The downstairs is the Gallery; upstairs in what was once a courtroom, specialty films, an occasional play, music, and lectures are featured.
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
No one can say with absolute certainty where or how the Corolla Wild Horse became a part of the Currituck Banks, but genetic testing has proven conclusively that the herd is one of the last true remnants of the Spanish Mustangs of the Conquistadores.
There are probably between 110 and 120 of these beautiful animals roaming among the sand dunes, seagrass, and ponds of the 4WD area of Corolla.
Although the CWHF was incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit in 2001, many of the people who were involved in creating the organization had been working to protect the herd for 10-15 years prior to its founding.
Volunteer Opportunities Abound
New to the Outer Banks and want to meet people? One of the best ways to do that is to find a local nonprofit that whose mission matches your interests and volunteer. Here’s a partial list with their mission statements.
Children and Youth Partnership of Dare County (CYP)
To connect all children, adolescents, and families with programs and partnerships to ensure they have what they need to thrive.
Dare Literacy Council
The mission of the Dare Literacy Council is to provide literacy resources and services for all people of Dare County enabling them to improve their lives and the lives of their families and function optimally in society.
Food for Thought
This unique all-volunteer community non-profit organization, established in December 2006, is dedicated to reducing hunger and academic risk facing elementary children in Dare County by providing healthy meals to build strong minds.
Interfaith Community Outreach
Interfaith Community Outreach provides assistance to individuals facing a temporary emergency crisis.
N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles)
N.E.S.T. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of sea turtles and other protected marine wildlife on the Outer Banks of North Carolina from the Virginia line to south Nags Head.
Outer Banks Food Pantry
Provides free groceries to individuals and families in our community who have been affected by a temporary crisis or emergency.
Outer Banks Relief Organization
The mission of the Outer Banks Relief Foundation is to assist citizens in the community who are burdened with financial difficulties due to a debilitating disease or illness, or a personal tragedy or crisis to themselves and/or their families.
Outer Banks Sporting Events
The mission of OBSE is to organize and promote sports competition and healthy living resources, provide financial resources for needed relief and support for public education while contributing to economic impact for the Outer Banks of North Carolina.