Martha’s Vineyard Community Services has issued a call for artists to design a new Martha’s Vineyard license plate that could raise funds for the organization’s many support services.

Through a state program, charitable organizations can raise money through sales of a dedicated license plate. Community services announced this week that after planning work and consultation with the state registry of motor vehicles, they are beginning an initiative to create a special Vineyard license plate.

The first step is to design the license plate, and community services is inviting submissions for the design that will go on the left side of the license plate. Those of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels are invited to try their hand at a design that will be judged on creativity, uniqueness, reproducibility, inspiration and whether it captures the spirit of Martha’s Vineyard. The contest is open to Island residents and visitors and professional and amateur artists. According to community services, simpler designs are better. The community services website offers more information about how to submit a design.

The deadline for submitting a design is noon on Oct. 31.

The winner will be issued one of the first special license plates and will also receive a $200 gift certificate from the community services thrift shop.

And the winning design could also adorn thousands of license plates. For the plates to be manufactured, community services is required to collect 1,500 applications for the special plate, along with a $40 special plate fee for each application. The fees will be held in escrow until the 1,500 threshold is reached. When the license plates are renewed every two years, the owner must pay the standard registration cost of $60 along with the $40 special plate fee.

The revenue will be used to support community service’s programs, which reach more than 6,000 Vineyarders every year. The programs include early childhood programs, counseling, disability services and free, confidential services for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Community services said they would eventually plan to make annual grants available to other Island charities.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to generate a new source of funding,” community services executive director Juliette Fay said in a press release. “If we are able to build enough interest and obtain the required number of applications, this plate could have a lasting effect on the Vineyard community.”

For more information, contact Mary Korba at