The Fellowship

The Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship


The Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship is dedicated to encouraging a healthy and vibrant Vineyard future by investing in promising individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the Island and to the ideals of sustainability. The Vision Fellowship supports people seeking to enhance their understanding of the challenges to the Island’s environment and social fabric with the goal of helping them become effective leaders in maintaining the unique nature of Martha’s Vineyard for future generations.

Vision Fellowship’s Areas of Interest Emphasize Island Sustainability

The Fellowship is interested in individuals pursuing Island-based careers and projects in the following areas:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Alternative and Renewable Energy
  • Conservation and Biodiversity
  • Education, including Environmental Education
  • Health Care (including Mental Health), Social Services and Elder Services
  • Island Cultures
  • Shellfish and Fishery Management and Conservation
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Architecture/Built Environment
  • Transportation Alternatives
  • Water (including Nitrogen Management and Water Resources)
  • Waste (including Composting and Recycling)

Mentors, Community and Knowledge

The Vision Fellowship emphasizes the importance of mentoring, community building and knowledge sharing.

Each applicant for a Fellowship must be nominated in writing by an Island-based sponsoring organization, preferably one with which the candidate has had a working or volunteer relationship. A sponsoring organization is an Island-based non-profit organization or progressive business committed to the preservation of the Island’s culture or environment.

Each accepted Fellow will have a mentor, typically but not always, from within the Fellow’s sponsoring organization.

Fellows are expected, upon completion of their Fellowship programs, to give back to the Island by returning to work or volunteer in fields that support a healthy, sustainable Island.

Current Fellows, alumni, mentors and sponsoring organizations form a powerful community of Islanders who meet regularly to share knowledge of their particular fields and of their work towards the shared goal of a sustainable future for Martha’s Vineyard.

The Fellowship is a highly competitive program.

The Fellowship Award

Number of Fellowships per year:

The number of Fellowships to be awarded is determined annually by the Vision Fellowship steering committee.

Amount of Fellowship Award for Undergraduates:

Each undergraduate award will be for up to $25,000 per year for up to two-years.  An undergraduate Fellow may reapply for, but is not guaranteed, an additional award of up to $25,000 per year for up to two additional years.

Amount of Fellowship Award for Graduate Degree, Professional Development Programs and Project-based Fellowships:

The amount of the award for graduate and professional development fellows and project-based fellowships will be determined on a case-by-case basis. These Fellowships typically will last one to two years.

Sponsor Grants for Fellows’ Summer Internships:

An annual Sponsor Grant of up to $5,000 is available for each Fellow engaged in a degree program who participates in an internship or sustainability project. This grant is available for sponsoring organizations which are 501(c)(3) organizations and is typically to be used as follows:

  • $2,000 to fund a project or purpose of its choice but ideally one that enhances the Fellow’s experience; and
  • $3,000 to cover or supplement the Fellow’s summer salary, when applicable.

Opportunity Grants for Undergraduates and Graduate Students:

Up to $3,500 per student per year may be awarded to Fellows in degree programs to explore education and career paths through study abroad, for volunteer or internship experiences abroad or in the U.S., for attendance at conferences or workshops, to facilitate research projects and for other approved uses. All approved uses must further a Fellows’ educational or professional development plan. A Fellow is not entitled to opportunity grant funds. Such funds are awarded on a case-by-case basis. Successful applications for such funds will demonstrate that their use will clearly further the Fellow’s educational or development plan.

Fellowship Components

Orientation and Introduction:

All new Fellows will attend an orientation in May of the year in which they are awarded their Fellowships. The orientation involves the Fellows and their mentors and will be followed by an introductory gathering with the Fellowship Community, at which the new Fellows will be introduced and each will make a brief presentation regarding the goals of his or her fellowship.

Fellows in Undergraduate, Graduate or Professional Development Programs:

Professional and Educational Development Plan:

Each individual who is awarded a Fellowship in a degree or professional development program will work with his or her mentor and the Fellowship’s program director to develop a professional and educational development plan.

Internship or Sustainability Project:

Fellows who are enrolled in degree (undergraduate or graduate) programs are expected to take part in internships each summer over the course of the Fellowship. Internships may take place on-Island or off-Island, at the Fellow’s sponsoring organization or at an organization of the Fellow’s choosing, as long as the work is aligned with the Fellow’s educational and professional development goals. Fellows involved in non-degree activities also are expected to take part in an internship, or to undertake a project that benefits the community and relates to Island sustainability.

Fellows in Project-Based Fellowships:

Refinement and Implementation:

Each individual or team that is awarded a project-based Fellowship will work with the sponsoring organization and a Fellowship alum or mentor to refine and implement the project and will report regularly to the Vision Fellowship’s program director regarding the project’s progress.

Fellowship Community Gatherings:

All Fellows will be considered part of the Fellowship Community from the start date of their Fellowships. The Fellowship Community, which is composed of current Fellows, alumni and mentors, meets regularly, typically once a month, to connect and exchange information. Fellowship Community members are invited to attend and participate in these gatherings as often as possible.

Community Vision Grants:

Mentors and alumni may submit proposals to access funds for projects and activities that will increase impact in the Fellowship’s areas of interest and that promote learning, information sharing and collaboration among the Fellowship Community and more widely. A maximum of $10,000 is available annually for such projects. Contact the Fellowship’s program director for information on applying for Community Vision funds.

Vision Fellowship Potential Candidates

The Fellowship strives to achieve its mission by supporting:

  1. students in degree programs at undergraduate four year colleges or two year colleges, graduate schools, or a variety of technical and professional schools;
  2. individuals participating in non-degree activities and training (e.g., certification training and workshops) who are seeking to enhance their professional knowledge and skills; and
  3. individuals who propose a project or activity that clearly addresses or advances sustainability on the Island in one or more ways.

To be considered, an individual should be a Martha’s Vineyard resident who demonstrates a commitment to remain on or return to the Island after completion of the Fellowship and to contribute to the Island community on a continuing basis.  The Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship is a highly competitive program.

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 he or she finds most interesting and achievable;
  • maximum potential for producing an early impact on Island sustainability;
  • relevant work or volunteer experience;
  • a good relationship with and the support of the nominating organization and, if applicable, the Mentor;
  • a plan for personal and professional growth; and
  • financial need.

Conflict of interest policy

The Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship makes every effort to avoid conflicts of interest in its selection of fellows and sponsoring organizations. Members of the Vision Fellowship Selection Committee and their immediate family members, as well as directors, officers and employees of the Philip Evans Scholarship Foundation, must disclose any possible conflict of interest arising from an affiliation with an individual or organization seeking a fellowship, scholarship or grant through the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship, or an affiliation with any company or organization with whom the Foundation is proposing to enter a contractual agreement. If a conflict is identified, the conflicted committee member must recuse himself or herself from the selection process.