MVYouth awards full scholarships to five Vineyard high school seniors

College bound students will attend UCLA, CalPoly, Tufts, Barnard and the University of Chicago.

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Photo courtesy of MVYouth

MVYouth, a community fund founded last summer, has awarded $300,000 in college scholarships to five Martha’s Vineyard seniors. Lee Faraca, Madeleine Moore, Anne Ollen, Charles Parkhurst, and Galya Walt were selected to receive four-year scholarships to attend their school of choice.

MVYouth’s Advisory Board narrowed the original pool of 31 applicants down to 12 semifinalists, using merit as the principal criteria, according to a press release. Employing an evaluation tool they created, the group focused on assessing academic performance, character, and community service.

In March, representatives of the board of trustees interviewed the 12 semifinalists. “We were very impressed by the semifinalists,” said co-chairman Dan Stanton. “They were a very talented, hardworking, and ambitious group. It was very difficult to choose among them.”

The semifinalists then shared their admission and financial-aid information with MVYouth, bringing need ultimately into focus. As the cost of attendance continues to increase at colleges and universities across the country, students are faced with either taking out significant loans or choosing more affordable institutions.

“MVYouth is focused on enabling high-achieving students to pursue a college education at the best school they can attend without taking on debt,” said Lindsey Scott, executive director.

MVYouth Scholarships offer “last-dollar funding” to students who lack sufficient funds to attend their school of choice. The group focuses on filling the remaining financial gap left after families establish their estimated contribution and schools offer their own institution grants and scholarships. MVYouth’s support will be sustained for all four years of college, provided that students respect their scholarship guidelines and that their need persists.

With support from MVYouth, Lee Faraca will attend California Polytechnic State University. Madeleine Moore will attend the University of Chicago. Anne Ollen will attend Barnard College. Charles Parkhurst will attend UCLA, and Galya Walt will attend Tufts University.

In August 2014, MVYouth raised $4 million to fund two programs, expansion grants and college scholarships. Through a collaborative funding model, MVYouth pools donations from its founders, resulting in the capacity to make larger gifts that will, in turn, produce more significant impacts on Island youth.

With the support of 46 founders who have each pledged $25,000 a year for four years, MVYouth will disburse in excess of $1 million per year for the next four years. MVYouth plans to continue giving at the same rate or greater in future years.

In February, MVYouth awarded $800,000 in expansion grants to two Island nonprofits serving children and teens, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) and Martha’s Vineyard Little League (MVLL). With MVYouth funding, MVCS will build the Island Wide Youth Collaborative (IWYC) Center, a facility that will support children, teens, and their families struggling with mental health and substance issues. MVLL will use MVYouth funding to complete their Penn Field project, creating a headquarters for the league that will enable improved skill development for young players as well as tournament play.

MVYouth was established in April 2014 by Daniel Stanton and Jim Swartz, both seasonal residents of Martha’s Vineyard. Joining Mr. Swartz and Mr. Stanton are a board of trustees including Steve Barnes, Drew Conway, David Fialkow, Mimi Haas, and Ron Rappaport.

MVYouth’s local advisory board is: Ron Rappaport (chairman), Meg Bodnar, Brock Callen, Marta Camargo, George Davis, Beth Kramer, Brian Mackey, Duncan Pickard, and Peg Regan. Lindsey Scott is MVYouth’s executive director.

The next expansion grant deadline will be in October 2015. The next college scholarship deadline will be in February 2016. For more information, visit mvyouth.com.