Growth and development are consuming our open lands,
rare habitat and historic buildings. They are polluting our
coastal ponds, creating traffic jams and driving up the
price of real estate which adds to our high cost of living
and jeopardizes other enjoyable elements of the Vineyard
experience. To sustain the Vineyard we must protect the
things we love and provide the things we need to keep
this a community that works for all of us.
Our local community is an eclectic cast of characters:
artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, farmers, fishermen,
builders, retirees, surfer dudes and ordinary people.
They have chosen to live and raise their families here
because of the quality of life. They run our towns, shops
and restaurants, build and maintain our homes and offer
the broad array of services and experiences we come here
to enjoy. They preserve and maintain the Island as well
as keep it at the cutting edge. The Vineyard is the way it
is because of them and cannot be sustained if they can’t
be sustained. The economics of living on a growing
resort island, however, make it difficult to live here;
like Nantucket and Hilton Head, economics can drive
these essential people away.
The good news is, as difficult as these problems are, history
indicates they are not insurmountable if the whole
community, seasonal and year-round, comes together to
address them. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s
Island Plan, from which much of the data in this report
is taken, addresses many of these issues. The Plan gives
local government and business responsibility for some
programs but, as in any successful community, a large
portion of the leadership and cost falls on the nonprofit
sector. As you will learn from this report, almost everything
we love about the Vineyard is protected, maintained
or made possible by Island nonprofits and they
account for more than 13% of the Island’s GDP. These
organizations need additional philanthropy and other
assistance, like capacity building, to sustain the Vineyard
and accommodate its growth.
This report examines what’s at risk, what must be
done and who is involved. We encourage you to learn
about the issues that affect what you love most about
the Vineyard and then decide how you want to give
back. We hope this report will start conversations,
create solutions and, most importantly, generate the
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BOTTOM LINE/TAKE AWAY
We have done a great job protecting the Vineyard in the face
of dramatic growth, but if we don’t change things quickly:
• That farm will become a subdivision and there will be less fresh produce.
• That tree-canopied road will become suburban sprawl.
• That newborn child may never dig for clams or taste a fresh bay scallop.
• That charming old house at the corner will be torn down for new and
• That artist you like at the Artisans Fair will move to Maine because she
can‘t afford the rent.
• That nurse the Island needs will not take the job because she can’t afford a
comparable house here.
• There will be fewer Ospreys, Harriers and other endangered animal and plant species.
• There will be perpetual gridlock in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown
throughout July and August despite widened roads and the addition of a
and traffic lights.
The Island’s nonprofit community is working to address these issues and more.
They need your help.