The Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard, the Island’s community foundation, held its inaugural grants awards ceremony Tuesday evening at the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. In all, 25 Island nonprofits received $155,000.
Founded in 1982, the organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life across the Island. In the past 34 years, the endowment has awarded more than $5.4 million in grants and scholarships. “In the past we made a simple press release, and either hand-delivered or mailed the checks,” Emily Bramhall, the endowment’s acting director, said. “This is the first year we gathered everyone together so that everyone could hear about the great work being done here.”
Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank co-sponsored the event, while the Cape and Islands United Way, Chilmark Chocolates, and Our Market were contributing sponsors. Awards were drawn from the James P. Cahen Fund, Ferro Redstone Fund, General Discretionary Fund, Harriet N. Goldberg Fund, Joy Fund, Lillian Hellman Recreational Fund, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank Charitable Fund, Mayhew-Nevin Fund, and the Vineyard Fund for Board Development and Education.
Ms. Bramhall emceed the event and introduced the award recipients throughout the program.
The ceremony began with Donor Advised Fund Awards. The Joy Fund award went to the Island Autism Group. Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank gave out awards to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living. The Vineyard Fund for Board Development award winner was the Cottagers, an organization celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Next on the schedule was the guest funder. Barbara Milligan, CEO of the Cape and Islands United Way, presented the award to the Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC). The Rev. Chip Seadale of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown accepted the award, representing the HAC local advisory group and Houses of Grace, the winter Island shelter program.
The Permanent Endowment grant awards comprised the remainder of the program.
Arts grants went to the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society, Martha’s Vineyard Children’s Chorus, and the Featherstone Center for the Arts.
Community grants were awarded to Ace MV, Good Shepherd Parish, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Sail MV, Shenandoah Foundation, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Martha’s Vineyard Museum, the Cottagers, and Vineyard House.
Environmental grant recipients were Biodiversity Works, Great Pond Foundation, Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.
Human service grants went to Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group, Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, Island Elderly Housing, Rising Tide, and Windemere.
Following the final grant awards, Emily Bramhall addressed the crowd. “While these grants go to support the organizations that provide services to Islanders, it is people themselves who provide our reasons for being,” she said.
Ms. Bramhall then introduced a special guest, Austin Grande, a graduate of Vineyard House, who was a direct recipient of grants awarded from the endowment. Mr. Grande received a scholarship to take the Coast Guard course for earning a captain’s license. He spoke movingly, relating how the endowment, Vineyard House, Sail MV, and the support of the Island community had helped to change his life and spark his passion for the sea.