Six students were selected to receive roughly $145,000 in renewable scholarships, that will total nearly $700,000 over four years. The Advisory Board evaluated 51 applications using an evaluation tool to assess academics, character and community service. An Interview Committee comprised of Trustees and Advisory Board members interviewed twelve semifinalists. The semifinalists then reported their admission and financial aid information to MVYouth. From the cost of attendance at their chosen schools, MVYouth subtracted the estimated family contribution (EFC) and any institutional grants or scholarships the students were offered. Each of the semifinalists' funding gaps were calculated and six award recipients were selected.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Scholarships
MVYouth is piloting a program to support students seeking career and technical training by providing needed funds for post secondary educational opportunities, both on and off the Island. Graduates from the Career Technical Education programs at MVRHS, specifically students in the health assisting, construction trades and horticulture programs were targeted for support. In our first year, one student was selected to attend a two-year associates program in plant science and landscape management. After graduation, the student has ambitions of returning to the Island and owning a landscaping company.
EXPANSION GRANT RECIPIENTS
After careful evaluation and recommendation from the Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to award the Martha's Vineyard Ice Arena and Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary with $1,350,000 in funding to support their excellent work for Island children, teens and young adults. Synopses and images below outline their award-winning proposals.
MARTHA'S VINEYARD ICE ARENA
Frozen Future: MV Arena Renovation Project
Mission: To provide a safe, healthy and self-sustaining recreational facility that will fulfill the ice skating needs of all the residents and visitors of Martha’s Vineyard.
The Arena was awarded $1,000,000 to complete a $3.7 million capital campaign to fully restore the aging facility. Funding from MVYouth will enable the ice making compressor and sub-ice slab to be replaced as well as the dasher boards and glass around the rink. Flooring to cover the rink area during non-skating months will also be purchased, enabling other indoor sport usage and community events. The entry vestibule, lobby and bleachers will be renovated and modernized to improve the hospitality and ADA compliance of the facility. A new pro-shop and offices will be added, as well as a commercial kitchen and concession stand. A 2,500 square foot multipurpose room will be added to the back of the facility.
In the last two years, the Arena has made considerable progress to strengthen the organization. They hired a General Manager, Peter Lambos; developed an “Administrative Support Agreement” with the Y; participated in a “Sports Alliance” committee to analyze indoor space needs; hired an accountant; installed software to streamline scheduling, financial management, and website content; replaced the roof of the facility; and raised $2.6 million for the project from private donors, foundations and the community.
According to the Arena, renovating and expanding the facility will increase the numbers they serve by 20%. They will accomplish this by: attracting the community to a more hospitable and attractive facility; offering indoor space to other sports groups; offering indoor space for parties and other community gatherings and hosting more community fundraising events. In the spring and summer when the ice is drained, the facility will be available to host concerts, trade shows and dances which will generate revenue.
FELIX NECK WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Education and Camp Barn
Mission: To protect Island wildlife and wildlands and provide open space, education programs, and opportunities for involvement in wildlife conservation for children and adults year-round.
Felix Neck was awarded $350,000 to transform a planned three-season barn into a four-season barn in order to accommodate year-round education programs and enable them to host a nature-based preschool. Funds from MVYouth will serve as last dollar funding for a $550,000 capital campaign. Felix Neck privately raised $200,000 for the three-season barn. Funds from MVYouth will enable the barn to be insulated, include plumbing and electricity and be compliant with local and state preschool licensing regulations. These additions will primarily benefit the year-round community. Autumn Construction will begin building the three-season barn in March and it will be ready for summer camp usage. Work to insulate, electrify and plumb the structure will continue in the fall of 2017.
Felix Neck has been offering nature education on Martha’s Vineyard for 52 years through summer camps and school collaborations. Felix Neck serves as Mass Audubon’s community nature center and wildlife sanctuary on Martha’s Vineyard. Mass Audubon is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife, through the guiding strategies of conservation, education, and advocacy.
During the school year Felix Neck serves preschool, elementary and high school aged children. They have begun offering collaborative vacation week programming for the February and April school vacation weeks to serve working families. In the summer, they provide nature education programs to roughly 125-150 people per day. In the last ten years, Felix Neck has doubled camp enrollment and increased family and school programs. The Nature Center is currently the only indoor space on the property and is no longer large enough to accommodate their successful programs.
Community demand for preschools on Martha’s Vineyard is high and many preschools have waiting lists. Part of Felix Neck’s Strategic Plan is focused on fostering environmental leadership and stewardship in the next generation. There is a strong desire for a nature-based education from the Island community that Felix Neck aims to serve.