The good works squeeze – As the needs grow, will the support grow too?


The Vineyard Nursing Association (VNA) is a good example. VNA announced recently that it has begun a capital campaign to fund the purchase of the building in Vineyard Haven that houses its office. The purchase of the building will enable the VNA, Martha’s Vineyard’s only certified home health care agency, to expand its community programs and increase the size of its staff — both critical steps to keep up with the growing demand for home health care services on the Vineyard

Like so many Vineyard nonprofits, the growing demand for the critical contributions Vineyard Nursing Association makes to the Martha’s Vineyard community expands annually, even when life giving financial support for such necessary work becomes annually more difficult to attract.

The VNA, founded in 1984, delivers a variety of services, including home health care for acute illnesses; town nursing, vaccination and blood pressure clinics; wellness checks for senior citizens and new babies; support to keep disabled people of all ages safe in their homes; and private duty care. Services are available to year-round and seasonal residents, regardless of ability to pay. Annual home visits by VNA staff have more than doubled since 2005, increasing to 34,000 from 15,000 and fueling a corresponding growth in staff size. The agency now includes 70 nurses, therapists, home health aides, and social workers, making it one of the largest year-round employers on the Island.

With revenue of $3.3 million, VNA is among the largest Island nonprofits. But its story does not differ markedly from others, including the smallest. Non-gift revenue has come under pressure for nonprofits in the last two years, but donations have too. For VNA, just nine percent – a crucial nine percent – comes from fundraising. Sixty percent comes from a client base that is heavily weighted to Medicare reimbursements.

With the Medicare eligible share of the Vineyard community growing especially quickly and uncertainty abounding over future Medicare funding in the changing national health care environment, meeting current demand is tough and undertaking expansion to meet future demand requires farsightedness and sturdy confidence that year-round and summer Islanders will dig deep.

Adjusting for size, mission, budget, and variable demands, all Vineyard nonprofits are looking at a funding landscape similar to the one facing VNA. Still, they are all confident that Islanders will, as they always have, recognize the important roles nonprofits play in Vineyard life and the day-in, day-out dedication of the Island organizations that do this important work.

The season for Islanders to step up is underway. It’s the season when the Vineyard organizations you depend on throughout the year depend on you. The needs of these nonprofit organizations are ongoing and expanding. The assistance and good works they offer the Vineyard community nurture year-round and summer resident alike. The annual moment when you can do your part and make a big difference is now.

Each one of these organizations does something for you, and now you can return the favor.

In Community Works this morning,, a MindshareMedia effort, offers an online calendar of nonprofit fundraising events. The summer entries are displayed here. At, you can browse the live version of this calendar, pick the events you would like to attend and the organizations you want to help, and make the requested donation or buy a ticket. We’re featuring the calendar now, so you can make your decisions now. You won’t want to miss this chance to make a difference.

Island nonprofits want you to know about their efforts to help Islanders and the fundraising efforts they have planned to make that help possible. The calendar may also be found on The Martha’s Vineyard Times website, Just a click on the event of your choice will take you straight to a shopping cart where you can buy tickets or make donations.

In addition, the nonprofits whose messages are so important to you will also make online appearances at, telling you about their missions and inviting you to make a gift. It’s a convenient way to get to know them and the work the do.

Summer, a welcome respite from months of anxiety and gloom, has a few weeks to run. For the Vineyard’s nonprofit benefactors, it’s the season to make a difference.