Monthly Archives: April 2015

N Magazine features CFNAN

Thank you to N Magazine for the amazing article and insight on what the Community Foundation for Nantucket offers its Islanders.  To read more of N’s recent stories, head on over to their new website at n-magazine.com and also sign up for their weekly NBlasts.

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Written By: Robert Cocuzzo | Photography By: Kit Noble

 As you read this, there’s a father sitting at his kitchen table trying to decide between buying groceries and paying his rent. There’s a single mother sharing a bedroom with her teenage son in a small house where they live with five other families. There’s a little boy living in a car with his parents so that he can continue to attend a good school in a safe neighborhood. What do all these people have in common? They all live on Nantucket.

It’s hard to believe and maybe even harder to hear, but on this slice of heaven there are families suffering through a very real personal hell. Hidden from the public eye, folks are struggling to get by day-to-day on Nantucket. Even with the best intentions, recognizing the greatest needs of the community can be difficult.

That is where the Community Foundation for Nantucket comes in: “There are so many nonprofits on Nantucket and it’s very hard for all the donors to know where the money is needed, so what we can do is centralize that,” explained Jeanne Miller, the Community Foundation’s project manager. “We take away the questions of who needs it most and how to decide where donors should put the funds that they want to give to Nantucket.”

The Community Foundation is not programmatic; it doesn’t provide direct services to citizens. Instead, it serves as a fund holder, “connecting people who care with causes that matter,” as the organization’s executive director Margaretta Andrews put it. “We support Nantucket through our nonprofits by providing direct grants, by providing educational opportunities, and really by providing anything that can be helpful in their missions,” she said. The Community Foundation manages seventy-seven different funds, and just last year, they surpassed the $1 million mark in grants to local nonprofits.

“They know the community. They know all the nonprofits. They know what everyone’s doing and where the need is,” said Janis Carreiro of the Rental Assistance Program on Nantucket, which helps island residents pay their rent in times of crisis. Janis’s clients range from low-income families trying to make ends meet in the slow times of winter to residents who can normally pay their rent but have been derailed by unexpected illness or family crisis. Janis’s clients are the workers who keep the island ticking, from landscapers to waiters to bank tellers. “There is virtually no year-round rental housing on this island right now,” she explained. “And what is available comes at a premium. The rents are going up and the wages are not.” As a consequence, Janis is busier than ever.

“As a small nonprofit, I am so grateful that the Community Foundation is here,” Janis said. “In one simple application, I am able to spend a small amount of time and know that they are able to get to a base of donors that I will never be able to get to.”

The Community Foundation developed the Nantucket Fund to directly serve nonprofits like the Rental Assistance Program that operate in the human services sector. “We try to provide a vehicle through the Nantucket Fund where donors can support these areas where there is a huge need, without having to pick and choose, without having to say one nonprofit is more important than another,” Margaretta Andrews explained. “Because we do the due diligence for them, they can know that those dollars that they are giving to the Nantucket Fund are being used very strategically and really making an impact.”

From the nonprofits’ perspective, the Community Foundation not only provides them with critical funding, but also creates a network for them to collaborate. For instance, when Community Sailing was given a grant four year ago by the Community Foundation, they discovered that there were other nonprofits that they could be serving as well. “They saw very clearly how their program for sailing could be used, not just for kids, but for respite for caregivers, for some of our most at risk and at need people on the island, for kids who are challenged and their siblings, and for our elderly,” Margaretta explained. Had the Community Foundation not joined them all in a room together, this collaboration might have never occurred.

“They’re a big part of the collaborative spirit of the nonprofits here because they’re the central hub of service,” said Anne Marie Bellvance, the executive director of the Food Pantry. “I find that elsewhere, nonprofits work in their silos and are very private and very closed. The Community Foundation creates a very open environment. We can work together and help each other out, because many of us are serving the same families.”

Last March, Anne Marie and the Food Pantry gave out more than 1,200 bags of groceries to 352 families on Nantucket. While generous donations from Stop & Shop, Bartlett’s Farm, Moors End Farm and Something Natural help keep the food bank stocked, the nonprofit still depends desperately on fundraising. The grant the Food Pantry received from the Community Foundation last year will help ensure that its clients will have access to fresh produce from local farms. “The grant we received from them was one of our largest grants,” Anne Marie explained. “The Community Foundation is one of the angels of the island.”

