MVYouth announces $275,000 in expansion grants

The $200,000 MVYouth grant awarded to the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard will go to expanding youth programming. — Courtesy YMCA of MV

MVYouth has awarded a $200,000 expansion grant to the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard, and a $75,000 expansion grant to Vineyard Family Tennis (VFT). 

According to MVYouth executive director Lindsey Scott, their advisory board carefully reviews each possible grant candidate according to a list of seven criteria. The board scores each candidate, and then discusses their strengths.

Scott said the YMCA and VFT are “very capable, organized, and supportive in the youth community.”

“They are well run, and make very good decisions about what the community needs. We are very enthusiastic in supporting them,” Scott said.

Funds from MVYouth will allow the YMCA to expand their afterschool and summer youth programs by making a variety of internal space allocation changes. This series of changes will add 24 new licensed spaces for kids who want to participate.

Jill Robie, executive director for the YMCA, said space currently used for administrative offices will be repurposed and renovated to be used as a classroom.

“We are looking to reallocate our space and make room for more kids in our youth programs,” Robie said. “We have had long waiting lists for these programs, and have been trying to figure out a way to expand.”

Robie said the YMCA is “extremely grateful” for the ongoing support of MVYouth. “We feel incredibly lucky to have MVYouth as a support system for all our Island’s young people,” Robie said.

As part of the $75,000 expansion grant awarded to VFT, a new HVAC system will be installed in its indoor tennis bubble — an upgrade that follows a $250,000 MVYouth grant for VFT to purchase the new bubble.

Chris Scott of VFT, who is no relation to Lindsey Scott, said that with the grant, the center will be able to keep its new bubble open year-round, even during the scorching summer months.

“We found that during July and August, it gets way too warm inside the bubble to play,” Chris Scott said. “The HVAC system will keep it cool and allow us to use the bubble when it’s too hot, or when there is bad weather.”

Taking the bubble down and putting it back up again causes strain on the material, and can reduce the bubble’s lifespan by up to 50 percent, he said. “Now we have a much more heavy-duty bubble, but it is meant to stay up, and now we can do that.”