April 6, 2020
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Looks to License Plates

August 18, 2015 —Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, which provides a host of safety net social services on the island, is sponsoring a campaign to create a Martha’s Vineyard specialty Massachusetts license plate that will help it generate a new revenue stream.

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), which is acting as the principle nonprofit sponsor for the new plate, said it will use revenue generated to fund its programs and services, as well as donate 20% of annual proceeds to other island nonprofits that benefit youth and elders.

MVCS said it has already collected 740 applications and hopes the plates will be ready by next August.

Previously, the Registry of Motor Vehicles required nonprofits to collect 1,500 orders before the state would produce the plates. A new law taking effect in January reduced the number to 750. The new law also extends from two years to five years the time in which a nonprofit needs to generate 3,000 applications.

Mary Korba, MVCS communications manager, said, “If we’re able to build enough interest and ultimately obtain 3,000 plates, this plate could have a lasting effect on the Vineyard community. MVCS’ goal is to raise $120,000 annually.

“Provided we receive 3,000 applications within five years, the plates will continue as a permanent specialty license plate option. Ultimately this will mean a minimum of $120,000 in revenue a year with 20% of annual proceeds going to other island nonprofits that benefit youth and elders.”

She added that the new registration plate revenue will provide much needed revenue, supplementing funds raised through the annual MVCS Possible Dreams Auction.

Anyone with a car registered in the state of Massachusetts may purchase the Martha's Vineyard specialty plate. Each specialty license plate will cost $40, plus a $20 plate swap fee and any applicable registration fees.

The plate will feature a stylized image of a steamship, designed by Gwyn McAllister, who noted that the steamship is “part of just about everyone’s Vineyard experience. Every car here came on the ferry at some point so I thought it was an appropriate symbol for a license plate. And, in my opinion, the steamship is just as picturesque and emblematic as anything on the Island."

In recent years, a number of Massachusetts nonprofits have turned to special license plates for supplemental revenue, but while the tags can generate a steady source of new funds, it takes a concerted marketing effort.

Paul Rumul, chairman of the Cape Cod and Islands License Plate Committee previously told massnonprofit news, “In order to be successful, you need to appeal to a large audience statewide.”

Since it was launched in 1996, the Cape and Islands specialty plate has generated more than $17 million.

More than half of the permanent Island population relies on MVCS for assistance that includes services for mental health and substance abuse, medication management, crisis intervention, a day center for people with mental illness, support services for families with disabled members, an early childhood day program, and help for 800 families. MVCS is the third largest employer on the island, after Martha's Vineyard Hospital and the school system.

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