Gratitude was palpable as the Permanent Endowment Fund awarded $125,000 to 30 local organizations and businesses at the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. This is the 35th year the Permanent Endowment bestowed grant funds to Island institutions, ranging in value from $1,150 to several thousand dollars.
The Permanent Endowment was founded in 1982 with a mission to improve quality of life across the Island. Since its founding, it has awarded upwards of $3.2 million to more than 200 Island nonprofits and initiatives. The endowment has grown to over 45 distinct funds valued at over $11 million. Throughout 2017 alone, more than $279,743 was awarded, which includes the $125,000 in grants awarded on Tuesday.
This year four new “Island funds” were introduced, which aim to support the health of Island residents, care for natural habitats, encourage community growth, and build the artistic community. The new Island funds for health, environment, community, and the arts were distributed to 12 different organizations, including the M.V. Cancer Support Group, Windemere, Biodiversity Works, Felix Neck, Polly Hill Arboretum, ACE MV, Good Shepherd Parish, M.V. Community Services, the M.V. Chamber Music Society, the M.V. Children’s Chorus, the Vineyard Haven Band, and the Yard.
Emily Bramhall, executive director of the Permanent Endowment, started the evening by welcoming representatives from Island organizations, the endowment’s board members, and members of the community. “Lest anyone think it must be easy to give away money, which sometimes people say, I will assure you that it takes a great deal of thought and careful deliberation to do so wisely,” she said.
The James P. Cahen Medical Fund was awarded to the M.V. Center for Living for a dementia community education initiative. In addition, Island Elderly Housing received funding from this grant, and the Alfred E. Ferro and Edward S. Redstone Fund for the Blueberry Van, a free transportation service for seniors, and Windemere was awarded money for a senior exercise program.
The Harriet N. Goldberg Fund awarded funding to four seafaring organizations that meet the fund’s criteria of supporting the education, physical, and spiritual needs of Islanders living upon the sea. The Lagoon Pond Association got money to support its summer internship, the M.V. Shellfish Group received money to expand shellfish production at the Lobster Hatchery in Oak Bluffs, Sail MV got support for its Coast Guard training and licensing program, and the Shenandoah Foundation was awarded money for its sailing school program, which takes local students out on the water every summer.
Next up in the night’s agenda was the Lillian Hellman Recreational Fund, which awarded money to the Island Grown Initiative to expand its middle school farm-to-school garden curriculum and clubs. The Joy Fund was awarded to help meet the administrative needs of the Vineyard Independence Partnership, which supports persons with disabilities across the Island. The Mayhew-Nevin Memorial Fund awarded money to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to help defray patient costs.
Felix Neck was awarded money from two funds, the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Fund and the Island Fund for the Environment, to support gardening and landscaping and kick-start a nature-based preschool.
Money from the Permanent Endowment’s general discretionary funds were also awarded to Dukes County, Hospice of M.V., the M.V. association of EMTs, the M.V. Boy Scouts, the M.V. Museum, Rising Tide, and the M.V. Playhouse.
The event was co-sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, with contributions from Chilmark Chocolates and Our Market.