Fishermen’s Preservation, ambassador partnership get grants

Martha’s Vineyard Foundation awards $25,000 and $13,367 to benefit programs.

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The Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation, formerly known as the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard, has awarded $25,000 to the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust to re-establish a commercially viable wholesale fish market in Menemsha, according to a press release. 

In December, the Trust expressed an interest in becoming stewards of the Menemsha Fish House to continue to provide a wholesale outlet for its members in the busy fishing port.

“This year has highlighted the need to be flexible and nimble in responding to emerging needs,” said Anne Williamson, board chair of MVCF, said in a press release. “Clearly, maintaining a viable fishing industry in Menemsha speaks both to the history of that iconic fishing village as well as its future. If we want to maintain a robust fishing industry based out of our harbors, then it’s critical to support a wholesale outlet for their catch.”

The foundation also awarded $13,367 to the Community Ambassador Partnership (CAP) to provide medical interpretation training to better serve the Portuguese-speaking community with medical needs or questions, particularly in light of the pandemic and upcoming vaccinations for COVID-19.

“The Community Ambassador Partnership is one we have proudly supported from its inception at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Emily Bramhall, MVCF executive director, in the release. “It is so important that everyone in our community have access to real-time, culturally relevant information so they can make informed decisions, and nowhere is that more vital than medical settings.”

The Fishermen’s Preservation Trust has launched a $500,000 campaign to create the Martha’s Vineyard Sustainable Food Collaborative. The collaborative would reopen the shuttered Menemsha Fish House and re-establish a wholesale outlet that’s necessary for the survival of the Vineyard’s small boat fishery, the release states. The new nonprofit wholesale market will also benefit local restaurants and markets looking to feature locally caught fish, and any excess seafood will be given to those organizations serving families in need.

The $25,000 grant from the foundation enabled the Trust to reach its initial start-up goal of $400,000, allowing them to begin needed repairs and equipment purchasing.

“This generous grant from the Community Foundation significantly helps make our M.V. Sustainable Seafood Collaborative a reality, and advances our ability to fulfill our mission to preserve the character of the Island as an authentic, working waterfront with a thriving local community of fishermen,” the Trust’s executive director, Shelley Edmundson, said in the release. “We are so grateful for this generous grant from the M.V. Community Foundation. It significantly helps make our M.V. Sustainable Seafood Collaborative a reality, and advances our ability to fulfill our mission to preserve the character of Martha’s Vineyard as an authentic, working waterfront with a thriving local community of fishermen. We hope to close the final gap in fundraising and reach our goal in the coming weeks so we can be up and running for this fishing season.”

The foundation had previously awarded Community Ambassador Partnership $16,850, which provided basic training for 10 additional interpreters that resulted in almost 100 hours of interpretation in needed settings such as COVID-19 contact tracing and translation at the TestMV site. It also covered the salary of an interpreter coordinator, salaries for the actual services, the creation of a database of available interpreters, and reduced the cost for liability insurance, which was an obstacle for many.

This most recent grant will enable 13 interpreters to take a six-week, 60-hour class through ACE MV in partnership with Cross Cultural Communications System, according to the release. Participants will be asked to pay a nominal $250 fee to attend the course, with those proceeds used to pay interpreters working across the Island.

“The Community Foundation’s support has enabled the CAP to pursue our vision of promoting bidirectional multicultural communications to bridge English- and Portuguese-speaking community members,” Leah Palmer of CAP said in the release. “This critical funding has helped provide language access in many pockets of the Island community that did not have language resources. The medical interpreter course will enhance both contact tracing efforts and vaccination rollouts over the coming months. This ongoing support has been crucial to us hitting the ground at the beginning of this pandemic and carrying it forward.”