On a beautiful Island like Martha’s Vineyard where so many seek pleasure, rest and rejuvenation, it is hard to imagine that residents struggle with the same problems of living experienced in other rural communities.
In reality, the year-round population of 16,000 is one of the poorest in the Commonwealth and has one of the highest incidences of mental health and substance use disorder. With a seasonal economy and a high cost of living, the Vineyard can be a very difficult place to live for those without the emotional, financial, or social resources available to help them cope with personal, health, and family problems.
In 1961, a group of Vineyarders with a deep concern for the mental health and stability of Island families founded Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), the largest 501c3 non-profit, human service provider on the Island. Over the subsequent years, the boards and staff of the agency developed and provided the diversity of services necessary to assist the Island’s families weather many storms and deal with the day-to-day challenges of life.
Today, more than 6,000 people are served by MVCS each year. Reflecting the diversity of the Vineyard community, MVCS clients are both impoverished and affluent and include families and individuals of all ages, races and ethnicities. A community-based organization, MVCS employs 87 staff and more than 100 volunteers who provide services through six core programs.
Revenue generated from the Martha’s Vineyard special license plate will be used for funding vital MVCS programs and an ever-growing range of support services to individuals and families all over the Island.
In keeping with the agency’s community-minded spirit, MVCS has committed to donating a portion of net proceeds to other Island non-profits that benefit youth and seniors.