Some take the bus to Edgartown after school to play games or do homework in a safe, supervised space. Some head to a spot across from the regional high school on weekends to work on their flips and ollies. Some are learning to play the violin or viola, at no cost to their parents.

These are the hundreds of children who participate in programs provided by the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, the Martha’s Vineyard Skate Park Association and the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society.

And now thanks to grants totaling more than half a million dollars awarded this week by MVYouth, they will be better served going into the future.

It’s clear that MVYouth, the novel philanthropic group begun two years ago, is working. The Island owes a debt of thanks to the founders, funders and advisors for helping to build a better community by supporting youth programs.

MVYouth was the brainchild of Jim Swartz and Dan Stanton, summer residents and friends who had a new vision for giving on the Vineyard. Forty founders pledged twenty-five thousand dollars a year for four years, with a goal of donating a million dollars a year to youth causes. There is no additional overhead because founders pay separately out of their own pockets for administrative expenses. This allows all the money to go directly to the two pillars of MVYouth: expansion grants to help nonprofits with building and capital needs, and a competitive need-based scholarship program for graduating seniors at the Island high school.

As valuable as the actual grants are, the real magic in MVYouth is in the hoops that grant applicants must jump through to get them. Executive director Lindsey Scott, backed by a dedicated board of community advisors, puts applicants through a rigorous vetting process that forces them to focus on what they are trying to achieve and why.

At a ceremony this week announcing the nonprofit grants, every grant recipient made a point of saying how valuable the advice and critique they received had been. Ron Rappaport, chairman of the advisory committee, noted in opening remarks that even when MVYouth does not immediately fund an organization, it works behind the scenes to help the groups hone their mission and improve their capacity to get funding in the future.

The expansion grants announced this week go to a disparate group.

Founded in 1937, the Boys & Girls Club today is a hub for kids from all over the Island. Its mission remains unchanged, as an after-school and summer recreation center for children of working Island families. It costs just twenty dollars a year to join. Director Peter Lambos was a club kid himself growing up. The club will use its grant money for badly needed repairs and upgrades at its facility, like a new roof, insulation shingles and a new gym floor.

The skate park association built its facility on leased land from the high school fourteen years ago on a shoestring budget. But the park was never completely finished due to lack of funds. Today the association has grown up, led by skaters who came of age on sidewalks and in parking lots before there was a built facility for skateboarding. The skate park association will use its grant money to finish the original design, expand its website and programs, and give out free safety equipment twice a year. The park’s location near the high school, the Y, the ice arena and Community Services has been aptly dubbed Youth Town.

The chamber music society is well known for its excellent concerts throughout the year, but many Islanders may not know that the society provides free classical music instruction on stringed instruments to elementary school students. Instruments are also provided for free. The society will use its grant money to buy more pint-sized violins and violas, and also develop an artist-in-residence program to promote interest in classical music.

Last year, grants from MVYouth made it possible for the Islandwide Youth Collaborative to coordinate a range of services for children under a single roof and funded the completion of the Little League’s Penn Field.

MVYouth and its funders are surely not the only generous and creative donors who are helping to fill needs on Martha’s Vineyard. But by providing guidance as well as money, they are making a meaningful difference to perhaps the most important demographic on the Vineyard: our children.