MVYouth, a community fund that seeks to benefit Island youth, has awarded approximately $700,000 in college scholarships to six high school seniors, according to a press release from the organization.
Paulo Pereira Filho, Lena Hanschka, Danielle Hopkins, Nayson Peres, Isabella Quinones, and Liam Weiland were selected to receive four-year scholarships to attend their schools of choice.
With support from MVYouth, Paulo and Nayson will attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Lena will attend Colby College in Maine. Danielle will attend Barnard College in New York City. Isabella Quinones will attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and Liam will attend Berklee College of Music in Boston.
The advisory board at MVYouth narrowed the original pool of 51 applicants down to 12 semifinalists, using merit as the principal criteria — assessing academic performance, character, and community service.
MVYouth will fund 18 Vineyard students in the 2017 to 2018 academic year, including the six students this year. Isabella Quinones is the first Charter School student to be selected by MVYouth. The other 17 recipients have been MVRHS students.
This spring, MVYouth will additionally pilot a new scholarship program — workforce development scholarships. These scholarships will be available to students pursuing careers in health care and the construction trades. Applications for these scholarships are presently being evaluated.
With the support now of 59 founders who have each pledged $25,000 per year for four years, MVYouth will disburse more than $1.4 million into the community next year between its two programs, expansion grants and scholarships. MVYouth plans to continue giving at the same rate or greater in future years.
In February, MVYouth awarded $1.35 million in expansion grants to two Island nonprofits serving children and teens — M.V. Ice Arena and Felix Neck Sanctuary. The arena was awarded $1 million to complete a $3.7 million capital campaign to fully restore the aging facility. Felix Neck was awarded $350,000 to transform a planned three-season barn into a four-season barn in order to accommodate year-round education programs and enable them to host a nature-based preschool.
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, Bob Higgins, and Ron Rappaport.
The next expansion grant deadline is in October 2017. The next scholarship deadline is in February 2018.