Unique Vineyard license plate may be on the way
If local motorists latch on to a new initiative, Islanders may soon notice a unique license plate secured to the backs of SUV's and pickup trucks navigating the Island.
The Martha's Vineyard Donors Collaborative (MVDC), a support group for local non-profit organizations, has designed a Martha's Vineyard license plate as a fundraising program. The plate, which features a silhouette of the Island draped in a colorful sunset, will cost $40 more than what a new plate or a switch of plates normally costs. One hundred percent of the $40 will go toward Island non-profits.
"Just like it's hard for people to live here year round, the nonprofits feel many of those same pressures," said Mr. Temple, executive director of the MVDC. "Many of them don't meet their financial goals."
The MVDC estimates the plate will raise $120,000 annually, depending on how many people sign up, with all of the proceeds going into the Vineyard Fund, a newly created grant-making program that financially assists local non-profit organizations.
The similar "Cape and Islands Plate" that can be seen all over Massachusetts filters some money to Martha's Vineyard, but Mr. Temple explained that most of it goes towards tourism costs. This plate will have direct effects on local charities, he said.
A contest was launched earlier this year among Island students to create the design for the new plate, and since June the community has been voting on which creation, out of three finalists, they liked best. It was recently announced that the design by Seth Seeman, an incoming senior at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, was chosen. The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) still has a final say on the design of the Vineyard plate, Mr. Temple said.
3,000 applications must be submitted in order to put the Vineyard license plate into production. Applications can be found online at www.mvdonors.org.
In addition to the web site, the MVDC is stepping up their efforts to spread word of the plate, with a booth at the Agricultural Fair this weekend. The booth will be set up every day of the fair, which starts today and runs through Sunday, with information and applications.
Mr. Temple said a test booth set up in front of up-Island Cronigs last weekend ran out of applications, and residents have already been ordering plates online.
Mr. Temple, who just took over as executive director of the MVDC this week, said the project has been in the works for the past year, but the RMV recently approved the group's proposal for the fundraiser.
Similar to the layout of the Cape and Islands license plate, each Vineyard plate will begin with the letters "MV" followed by three or four numbers - ranging from 126 to 3,000 - chosen by the applicant. Once the plates go into production, numbers 1 through 25 will be auctioned off to the highest bidders, further benefiting the Vineyard Fund. Each of the Island non-profits will receive a number between 26 and 125, to be auctioned off at their own events.
The exclusion of letters from the Vineyard plate will prevent creative souls from contorting the names of Island landmarks to squeeze onto local or out of state license plates.
VINYUD, WESTIZ and O2BONMV are only a few of the cutesy letter combinations seen whizzing around the Island roadways this summer. Perhaps this new crop of plates will bring 508, 2006, or even 666 to the backs of Vineyard vehicles.
"If you want to support Martha's Vineyard and our unique community," said Bea Phear, MVDC president, in a recent press release, "this is the license plate to get."