One only needs to attend the Community Foundation’s annual grant awards breakfast to witness the powerful impact the organization has on Nantucket’s nonprofits. One after another, representatives from twenty-seven nonprofits take the stage to receive their grants. They’re each given two minutes at the microphone to express their gratitude and explain how the grant will help them continue on their mission. But, when people’s lives can literally be saved by the Community Foundation’s help, words cannot fully describe the impact that it has.

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Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals

In December of 2014, the Community Foundation for Nantucket awarded grants through the  Nantucket Fund™ to 27 deserving Nantucket nonprofits.  Now in 2015, we are excited to feature and highlight these nonprofits and their amazing efforts.  We asked each recipient a series of questions that get to the heart of their organization and how it benefits our Island community. Our second nonprofit to feature is one that cares for our furry Island friends – It’s the:

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1) How does your nonprofit help the Nantucket community?

When people think of an animal shelter, naturally they think of homeless animals—stray dogs, feral cats, abandoned bunnies—those sad stories that pull at our heart strings. But behind every animal is a human. And Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals is dedicated to helping the entire community of Nantucket—both its people and animals.

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Many of our grant-funded programs focus on assisting people with their pets: our Seniors with Pets Assistance (SPA) Program helps seniors care for their animals; the Lucky Whiskers and Wags Program offers financial aid to people with an acutely ill or injured pet; and Spay/Neuter Island Pets Program (SNIPP) grants vouchers to those families wanting to ensure their pets don’t have unexpected litters.

Our educational programs for both children and adults teach the rewards of adoption, the perils of pet overpopulation, the links between animal and human abuse, dog/child safety, what to do with injured wildlife, and more. NSHA board members and volunteers are often out in public or on social media sites guiding and educating island citizens.

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Counseling and guidance during times of hardship—whether it be finding pet-friendly housing or helping modify a pet’s behavior—are also daily occurrences at the shelter. This counseling helps a family decide to keep their pet, to re-home one that is not a good fit, or perhaps to find a new one to add to their clan.

In addition to our formal programs, our staff and volunteers go out of their way to help people find their wayward pets. From being the first to respond to lost dog reports to making and posting signs about a missing beloved cat, our staff and volunteers are often on the front lines when the missing pet alarm is sounded.

As much as we love to spend time with the kittens and puppies at the shelter, we know that caring about animals is caring about people. And that is how Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals helps the entire Nantucket community.

2) What does our Nantucket community mean to you and your nonprofit?

With the advent of Facebook and other social media sites, it has become so clear to us that we are a community of animal lovers. We have over 362 Twitter followers and 2035 Facebook friends. Every time we post an animal for adoption or an animal that is lost, found or needs a foster home, we have shares and retweets in a matter of minutes. So along with supporting us financially, our Nantucket community supports our work by helping us do our work.

3)  Tell us a specific story of how your nonprofit has benefited someone in our Nantucket community.

We have dozens of stories, but here are two (names and details have been changed to protect privacy):

Our SPA program (Seniors with Pets Assistance) helps seniors with their pets in times of need. An elderly man recently broke his hip and could not walk his rambunctious dog. For two months, this program paid for a dog walker so that the dog did not lose his quality of life while the senior recovered.

A woman had a cat who needed a surgery that would save the cat’s life, but she could not afford to pay for that surgery. The Lucky Whiskers and Wags Fund covered the cost of the surgery, allowing the woman to keep her only companion. Months later, she sent us a letter thanking us for stepping in. In the letter was a check for the entire grant that NSHA had made. Her personal issues had resolved, she was solvent again, and felt it only right that she pay us back. That money can now go toward another animal in need.

4)  In one sentence, tell us your thoughts on the Community Foundation for Nantucket and how you think it benefits the Nantucket community and all your efforts as a nonprofit.

The Community Foundation for Nantucket promotes community by helping Nantucketers support local causes: CFNAN helps Nantucketers help Nantucketers!

5)  Where did your grant dollars specifically go this year?

To help fund our Lucky Whiskers and Wags program, which covers the costs for shelter and community animals needing surgery, medications, or other emergency or critical medical care.

6)  Any event dates for your nonprofit we should know about in 2015?

Saturday, April 25th, Daffy Dog Parade

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Sunday December 6th, Pet Photos with Santa

Email: NSHA@ackshelter.org

Location: 11 Crooked Lane, Nantucket, MA

Mailing Address: PO Box 2844, Nantucket, MA 02584

Phone: 508-825-CATS (2287)

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