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Outer Banks Community Foundation announces new leadership

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced that the Board of Directors has voted unanimously to hire Christopher Sawin as president and chief executive officer. Sawin, who comes to the Outer Banks Community Foundation from Dare County Arts Council, will officially start in his new role effective August 1. “Sawin joins the Community Foundation at a challenging and exciting time in its nearly 40-year local history. He fills a role left vacant by Lorelei Costa, who departed in March 2021 to lead Suffolk (Virginia) Center for the Cultural Arts, after eight years of exemplary service to our community,” stated a press release from the Outer Banks Community Foundation.

Sawin, who grew up in Kill Devil Hills, has served as Dare County Arts Council’s executive director since 2012, leading that agency’s resurgence to financial stability and strategic growth. He has worked in senior executive positions at Chapel Hill-based Mammoth Records, the first indie record label to produce two platinum-certified records; at Batanga, Inc., an independent digital media company serving U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets; and at NC start-up Zenph Sound Innovations before returning to the Outer Banks in 2011. Sawin graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota.

“I have been involved with the Community Foundation as a volunteer, scholarship parent, and grants recipient, and I have a deep appreciation for both its place in our community and for the essential work being done there,” wrote Sawin. “To have been chosen to lead it through its next chapter is an honor that I embrace whole-heartedly.”

“Our national search resulted in 44 applications coming from 12 states, spanning the length and breadth of the US,” said Clark Twiddy, Outer Banks Community Foundation board chair. “Our board and executive search committee engaged in a healthy screening process, aided by Development Associates of Chapel Hill, and we are delighted that a local leader, with excellent qualifications, has ultimately been chosen as our Community Foundation’s first Chief Executive Officer.”

The lead staff role was changed from executive director to chief executive officer to reflect the agency’s growth and ability to respond to increasing and evolving local needs, stated the release: “The CEO will be the driver for resource development to achieve the board’s aspirations; program development, networking and collaboration through extensive community relations; education and public relations are essential responsibilities.”

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