Photo: Alison Shaw
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.
Migrant Relief Fund:
In September of 2022, a group of Venezuelan migrants arrived on the Island unexpectedly with nowhere to turn. A number of nonprofits on the Island and the Cape sprung into action to provide emergency shelter, food, legal assistance, medical assistance and other support. This fund was established to provide support for both the immediate, short term needs at the time, and longer term needs. With the continuance of this fund, we support the organizations that house, feed, and provide assistance to all migrants on the Island, assuring they have the resources to meet current as well as future needs.
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.