My Internship at the Outer Banks Community Foundation

When Professors Linda D’Anna and Lindsay Dubbs began their preliminary OBXFS interviews last spring, I was at a loss for words when asked about what internships I was interested in. With their suggestion, I looked at internship blog posts of former OBXFS students. I had no better indication of what career path would be valuable to explore during my time studying at the coast. Needless to say, I was no help in my internship allocation process, and I express my sincerest apologies to Linda D’Anna Ph.D. Despite being the last person to find out my internship placement and the nervousness that came from not knowing, I can honestly say that in my opinion I had the best internship experience ever! 

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a 501(c)3, philanthropic organization that grants money to the nonprofits addressing the Outer Banks’ most pressing issues. The OBCF and most community foundations function as a liaison between the community’s donors and local non-profit organizations. Notable organizations that we work with are Dare County Arts Council, Network for Endangered Sea Turtles, Mane & Tail and many more. The OBCF also administers 59 scholarships to deserving students graduating from Dare County High Schools. 

My primary interests working for the OBCF are community development and donor outreach. I completed three projects during my internship. The first was an annual appeal for our current donors that was delivered in the first week of October. We also outreached to around 500 potential new donors with the same flyer. The annual appeal initiates the “season of giving,” which aligns with the holiday season.  I incorporated images from all of our major interest areas in the

community: youth, special needs, disaster relief, humane societies, scholarships and organizations that target local food insecurity to name a handful. To the right and left are the front and back of the 2021 OBCF Annual Appeal.

Another facet that community foundations fill for the philanthropic system is holding and investing donor funds. The purpose of investing endowments is to create “forever funds”. Our investment portfolio has mainly low to moderate risk investments, and a regular accruing interest which combine to ensure that the funds will continue to positively impact the Outer Banks for generations to come. The second project that I completed was a detailed list of all the OBCF fund purpose statements. I did extensive research on our donors and our history of grants written to educate potential patron’s on which fund is best to make donations to support the causes they believe in most.

For background there are several types of funds that we maintain for donors. One type I researched for this project are funds designated to specific organizations, for example the Frank Stick Memorial Fund that supports the Outer Banks History Center and the Don & Catherine Bryan Cultural Series Endowment Fund. The other funds serve a general field of interest, like the Environment Fund and the Helping People Help Animals Fund. These purpose statements will be published on our website www// under our “list of funds” tab. 

The last and final project that I completed for the community foundation was a complete database of nonprofit organizations’ contact information from Corolla to Ocracoke. We work primarily in Dare and Currituck counties. Our goal for this project is to find organizations that do not have a rapport with the OBCF and introduce ourselves. Because we do not give directly to individuals in need, our impacts in the community are only as good as the grant applications we receive. To ensure the most impactful potential projects we want to increase our visibility and availability to the NPOs of the Outer Banks. 

A highlight from my time at the community foundation was getting to volunteer at Dare Art Council’s annual Artrageous Kids Art Festival with one of my mentors, MaryAnn Toboz and my friend from the cohort, Anna. I also appreciated the opportunity to attend our Annual OBCF offsite meeting with the entire OBCF board. I observed as they discussed prospects for the community foundation with our CEO President Chris Swain. 

My time as an intern at the Outer Banks Community Foundation is essential to my professional development and growth as a young adult with varied interests. Before this semester, working in nonprofits and philanthropy was not on my radar for potential career paths. I would like to thank Linda D’Anna for her visionary internship placement. 

My passions flourished in an environment that accepted and improved my skill sets and developed my understanding of social change. I would like to attribute my newfound knowledge about community outreach, development and engagement to the Outer Banks Community Foundation. This wonderful experience wouldn’t be possible without my incredible mentors, MaryAnn Toboz and Nandy Stuart. Our CEO President Chris Swain was a month into his new executive role when I came to intern for the office, and I acknowledge the revolutionary and amazing work he’s accomplishing at the community foundation already. My coworkers Scout Schilling and Jeff Dippold are the administrative and financial glue that keep the whole organization making amazing social change in the community. Special thanks to a renowned man of public service, former Mayor of Nags Head and Interim Director at the OBCF, Bob Muller for his wonderful insights into the world of nonprofits and participation in my projects. I will definitely miss our weekly staff meetings on Mondays, specifically our essential moments of inspiration!