Photo: Alison Shaw
Update on Migrant Relief Fund:
As of Friday 9/18, the Venezuelan migrants that arrived here unexpectedly, left the Island under the care of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for housing and support on the mainland. We are working with Cape & Island Nonprofits to assure that migrant relief funds are distributed through the appropriate channels to provide support for immediate, short term and longer term needs. We support the organizations that house, feed and provide assistance to all migrants, assuring they have the resources to meet current as well as future needs. (Donations which were collected via an independent, third party GoFundMe campaign, will be dispersed via this fund once we receive them from GoFundMe.)
The Emergency Response Fund was established in March 2020 to address the sudden and urgent needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, this fund has awarded over $1,400,000 and remains as relevant as ever. We believe it is a core responsibility of the Community Foundation to maintain this agile, immediate support resource.
The Emergency Response Fund was established in March 2020 to address the sudden and urgent needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses closed, jobs were lost and incomes dried up. Schools closed and with them the free and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches that were served to over 40% of Island students disappeared. Public transportation wasn’t safe for compromised people and access to food pantries become impossible for many. Rent continued to be due to landlords who depended on that income to pay their bills. Vineyard nonprofits were caught in the middle. While many were forced to close their doors, the needs of the people they served accelerated.
Responding to this crisis, the Vineyard community stepped up in an unprecedented way, working collaboratively with a laser focus on supporting Islanders in need.
Thanks to the outpouring of support from generous donors, private foundations and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we were able to immediately begin addressing these critical needs: including rental relief partnerships with the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, home delivery for the Island Food Pantry and medical interpreter training to address the needs of our Portuguese-speaking community, just to name a few.
Necessity was the mother of invention. Clearly, the emergency response model worked. It was extremely effective and efficient in putting donor dollars to work on the pressing problems of the day. We now believe it is a core responsibility of the Community Foundation to maintain and manage this agile, immediate support resource for our community. We are here for good, which means we’re here when things are really bad.