Will Willis Store & Fish House

The Ocracoke Foundation earned a Community Enrichment Grant of $15,000 to restore the Will Willis Store & Fish House. The grant will fund exhibits in the newly restored building to showcase educational materials, artifacts and archives.

From finding forever homes for senior pets to restoring history, thanks to the generosity of Outer Banks Community Foundation (OBCF) donors, a variety of local non-profits are now prepared to increase their impact on the community.

            When OBCF board members met in early June, they awarded nearly $37,000 in Community Enrichment and Special Focus grants​ that will help hundreds across the Outer Banks.

            The Ocracoke Foundation earned a Community Enrichment Grant of $15,000 to restore the Will Willis Store & Fish House. Built in 1930, the fish house is the "last surviving example of NC maritime heritage," according to Reid Thomas of the State Historic Preservation Office. The grant will fund exhibits in the newly restored building to showcase educational materials, artifacts and archives. 

            The Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts also earned a Community Enrichment Grant of $1,000 to provide Dare County students with a variety of cultural arts programs.

            The Coastal Humane Society earned a $910 Special Focus Grant that will provide 14 Dare County Volunteer Fire Departments with leading-edge equipment to resuscitate dogs and cats trapped in fires. Feline Hope and Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation each earned $1,000 grants to help with shelter repairs and to assist with owl rehabilitation, respectively.

            The Monarch Beach Club of Dare, an organization for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, earned a Special Focus Grant of $3,500 that will help provide the club with light-weight, moveable tables, chairs and storage when it moves to a new location in 2020. The Monarch Lighthouse Club earned a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation that will assist with the cost of transportation services to and from the program site each day for club participants in Currituck County.

            Currituck County Schools earned a $5,000 Special Focus Grant to provide Exceptional Children’s staff with research-based training to uplift children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dare County Schools also earned a $3,283 Special Focus Grant to provide communication systems like iPads and head mounts for students with cognitive disabilities.

            OBX ARF earned a $500 Special Focus Grant to help with their Silver Paws program, a project that pairs humans over the age of 50 with pets over the age of 5 years. The First Flight Society also earned a $500 grant to commission professional re-enactors portraying Orville and Wilbur Wright to visit Dare County Schools, in conjunction with the fourth grade study of NC history.

            Several donor-advised funds also made grants in June, including the Just for Today and Tomorrow Fund, in memory of Dorman N. Doutt and Florence B. Satterwhite. Donor-advised funds are managed on behalf of individuals and families, who recommend the grants that are awarded. This month’s recipients included a host of organizations, like the Elizabethan Gardens, the Salvation Army, the College of the Albemarle, the NC Lions VIP Fishing Tournament and the Blue Star Mothers.

            The foundation is now accepting applications for its next cycle of Community Enrichment Grants. Eligible projects must directly benefit all or a portion of the foundation’s service area, which includes all of Dare County, and all Outer Banks communities, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island. Community Enrichment Grants support all charitable causes, including arts and culture, children/youth, disaster relief and prevention, education, the environment, historic interpretation and preservation, and other human services.

            Prospective applicants are urged to review the grant guidelines online at www.obcf.org/grants, and then call the foundation to discuss their ideas. The application deadline is Friday, July 26.

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