Emily Bramhall’s many labors for Islanders has earned her this year’s Spirit of the Vineyard Award. The honor, sponsored by Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, thanks volunteers who have put their hearts and souls into service to their community.
Emily served on the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital board for many years. She was an active, thoughtful participant and influential voice in hospital policy. In addition, she wanted to involve young people and the business community in supporting our only hospital. To that end, she started the Nightingales, a group of young women who held an annual party, initially on Valentine’s Day, and later in the summer, to raise money for the hospital. Like the established Hospital Auxiliary, the Nightingales used the proceeds to purchase equipment for the hospital. She also organized the business community to give 10 per cent on the tenth, 10 per cent of their proceeds from sales on August 10, every year, to the hospital. Over 250 businesses participated.
Emily also served on the board of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, and was a leader of the committee to establish an endowment fund for hospice. Thanks largely to her efforts, that fund is now a healthy resource to meet the annual operating deficit of hospice, which does not charge for its services, but relies solely on contributions and earnings from the endowment.
The longest-serving board member of Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the Vineyard’s local land trust, Emily has served as president of Sheriff’s Meadow since 2008. Through a period of tumult and transition, Emily ably led Sheriff’s Meadow with confidence, resolve and an optimistic spirit. Her childhood experiences at Ox Pond Meadow and Cedar Tree Neck have motivated her to make sure that opportunities to enjoy and be inspired by the natural world are available to all. Through her presidency and her chairmanship of the Sheriff’s Meadow property management committee, Emily has presided over improvements that include new trails opened at the Phillips Preserve in Vineyard Haven, Huckleberry Barrens in Edgartown, and Brookside Ridge Preserve and Quansoo Farm in Chilmark.
Ms. Bramhall recently joined the board of the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha’s Vineyard. She has served on the Chilmark school advisory committee and was influential in the design and decoration of the new Tisbury Steamship Authority office.
Emily Bramhall listens, deliberates and acts. She demonstrates strong leadership both in financing and in ideas, sustaining the services that keep the Island the community-centered place it is.
The Spirit of the Vineyard Award, given annually, is sponsored by Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The award honors people who have served one or more nonprofit organizations on the Island and whose work has made a difference to individuals and to the community as a whole.
Past recipients are Jack Ware, Estelle Surprenant, Ron Rappaport, the Possible Dreams Auction Committees Past and Present, Nellie Mendenhall, Kerry Alley, Dorothy Bangs, Judy Williamson, the Martha’s Vineyard Harley Riders, Polly Brown, Melinda Loberg and Denys and Marilyn Wortman.
A breakfast in Emily’s honor will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School culinary arts cafeteria from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Emily will receive a medallion and her name will be engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. All are invited.