MVYouth, a community fund founded in 2014, has awarded more than $580,000 in scholarships to six Island seniors. J.P. Alves, Sam Cranston, Andres Garcia, Louise McDonald, Josephine Orr, and Emma Searle were selected to receive four-year, last-dollar college scholarships.
With support from MVYouth, J.P. Alves will attend the University of San Diego. Sam Cranston will attend the University of Vermont. Andres Garcia will attend Cornell University. Louise McDonald will attend Trinity College. Josephine Orr will attend Wagner College. Emma Searle will attend Boston College.
MVYouth’s college scholarships offer last-dollar funding to students who lack sufficient funds to attend their school of choice. Awards are calculated to fill the financial gap remaining after families contribute (according to the FAFSA calculation) and schools offer their own institutional scholarships. Support is sustained for all four years of college, providing need persists and recipients respect MVYouth’s scholarship guidelines.
To select the college scholarship recipients, MVYouth’s advisory board narrowed a pool of 40 applicants down to 12 semifinalists, using merit as the principal criteria. Employing an evaluation tool they created, the group focused on assessing three broad criteria: academic performance, character, and service. In March, representatives of the board of trustees and the advisory board interviewed the 12 semifinalists. In April, the semifinalists shared their admission and financial aid information with MVYouth, bringing need into focus.
“Once again, MVYouth received applications from terrific students. Choosing among them is a difficult task. There are so many wonderful students who need financial support. We wish we could support more of them,” said Lindsey Scott, executive director. In the 2019–20 academic year, MVYouth will fund 26 Vineyard students with college scholarships.
Additionally, MVYouth administers another scholarship program, focused on local workforce development. The Workforce Development Scholarships offer last-dollar funding to students pursuing technical training and professional development. Students interested in auto mechanics, aviation, building trades, culinary arts, healthcare, horticulture, landscaping, marine trades, and wind technology are eligible for needed financial support. MVYouth is currently funding three students through this program, and their selection process to identify this year’s finalists is underway. Workforce Development Scholarship finalists will be announced in early June.
With the support now of 70 founders who have each pledged $25,000 per year for four years, in 2019 MVYouth will disburse $1.9 million into the community 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 $750,000 in expansion grants to three Island nonprofits serving children, teens, and young adults — Vineyard Family Tennis, Camp Jabberwocky, and the M.V. Boys & Girls Club. Vineyard Family Tennis was awarded $250,000 to replace its collapsed tennis bubble. Camp Jabberwocky was awarded $400,000 to renovate its Main Cabin. M.V. Boys & Girls Club was awarded an emergency grant of $100,000 to address critical repairs to their aging facility.
MVYouth was established in April 2014 by Daniel Stanton and Jim Swartz, both seasonal residents of Martha’s Vineyard. Joining Swartz and Stanton are a board of trustees, including Steve Barnes, Drew Conway, Cindy Doyle, David Fialkow, Mimi Haas, Bob Higgins, and Ron Rappaport.
MVYouth’s local advisory board consists of chair, Ron Rappaport, Meg Bodnar, George Davis, Brian Mackey, Duncan Pickard, Elizabeth Pickman, Jane Seagrave, and Jim Weiss. The workforce development advisory board consists of Chair, Jim Weiss, Barbara-Jean Chauvin, Sam Hart, Sarah Hughes, Chrissy Gould, Brian Mackey, Spike Smith, and Liza Williamson. Lindsey Scott is MVYouth’s executive director.
The next expansion grant deadline is in October 2019. The next scholarship deadlines are in January 2020.
This particular scholarship award raises eyebrows every year. Is it mostly based on financial need, or do finances play only a small, insignificant part in the decision making process? Each year there are at least 2-3 students who’s families are pretty well off, better than a lot of students who didn’t make the cut.
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