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Southern Shores philanthropist establishes disaster relief fund with Outer Banks Community Foundation

Helen Wiegel, a Southern Shores retiree and philanthropist, has created a new fund with the Outer Banks Community Foundation to help local residents in the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters. The Wiegel Disaster Relief Fund is an endowed field-of-interest fund that will provide the community with additional support in times of crisis.

Wiegel approached OBCF in late November about establishing the fund, wishing to create a lasting benefit to a community where she and her late husband Joe had found so much happiness together.

“I haven’t been through hurricanes here, but I can just imagine . . .” she said. “I want to let people know there’s help out here after a disaster. I’m hoping this new fund will be a source of support for people who need help, and I hope they will not be afraid to ask for it. Especially after a disaster . . . it boggles my mind to think you have nothing.”

“The endowed Wiegel Disaster Relief Fund will indeed be a source of support for families for generations to come,” stated an OBCF press release. “As with any endowment, the fund’s principal is invested, and only a portion is used for grant-making. That way, Helen’s initial gift — and all future earnings and gifts to the fund— are a perpetual source of community capital, helping do good work today and in the future.”

“In 2019 we saw a tremendous need for help and support after Hurricane Dorian,” said OBCF executive director Lorelei Costa. “We are extremely grateful to Helen for creating an important source for support. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ we will need to provide disaster relief again.”

OBCF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization that connects people who care with causes that matter. Based in a historic flat top cottage in Southern Shores, OBCF manages $22 million across 200 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, awards grants to local nonprofits, administers 55 scholarship programs and provides tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. Since its inception in 1982, OBCF has awarded more than $11 million in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students. Visit obcf.org for more information.

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