Giving is not one size fits all. Giving is personal. It’s about what matters to you…how you want to make a difference.
For almost 100 years, community foundations across the country have been helping people who care give to local causes that matter.
On Martha’s Vineyard, the Permanent Endowment has been the Island’s community foundation since 1982 when Jack Ware, a retired businessman, recognized the need for an effective means of connecting the generosity of many with the many needs across the Vineyard. That is what community foundations are all about — linking the financial resources of individuals, families, businesses, and organizations with opportunities to better the Island community.
Funds established with the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard (PEFMV) provide an effective way to give to nonprofit organizations through grants and to Island students through scholarships. They also build financial resources to preserve and enhance the quality of life on Martha’s Vineyard now and in the years to come through PEFMV’s endowment.
Beginning with a $60,000 gift from the estate of Ruth J. Bogan, a resident of Oak Bluffs, PEFMV now administers 28 funds that range in size from $5,000 to over $1.0 million. These funds make up an endowment that is currently valued at more than $7.0 million due to the addition of new funds and the judicious investment of assets over time. It is this endowment, as well as PEFMV’s support for all aspects of Island life, that distinguishes it from other charitable organizations.
The endowment portfolio is managed locally by the Martha’s Vineyard Financial Group where funds are pooled for investment purposes. This keeps management fees to a minimum and maximizes the amount of every donated dollar available to meet Island needs. Oversight of the endowment, as well as PEFMV’s operations, is handled by a volunteer board of leading citizens selected for their judgment and integrity. Board members know the Island well and understand the challenges and opportunities facing the community.
Community foundations offer donors effective ways to direct their charitable giving through funds that can accommodate assets ranging from cash to real estate and that qualify for the maximum tax treatment allowed under federal law. At PEFMV, donors can contribute to the Vineyard community through gifts to the General Discretionary Fund, which distributes grants to nonprofits based on a semiannual competitive application process; through Donor Advised Funds, which involve donors in identifying ways to use their resources to address the issues they care about most; through Field of Interest Funds, which focus generosity on an area of community life that matters to them; through Scholarship Funds that provide financial assistance to Island students; and through Donor Designated Funds that support specific organizations that have made a difference in their lives and the lives of others. For example, the Ruth J. Bogan–Ruth Redding Memorial Fund, a Donor Designated Fund, still distributes annual awards to the 15 nonprofit organizations that were identified in 1983 as the beneficiaries of this fund.
PEFMV ensures that these funds are available for each of these organizations every year, in good times and bad, and is responsible for confirming that all award recipients are qualified to receive support. If any grant recipient loses its nonprofit status or ceases to exist, donors have the comfort of knowing that PEFMV has the legal authority to direct funding to another local organization serving the same purpose so that their wishes continue to be honored in perpetuity.
Each fund gives back to the Island according to the criteria of its donors. Half of PEFMV’s funds provide grants to Island nonprofits for undertaking new initiatives as well as sustaining established programs. Since 1982, these funds have distributed almost 1,000 grants totaling more than $1.7 million for projects ranging from seed money for the first maritime vocational training program offered in a Massachusetts high school to fuel assistance for Islanders in need, to support for dental care for low-income seniors and the disabled.
There currently are approximately 130 nonprofits working on the Island in the areas of the arts and culture, civic and community affairs, education, the elderly, the environment, health and human services, housing, recreation and youth. Over the years, PEFMV has supported most of these organizations with the scope of its efforts extending to every town and constituency. By working to match charitable resources with Island needs effectively, PEFMV helps transform charitable giving into meaningful philanthropy.
The other half of the funds administered by PEFMV provide scholarships. Awards from each fund are determined by criteria set by the donors and carried out by the PEFMV Board. Over the years, PEFMV scholarship funds have provided approximately 650 awards totaling more than $1.3 million to Islanders furthering their education.
Many of these funds honor a family member and promote the interests they held dear during their lifetimes. For example, in 2008, PEFMV welcomed the Wendy Weisman Jenkinson Culinary Arts Fund which was created in memory of Island resident Wendy Weisman Jenkinson by the Weisman family. This fund benefits graduates of accredited schools on Martha’s Vineyard who have demonstrated a passion for cooking and are pursuing further education at a culinary school.
Community foundations foster giving now as well as provide the means to make a difference in the community that lasts beyond a lifetime. Simple, informed, and effective philanthropy for the good of the Island…that is why the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard is here for good.
To find out more about PEFMV, please visit www.endowmv.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at 508-338-4665.
Ralinda Lurie is executive director of the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha’s Vineyard.