In an effort to address the community’s needs during the coronavirus pandemic, the boards of Martha’s Vineyard Bank and the Martha’s Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation dedicated $625,000 last week for coronavirus relief for the needs of Martha’s Vineyard and Falmouth.
In a letter to the community, bank president and CEO James Anthony wrote how of those funds, $150,000 will be immediately distributed to emergency needs, $350,000 will be distributed in April, and $125,000 will create a “Lift Certificates” program to boost short-term revenues for local small businesses.
After conferring with community leaders, the bank has targeted $150,000 to various organizations such as Martha’s Vineyard Community Services for childcare assistance; Island Food Pantry, Island Grown Initiative, the Vineyard Committee on Hunger and Island Grown Mobile Market for fresh locally grown produce support and to add to children’s lunches; Salvation Army Martha’s Vineyard and Dukes County homeless prevention for housing assistance; Martha’s Vineyard Councils on Aging, Elder Services CC&I, and Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living for various transportation, meal delivery, and other needs.
In addition to the funds, the bank will offer loan deferral for small businesses and families, extended hours, fee and penalty eliminations, personal loans, business loans, and zero percent interest credit cards.
The bank is also protecting employees and customers by quarantining its cash in the event the coronavirus is on any of the bills.
Next week, the bank is launching an online store for “Lift Certificates.” To participate, businesses will access a simple online process that verifies they are a local business and configures their certificates. The bank will match the discount from issuing businesses, up to 10 percent, and assume the full cost of setting up and running the service.
“So, for example,” Anthony wrote, “a $100 certificate might be offered for $75, with a $15 discount from the business and $10 paid by the bank. Unlike gift card programs where the funds sit on the card until they are used, each Lift Certificate will provide an immediate boost for your favorite local businesses, a boost right when it’s needed most . . . Now.”
“We are a community bank, built to support local individuals, families, small businesses, and charitable organizations, and we will continue to plan and implement ways to support Martha’s Vineyard and Falmouth in the difficult months ahead,” Anthony wrote. “We are all in this together.”