The Application Process

The Nomination:

Prior to filing a fellowship application, each potential applicant must be nominated in writing by an Island nonprofit organization or progressive business committed to working within one or more of the Vision Fellowship’s areas of interest, all of which emphasize Island sustainability. The nomination papers should state the purpose for which the applicant wishes to apply (for example, to enroll in an undergraduate or graduate program or to pursue a particular project) and a brief summary of the individual’s qualifications.  Click here for Instructions for Nominating an Individual for a Vision Fellowship.  The deadline for nomination papers will be posted on the Fellowship’s website annually and will typically be two months prior to the due date for completed applications.  The deadline for submission of nomination papers for 2018 Vision Fellowship applicants is TUESDAY, November 28th, 2017, AT NOON! Nomination letters should be submitted via email to

The Application:

The Fellowship’s program director will review the nomination papers and will communicate with the potential applicant about the advisability of submitting an application. If an application is to be filed, the applicant will be provided with a link to the application packet. The completed application for the 2018 Vision Fellowship Program is due on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018.

Education-based Applicants:

Each education/professional development applicant should work with the potential mentor and/or the sponsoring organization to complete the application, including specific details of the internship or project that the Fellow will work on during the Fellowship.

Project-based Applicants:

Each of these applicants should work with the sponsoring organization and a Fellowship alum or mentor to develop and present a project proposal that clearly addresses or advances one of the Fellowship’s areas of interest on the Island in one or more ways. The proposal should demonstrate the project’s potential short- or long-term impact. Applicants who present projects or activities involving collaboration with another Fellow, mentor or organization and/or involving the larger Vineyard community, have the strongest chance of being selected for an interview.

The Interview:

Within eight weeks of the application due date, each applicant will be notified as to whether he or she will progress to the interview stage. The Fellowship’s Selection Committee will interview each such applicant. The Fellowship is a highly competitive program. Selection for an interview does not mean that a Fellowship will be awarded.

Criteria for Selection:

The Selection Committee may consider the following criteria, among others, when reviewing a Fellowship candidate’s application:

  • a plan to take advantage of the Fellowship by pursuing undergraduate education, graduate education or professional training, and to apply those newly learned skills in one or more of the Fellowship’s areas of interest;
  • a project proposal that furthers the applicant’s professional development in one or more of the Fellowship’s areas of interest;
  • a clear understanding of the type of work in one or more of the Fellowship’s areas of interest that the applicant finds most interesting and achievable;
  • maximum potential for producing an early impact in one or more of the Fellowship’s areas of interest;
  • relevant work or volunteer experience;
  • a good relationship with and the support of the nominating organization and, if applicable, the applicant’s Mentor;
  • a plan for personal and professional growth; and
  • financial need.

The Fellowship Award:

Each applicant will be notified of the Selection Committee’s decision within two weeks after the interview process is completed. Applicants may reapply in subsequent years.

Instructions for nominating an individual for a Vision Fellowship

All applicants must be nominated in writing by a local non-profit organization or a progressive business committed to working within one or more of the Vision Fellowship’s areas of interest, all of which emphasize Island sustainability. Priority will be given to applicants who have a prior relationship with the nominating or sponsoring organization and/or experience working or volunteering in the specified area(s) of interest.

Nomination letters should be no longer than two pages and should describe:

  1. the candidate’s qualifications, including all relevant volunteer or paid work and academic experience;
  2. the candidate’s intended course of education or professional development or the candidate’s qualifications to carry out the proposed project;
  3. the relationship between the nominating organization and the candidate, including the role and qualifications of the Mentor (if applicable);
  4. the type of support, including but not limited to internship opportunities that the nominating organization is prepared to offer should the candidate be awarded the fellowship; and
  5. contact information for both the nominator and the candidate.

Nomination letters should be submitted via email to

Contact for further information:

Melissa McKee Hackney, Program Director

Mailing address:

Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship
PMB #132
455 State Road
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

Physical address:

Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship
455 State Road, Unit 18
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568