The Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation has selected Juli Vanderhoop as the recipient of its 40th Creative Living Award, a designation that has become an annual celebration of creativity, innovation, and community since 1983. The award was created to honor Ruth Bogan who “loved beauty, who loved the Vineyard and who believed ‘anyone can do anything,’” a description that aptly fits this year’s honoree.
“We are thrilled that Juli has graciously accepted this well-deserved honor. Her unwavering dedication to our community’s well-being inspires us all,” said Paul Schulz, Executive Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation.
Juli’s remarkable journey and commitment to this special place began in the very town she grew up in — Aquinnah. Although she couldn’t wait to explore the world, she eventually returned to her beloved Island home to raise her children close to her family and the vibrant Vineyard community. Her varied career path includes being a charter pilot, an early childhood educator, and pursuing a degree in aeronautical engineering. Upon arriving home, Juli transitioned from a career in aviation and education to founding Orange Peel Bakery, a beloved gathering space nestled in the heart of sacred Wampanoag land. The bakery is not only celebrated for its delicious baked goods but also for the warmth, love, and sense of community it radiates.
At Orange Peel Bakery, everything is interconnected. Baking, dining, and creating are not solitary activities but communal experiences. Shared values include the importance of appreciating the land, fostering a genuine connection with it, and passing this connection on to others. The Bakery has become a community staple thanks to Juli’s passion for baking, her commitment to using the finest natural elements — including building her famous oven from Le Panyol clay imported from France — and her unwavering dedication to community.
Juli’s community involvement extends beyond the bakery. She has served on the boards of organizations such as the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, Island Housing Trust, and Island Grown Initiative. As an Aquinnah select board member and a Wampanoag tribal elder, her advocacy extends to ensuring that the voices of her community are heard.
With this 2023 Creative Living Award, the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation is proud to recognize Juli’s tireless dedication to community well-being, and her outstanding ability to blend creativity, tradition, and innovation into a harmonious whole. She embodies the spirit of Ruth Bogan, celebrating the potential for any of us to make a profound difference.
“Juli’s dedication to this island and to the communities she serves are the embodiment of the spirit of the Creative Living Award. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor her with this award,” said Alec Walsh, Board President of the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation.