In this season of giving, we are even more appreciative of our Martha’s Vineyard home, its sense of community, and those groups and individuals that work tirelessly to protect and nurture it. Over the last thirty years, we have been able to deepen our connections to our community, enabling us to use our work to help further the missions of local non-profits and drive meaningful change. As photographers on Martha’s Vineyard, we can provide real value for local organizations by highlighting what they do. Whether it’s providing images that make it into their newsletter, website, or annual report, our photography offers these groups high-quality assets that represent the importance of their work. It’s the least we can do for those that do so much.
In addition to providing discounted and in-kind photography services, Randi also volunteers her own time to many of our local organizations, those she feels most inspired by and connected to. She is grateful both on a professional and personal level that she can continue to deepen her roots within the Martha’s Vineyard community through her work and her personal passions.
Here’s a look at some of the great work being done by our local non-profits and the ways Randi Baird Photography (RBP) helps to support their mission:
Who they are:
Misty Meadows offers inclusive equine-assisted enrichment programs for people of all ages and abilities. They provide a nurturing environment where horses and humans work together to build relationships, overcome adversity, and find unconditional acceptance, peace, and strength. Their programs encompass a unique blend of teaching based on building mental, emotional, and physical connections with horses using non-verbal communication. Through observation, unmounted groundwork, and riding horses, their teachings go beyond handling horses to encourage critical thinking, empathy, and boundaries.
The work they do is profoundly effective across participants from 2 to 102 years old. With the help of 26 community partners, they have created over 3,800 connections in 2022 through their direct services and community education and outreach! This year they more than doubled the number of people they have impacted. 2022 marked the return of their Veteran’s program, an extension of their work with Island Autism Group, and the development of their latest youth program, the Teen Advisory Board, among many other impactful accomplishments.
What we’ve done for them:
We’ve long been inspired by the work that they do with animals, the confidence they build with their students, and the healing properties of the relationships they cultivate. Randi first came to learn about Misty Meadow while photographing their programs, staff, and herd for their website images in 2016. She continued her professional relationship with the organization over the last several years, then began volunteering and joined the Board of Directors in 2020, and is going into her second term. This summer she helped organize a spectacular fundraising event at Misty Meadows with author Geraldine Brooks and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. which helped raise significant funds to support Misty’s programming and the participants they serve.
What you can do for them:
Donate! All of Misty Meadow’s unique and transformative equine-assisted programs are subsidized at a rate of 82% of the true cost, meaning individual contributions are crucial to their mission.
Get involved! Misty is always looking for friendly, dedicated people to help with their programs. They have 120 active volunteers and counting! Many positions are available and no horse experience is necessary. Your participation helps them fulfill their mission — to connect all individuals with the powerful benefits of therapeutic and equine activities.
Shop! Consider Misty when shopping from Amazon. You shop, Amazon gives! AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Misty Meadows every time you shop, at no cost to you. Additionally, you can shop Misty’s AmazonSmile Wishlist and help them purchase much-needed equipment.
Island Grown Initiative
Who they are: Island Grown Initiative’s (IGI) mission is to build a regenerative and equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard that engages, informs, and integrates the community. IGI works hard to increase local food production, reduce and redirect food waste, and expand access to healthy food for all Islanders.
This year marked the fifteen-year anniversary of Island Grown Schools which continues to provide educational programs for people of all ages. It also marked the first full year since IGI took over the Island Food Pantry where they currently serve 3200+ registered clients. Other accomplishments in 2022 include providing 2,000 lessons, 10,200 summer lunches, and 75 field trips to local school children and gleaning 50,000 pounds of produce that helped yield 400,000 servings for our food-insecure friends and neighbors.
With the need for more space and additional resources, IGI is expanding on the site of their 40-acre farm with an all-electric Education and Innovation Center that will also include workforce housing, a much-needed resource. The farm is where IGI researches, experiments, and innovates with climate-friendly ways to increase local food production. This year they grew 80,000 pounds of fresh produce while practicing regenerative farming, and the expanded farm promises even more progress.
What we’ve done for them: As a founding member of IGI and former Board President, Randi has been active with the organization since its inception in 2006. Today she chair’s the building committee for the next chapter of IGI. Over the years RBP has provided photography services for the organization’s wide variety of events and programs, including their gleaning program, Food Hub production, Mobile Poultry Processor, and others. Our photography has helped them best illustrate the extent of their work and it has been used across their website, blog, social media, and press.
What you can do for them:
Donate! Hindered by seasonal jobs, fixed incomes, and high housing and food costs, many people lack access to affordable, healthy food on Martha’s Vineyard. Your donation helps move IGI’s work further. Consider a one-time donation, a matching gift through your employer, a monthly giving program, or a planned gift. The seeds IGI plants today will be harvested by Islanders for generations to come!
