Vineyard House Water Tasting benefit exceeded expectations

Vineyard House held its annual fundraiser on Thursday, August 8, under the big top in Edgartown. — Photo courtesy of Vineyard House

Vineyard House managing director Dawn Bellante Holand called the16th annual Water Tasting by the Sea, on August 8, as “one of the most successful” fundraisers ever by the Island nonprofit, which offers housing to Islanders in early recovery from substance abuse. The event was held on Oyster Pond, at the waterfront estate of seasonal resident Richard Friedman.

Though it rained heavily that morning and the next day, the skies cleared for the event, leading board president Mark Jenkins to remark that “it helps an organization to have friends in high places.”

Nearly 300 people attended, including Mr. Friedman, reflecting the support the organization has enjoyed from both Island and seasonal communities. Vineyard House operates three houses – two for men, one for women. Residents are required to pay rent, help with house chores, attend support group meetings, and submit to drug and alcohol testing. Rents do not cover the organization’s costs, and funds raised at the Water Tasting go toward the organization’s operational costs.

This year the silent auction was especially successful, with a wide range of items such as vacation packages in the Cayman Islands and the French Alps, and four hours of Tabor Tree Service’s work. The auction raised nearly $30,000. Tea Lane Caterers served food, Rick Bausman and his band made the music, and Tom Seeman of Island Water Source donated the gourmet waters.

“We beat the weather forecast and we beat our financial forecast,” Mr. Jenkins said. “We have a lot to be grateful for.”