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Outer Banks Community Foundation announces executive director transition

The Board of Directors of the Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced a leadership transition for OBCF’s staff.

Longtime executive director Lorelei Costa is departing the Outer Banks to become the next executive director and CEO of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts in Virginia. OBCF’s board is launching a search for the next executive director; Bob Muller will act as interim director during the search.

“We are very grateful to Lorelei for her eight years of unwavering and dedicated devotion to the people of the Outer Banks in general, and to our Community Foundation, specifically,” said Clark Twiddy, OBCF president.

During Costa’s tenure, OBCF nearly tripled in size, in both its annual grant-making and in its endowment. Most recently, she led significant relief efforts in the Outer Banks during the COVID pandemic, helping hundreds of families with childcare and educational needs during remote learning, and in 2019 after Hurricane Dorian, raising over $1.5 million in the weeks after the storm, rebuilding hundreds of households across Ocracoke and Hatteras.

“Lorelei has left an indelible legacy,” said Twiddy. “She leaves the Outer Banks Community Foundation poised to create more positive change for people and places on our beloved Outer Banks than at any time in our 39-year history.”

“I can hardly begin to express how blessed I feel to have served the Community Foundation over the past eight years,” said Costa. “Although my new position is an amazing opportunity for my career and my family, I am so grateful for every day that I’ve worked with the Foundation.”

The Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts is the premier visual and performing arts venue for Suffolk. Located in the restored Suffolk High School in the heart of downtown, the classic Greek-revival structure boasts a 530-seat theater, art galleries and classrooms, housing both world-class and community-based art. Costa will be filling the shoes of Susan Babiy Lawrence, who was hired as the Suffolk Center’s first employee in 2001 and is retiring from the center after serving as executive director and CEO since 2018.

Costa’s last day with OBCF will be Friday, March 12. Muller, who is currently serving as OBCF’s disaster relief coordinator, will become interim executive director on March 15. He served on the Board of Directors from 2011 to 2016, acting as treasurer in 2013 and 2014 and as president in 2015.

“We are very grateful to Bob Muller for stepping in as Interim Executive Director while a search is underway,” continued Twiddy. “Bob’s experience with our Community Foundation spans more than a decade and includes involvement at many levels. He was instrumental in our efforts after Hurricane Dorian, and understands a great deal of our Community Foundation’s operations. We are fortunate to have his guidance as we transition to new leadership.”

Developmental Associates of Chapel Hill has been retained to lead the search for OBCF’s next executive director. The search firm will work with OBCF’s internal search committee, comprised of board, staff and organization stakeholders. The search committee will be led by board member David Shufflebarger.

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