The Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha’s Vineyard announced this week that it has created a new fund and will hire its first full-time executive director, efforts designed to raise awareness of the organization and make more funds available more quickly on the Island.

Founded in 1982 as a community fund, the permanent endowment fund has more than $7 million in assets and has grown 82 per cent in the last two years. The endowment fund distributes earned interest from its asset base, now averaging more than $250,000 annually, in the form of charitable grants and scholarships.

The newly created Island Fund, with initial funding of $10,000, differs from the endowment fund in that donations made to the fund can be passed through or distributed within a calendar year. For example, the initial $10,000 will be distributed to new programs during 2008, board chairman Deborah Hale said.

“The word endowment is what I believe has governed us all along, and we will continue to operate the endowment fund as we have,” Mrs. Hale said this week. She said that in the last three years $300,000 has passed through the fund. “Really, [The Island Fund] formalizes our efforts to provide more money in a more immediate way. If people want to make a difference, the Island Fund is a way to do it,” she said.

The Island Fund is designed so donors can make annual contributions to groups and issues of interest but also to establish longer lasting, permanent funds to address the Island’s future charitable needs, expand the level of philanthropic support for Island organizations and to increase awareness about important issues among permanent and seasonal residents, Mrs. Hale said.

The new executive director will work with new donors, network with community organizations and manage daily operations, Mrs. Hale said.

The fund Web site is