Outer Banks Community Foundation celebrates champion Bobby Owens, 2023 achievements at annual meeting

Published 2:22 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

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The Outer Banks Community Foundation hosted civic leaders, nonprofit professionals, and donors at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head for its annual meeting on March 12, 2024.

The annual meeting began with a heartfelt tribute to the Outer Banks Community Foundation’s co-founder Ray White, who died in February. Community Foundation director Noel Preston acknowledged White’s leadership and tireless efforts as foundational elements of the organization’s success.

Each year, the Outer Banks Community Foundation’s Champion Award recognizes an individual, family, group, organization or business that has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Outer Banks through financial, volunteer or in-kind support. At the meeting, Community Foundation director Betty Selby recognized the late Robert V. “Bobby” Owens Jr. as the recipient of the annual Champion Award for his lifelong dedication and outstanding service to the Outer Banks community.

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“Bobby Owens personified what it means to be a champion to the Outer Banks community. He was a friend and mentor to everyone, no matter their race or socioeconomic status. If you had an idea or a problem in our community, Bobby was always willing to listen and offer sound advice,” said Selby. “He was a pillar in our community, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

At the meeting, the Community Foundation elected Chip Walton of Kitty Hawk to the Board of Directors and recognized outgoing director Lynda Hester for her service to the organization.

Additionally, those in attendance heard a presentation from the organizers of the Sound Minds program about their recent grant award for mental health services, as well as a scholarship presentation from UNC Chapel Hill freshman Maggie McNinch. “Scholarships have made a huge impact in my first year,” said McNinch. “I’m especially grateful that the Community Foundation deferred my scholarships last year so that I could accept my Global Gap Year Fellowship.”

Jean-Louise Dixon, Community Foundation board chair, took the opportunity to announce several new grants, which exemplify the foundation’s dedication to supporting initiatives that enhance the well-being of the community:

– Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas for their Outer Banks Childhood Cancer Safety Net program, ensuring financial support for lifesaving cancer treatment to Outer Banks children and youth.

– Dare Wildlife Rehab for Wildlife Critical Care Equipment for Rehabilitation, to maximize animal patient release numbers and contribute to the well-being of local wildlife.

– Hyde County Education Foundation for their “Building Homes, Building Community, Building Futures” project, focusing on Teacher Housing on Ocracoke to expand and convert a building into affordable apartments for teachers and community service-oriented residents.

– Manteo Elementary School for their initiative, “Let’s Make Some Noise,” aimed at upgrading the sound system and technical equipment used by the music department at Manteo Elementary School.

– Saving Lives Task Force for their Mobile Harm Reduction Services, enabling them to bring life-saving harm reduction services, such as Narcan, fentanyl testing kits and peer support specialist services, to all Dare County residents, with a particular focus on underserved areas.

– Secotan Alliance for the upcoming multidisciplinary event titled “In the Spirit of Chief Wingina … and Beyond.” The event, featuring a lecture and panel discussion workshop, will explore the life and death of Chief Wingina and how his indigenous ethic of protecting Mother Earth can be effectively applied today by all Outer Bankers.

“These grants highlight the Outer Banks Community Foundation’s commitment to fostering positive change and supporting initiatives that make a lasting impact on the community,” said Dixon in her closing remarks at the meeting.

Those interested in creating a charitable fund may visit obcf.org/giving/create-a-fund/ or call the Community Foundation at 252-423-3003. Funds can be created to memorialize loved ones, support a favorite issue or charity, provide scholarships and more. Anyone can learn about or donate to any existing fund online at obcf.org/donate.

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization that manages 220 charitable funds for individuals and agencies, including 70 scholarship funds; awards grants to nonprofits and scholarships for higher education, and provides tailored services to help donors pursue their charitable interests. Since its inception in 1982, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $13 million in grants and scholarships.