Volunteer! Volunteers are the heartbeat of IGI and provide an essential function within their organization. Last year they saw 6,350 hours in volunteer work alone. Help them further support the community by volunteering your time to harvest food as part of their gleaning program, process food at many of their partner organizations, or sort and stock donations at the Food Pantry, among other opportunities!
Who they are: The Island Housing Trust (IHT) is a non-profit organization that supports a diverse and vital community on Martha’s Vineyard by creating and sustaining permanently affordable housing solutions, both rental and ownership. Over the past 18 years, they have sold and rented 152 homes and apartments, providing hope and opportunity to hundreds of low, moderate, and middle-income Island families seeking a dignified solution to their affordable housing needs.
This year IHT showed no signs of slowing down and continued its urgent work to end housing insecurity on Martha’s Vineyard, one of the biggest factors threatening our year-round community. In 2022 they completed 20 year-round affordable apartments at Kuehn’s Way in Tisbury. The new neighborhood features 20 apartments clustered into 10 duplexes, surrounded by many trails of conservation land, and is expected to be able to reach net zero energy with their plans to install roof-mounted solar panels.
Additionally this year, IHT completed two affordable housing units at Old Courthouse Road in West Tisbury, the former site of the town’s firehouse. In Edgartown, they moved forward with the development of Meshacket Commons, in partnership with Affirmative Investments, and were elected by the Town of Edgartown to construct 40 affordable homes across 14 buildings. The proposed Meshacket Commons neighborhood will consist of 36 homes of affordable rental housing and 4 ownership homes off of Meshaket Road. In Oak Bluffs, they continue making progress on the Southern Tier affordable housing project which will offer 60-65 rental units on a 7.8-acre site in Oak Bluffs.
As the only non-profit developer on Martha’s Vineyard, IHT continues to be selected to build new affordable housing projects, including a four-unit project in Aquinnah and the 401 State Road affordable housing project in West Tisbury.
What we’ve done for them: Since its inception, we have regularly provided staff and Board headshots as well as architectural photography to tell the story of IHT’s mission, and the homeowners and tenants that benefit from their work. Our photography has captured final builds, in-process shots, ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings to help further promote their services to potential donors and recipients while bringing more awareness to the general public.
What you can do for them:
Donate! IHT’s goal is to help end housing insecurity on Martha’s Vineyard by creating 150 additional year-round ownership and rental homes and working with partners and supporters to create additional housing by the end of 2025.
To accomplish this challenge they need to raise $60 million over the next five years by working in partnership with Island towns, the state, other housing organizations, and supporters and investors. Your donation can help them solve nearly half of our Island-wide housing needs within the next five years. Consider a one-time donation, a multi-year pledge, a donation of stocks and/or securities, or invest in the organization through a number of different options.
Who they are: Vineyard Havens is an organization that hosts families of adult and pediatric cancer patients in houses on Martha’s Vineyard for vacations of up to a week. Inspired by her own son’s fight against Wilms tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, Jeanne DeSanto launched Vineyard Havens in 2019.
Vacations can heal and no one deserves to rest and relax more than a family in hard times. That’s why Vineyard Havens gives the gift of an all-expenses-paid vacation so families facing the stress and struggles of cancer are able to unwind and reconnect while appreciating the peace, beauty, and tranquility of Martha’s Vineyard. The organization is partnered with the Jimmy Fund Clinic at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which recommends families for the program based on their child’s treatment schedule.
In 2022 Vineyard Havens continued to grow the organization, fortifying more partnerships on Martha’s Vineyard and beyond. They served 24 families, essentially gifting 160 people with a memorable week on Martha’s Vineyard. This year they worked with the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to serve their first patient who lives on-Island, providing a special staycation for them and their family.
What we’ve done for them: RBP has offered family portrait sessions to the visiting families, giving them an unforgettable experience and leaving them with timeless mementos they can cherish forever.
What you can do for them:
Donate! Any and all contributions make a difference. A donation of $1,900 will sponsor 100% of a deserving family’s vacation in a donated property. Your contributions can help purchase Round Trip Ferry Tickets ($350), Professional Beach Photos ($400), or a Family Stipend ($700). Donations also help to cover the cost of a rental property when Vineyard Havens no longer has donated properties available.
Offer up your haven! Own a home on Martha’s Vineyard? Consider giving away an open rental week for free or at a discount and consider becoming a Vineyard Havens family home donor. More homes are desperately needed so that the organization can meet even a fraction of the demand.
Client’s Choice Program
In addition to providing time and photography services to these organizations, and inspired by Feiner Real Estate giving back, doing good program, RBP initiated its own Client’s Choice initiative in 2021 to further our contributions. This allows us to deepen our support for island organizations by donating 10% of our annual proceeds, based on the local non-profit preference of our clients.
We at RBP wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season this year. We hope you are able to appreciate your time with those closest to you and reflect back on all we have to be grateful for.