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Outer Banks Community Foundation honors 2020 champions, elects 2021 board

The Outer Banks Community Foundation announced its 2020 Champion Award recipients, elected five board members and celebrated $1.8 million in grants and scholarships in 2020 at the organization’s annual meeting, held virtually on February 16.

The meeting featured an 18-minute video highlighting several grant and scholarship recipients, including Beach Food Pantry, the YMCA, Pea Island Preservation Society and Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men.

Community Foundation membership unanimously elected David Clawson, finance director for Dare County; Michael Lewis, executive director for Outer Banks Hotline; and Jason Waughtel, senior vice president, regional executive for the coastal region for Southern Bank and Trust, to the board of directors. Additional board terms for Lynda Hester, US Coast Guard (retired), and David Shufflebarger, senior partner at Alexander Haas, were unanimously approved by membership.

OBCF awarded its most prestigious honor to two over-arching groups, in recognition and appreciation of two years of unwavering generosity following Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 epidemic. “The entire community” was honored for their generosity through these years of hardship; another group, “anonymous donors” were thanked and recognized for their behind-the-scenes support, which often was significant. Three groups were additionally honored for their tireless efforts and extraordinary contributions in 2020: Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, Interfaith Community Outreach and Ocracoke Firehouse Committee.

Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, one of the Community Foundation’s 2020 Champion Award recipients, is a group of volunteers who consistently provide critical services to their neighbors. The group runs a food pantry, helps when there is financial hardship, elevate and repair homes and more.  They are there for their community immediately after a storm or crisis, but also in the months following. When conferring the award, OBCF executive director Lorelei Costa said, “This is one of the most professionally run organizations…they’re thoughtful, they’re careful, they’re well organized, and they’re amazing.”

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Champion Award recipient Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men. Courtesy Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men

Ocracoke Firehouse Committee is another of the Community Foundation’s 2020 Champion Award recipients. “We didn’t have a partner on the island with the capacity to get the money out to storm victims,” said Costa when presenting the award. “You need a checking account, case managers, help for folks to Identify what they need…we went down to Ocracoke and spoke with the folks from the Fire Department. Our meeting took place a week after Dorian, and the Ocracoke Firehouse Committee, all volunteers, stepped up to help. Many had significant damage to their own homes, or had family members with significant damage, but they stepped up.”

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Champion Award recipient Ocracoke Firehouse Committee. Courtesy Bob Muller

Interfaith Community Outreach (ICO) also is an OBCF 2020 Champion Award recipient. ICO staff and volunteers help people in the community with a variety of financial needs. Residents who are in need go to them for help after hurricanes, fires, losing a job, accidents, illness and more. ICO partnered with OBCF in 2019 by going to Ocracoke and helping with case management. They helped the community again in 2020 during the COVID-19 school closures.

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Champion Award recipient Interfaith Community Outreach. Courtesy Interfaith Community Outreach

“I called Jenniffer earlier last year (during COVID), when the board identified the need to help working families with childcare…we needed a partner that would help families pay for whatever childcare they could find,” said Costa when conferring the award. “Interfaith Community Outreach stepped up.”

“Board members who completed their terms in 2020, Scott Brown and Nancy Sugg of Martins Point and Greg Honeycutt of Ocracoke were genuinely thanked for their years of outstanding service and leadership,” stated an OBCF press release.

OBCF 2021 board president Clark Twiddy offered thanks to membership and requested feedback to improve meetings. He concluded the meeting by addressing all, saying “We look forward to seeing you after our vaccines, in the office, and around the Outer Banks. Take a moment to think about your Community Foundation, and how you can make sure it remains our Community Foundation for decades to come.”

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