|When Billy and Marsha Brown signed up for the Veterans Writing Project, they had no idea how deeply it would touch their family.It was the summer of 2013 when William S. “Billy” Brown, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, decided to attend the Veterans Writing Project, a two-day workshop organized by the Dare County Arts Council, and sponsored by the Outer Banks Community Foundation. Marsha, Billy’s wife of 45 years, volunteered to help serve lunch.From the very beginning of the workshop, Marsha noticed a feeling of profound respect and solidarity between the soldiers. The two instructors — one a poet and professor, the other a war veteran and published writer — invited the participants to write down their stories, encouraging them to create an outlet for their recollections and emotions. Marsha observed, “Veterans who faced combat remember all too similar circumstances, regardless of which war they served in. These mighty warriors who had been through so much began to share their intimate, heartfelt memories of war.”Marsha continued: “Very rarely had Billy spoken about Vietnam. I knew without prodding that those memories conjured up a heavy heart. What I saw unfold in that room convinced me how meaningful that day had been for my husband, and others, too.”“When my Billy was moved to drop his head into his clasped hands and weep, I knew this was a positive source of help toward his healing. The Veterans Writing Project was the beginning of his peace.”A grant from the Community Foundation in 2013 helped get this program off the ground, and thanks to our donors (generous people like YOU!), a second grant to the Arts Council in 2015 continued support and expanded the offerings to other special populations, including domestic violence survivors, adults with memory loss, and people with disabilities.YOU make all of this possible! Truly, your donations are changing lives!In addition to the healing offered by the Veterans Writing Project, what else is your generosity doing for our community?· A grant to the Bryan Cultural Series provided free tickets for Dare County students to attend the Gilbert and Sullivan Production of “HMS Pinafore”!· A strategic planning grant to Interfaith Community Outreach will help that vital organization plan for its future. Interfaith has helped over 19,000 people across Dare and Currituck County in times of crisis and after natural disasters.· The Elizabethan Gardens restored their beautiful Great Gates, a historic feature that was a gift from the French Embassy, with a $10,000 grant last year.· Thanks to a grant last year, GO FAR can provide supplies for 300 students and volunteer coaches for this local running program that helps build self-esteem and inspire health and wellness at all ages.· The 1911 building at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station on Hatteras Island will have a new roof thanks to a $25,000 grant that will preserve the rich history of these valiant men.· A grant to the Community Care Clinic is helping them upgrade their medical record-keeping and provide free health care for people in need across Dare County.· Thanks to you, we’ve awarded scholarships to help 68 students attend college this year, from musicians to math majors to tourism and hospitality students.· We’re helping 22 local nonprofits across Dare County and Ocracoke build permanent endowments to ensure perpetual, sustainable sources of support for these vital organizations: Ocracoke Fire Protection Association, Hatteras Village Civic Association, Outer Banks SPCA, Dare County Boat Builders Foundation, Beach Food Pantry, Outer Banks Relief Foundation, Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, and many more — too many to list!Inspired by these stories? You can help us do more! We are in the midst of our annual membership drive and invite your gift in support of our Community Fund. The Community Fund is our largest and broadest grant-making endowment, and it supports dozens of nonprofits like these each year.Or you can select another favorite fund to support… whether it’s a beloved scholarship, our Disaster Relief Fund, the endowment of your favorite nonprofit, or any other cause. Are you yearning to do something to help others? Or are you feeling particularly blessed as we approach the holiday season? Pay it forward, and click here to donate securely online.We have all wondered at times whether we can really make a difference in the world. Well, you CAN make a difference by starting here and now to change the lives of your neighbors. Go to www.obcf.org/donate to make a secure, online, tax-deductible, donation or mail a check to Outer Banks Community Foundation at 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949. And thank you for your support!
Photographs, Top to Bottom: William S. “Billy” Brown, Jr.; appreciative students share their thanks with the Community Foundation for the opportunity to see “HMS Pinafore”; the Elizabethan Gardens “Great Gates” Grand Opening; and Tami Montiel, RN, assists a patient at the Community Care Clinic of Dare.