Nonprofits sustain the island we love.
Almost everything we love about the Vineyard is protected, maintained or made possible by Island nonprofits. From protecting the beaches we relax on, to providing an event for a night out, to connecting us to our local agriculture and seafood, nonprofits are an integral part of daily life on the island. That’s why they are critical to sustaining Island and its vibrant culture and life.
Island nonprofits are critical to sustaining the Vineyard because they provide a safety net for the backbone of the island, our year round community. From housing, to childcare, to healthcare, nonprofits serve as an important provider and, at times, a safety net that sustains the Island’s year-round population. Its people are the heart of this place and without them the Vineyard wouldn’t be the Vineyard.
Nonprofits need resources to do their critical work.
If Vineyard Nonprofits don’t have the resources they need to do their critical work, the Island we’ve all known and loved will lose much of its charm and character. Over half the nonprofits on Martha’s Vineyard have between 1 and 10 employees. With limited resources and growing programs, nonprofit staff and boards often find themselves going beyond the scope of their normal job descriptions. Executive Directors often find themselves playing the role of lead fundraiser, head accountant, human resources department, and marketing expert. MVNC is here to support nonprofit staff and boards with the professional development and leadership skills to succeed in their work, no matter the gaps.
There are variety of ways you can help sustain the Vineyard by strengthening its nonprofits.
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Using the principles of Collective Impact we bring stakeholders together to explore common interests and how they might work together. We show them innovative models other communities have used to impact similar issues and we identify grants or funding for planning or implementation. Finally, we provide management support to get these new initiatives launched and sustainable and then we gradually pull back to let them proceed on their own and so we can address another issue.
Healthy Aging MV
Arts MV is an arts and culture collaborative started in 2009. We brought this sector of the nonprofit community together after the financial crisis of 2008 since they were particularly hard hit by the drop in philanthropy. Their primary program, Fall For The Arts, helped the sector by increased cultural tourism in the shoulder season. Arts MV coordinated the creation and promotion of a variety of Arts and Cultural events/programs from Labor Day to New Years. They worked with local hotels, restaurants, tour leaders and others to package the events with accommodations and it’s been a win for both the hospitality and arts and culture communities. Many Island arts and culture organizations are now programming year round and as a collaborative Arts MV has been able to bring new funding to the Island from national foundations. Arts MV has also been instrumental in setting up Cultural Districts with several Island towns and working on creative placemaking across the Island.
Healthy Aging MV (HAMV) is a grassroots initiative we started in 2012 to help the Island prepare to meet the needs of its growing elder population. The Vineyard’s 65+ population will more than double by 2030, growing faster than the rest of MA and the US. Today, 1 in 6 Islanders is over 65, but in 2030 it will be 1 in 3. As an isolated rural community with issues of scale, meeting the needs of these elders will be a real challenge unless we collaborate, plan on an island-wide basis and find new models of service delivery. That’s why HAMV was started, and today it has over 70 volunteers and 35 organizations (including all 6 towns) that serve elders working together to make the Vineyard an age-friendly island. HAMV and the Vineyard was one of the first communities in MA to be accepted into the WHO/AARP world network of age-friendly communities. HAMV did a needs assessment and developed a multi-year Community Plan. HAMV has many workgroups which have formed and launched a variety of programs.
To address the Island’s affordable housing issue, the MVNC brought together representatives from the Planning Boards and Affordable Housing Committees of all six towns, the MV Commission and the Island Housing Trust and led the group effort to have all six towns produce Housing Production Plans as well as an Island-wide housing plan. The group had all six towns apply for a State grant and hired housing and zoning specialists to do a needs analysis and lead a multi-month public engagement and planning process in each town. The final plans included specific strategies to build 294 units of affordable housing over the next 5 years. Strategies included specific zoning changes in each town, developing specific lots/areas in each town and identifying sources of additional funding. The Islandwide plan addressed regional issues like wastewater treatment, seasonal workforce housing and more affordable elder housing. The workgroup continues to work on Island-wide issues and town development and construction projects are underway.