In light of recent events, we think it is important that the public be informed.

Our Island Club began in August 2005 with Cronig’s, Island Propane, and Jim’s Gas as the three anchor businesses.

The club’s initial residency requirements were consistent with the Steamship Authority’s qualifications for the Islander excursion program. However, when we and our merchant partners determined that these did not target the intended community — those who live and work on Martha’s Vineyard — we modified them to their and our satisfaction. And when issues arose, as is often the case with loyalty programs such as this, where some attempt to take undue advantage, we worked with our same merchant partners who continue to generously support a program that benefits the customers whose patronage they clearly value.

The club’s residency requirements are as follows:

• Each member must vote on-Island or be employed or self employed by an on-Island business for at least six consecutive months, that provides a regular and ongoing product/service to Islanders.

• Further, we take into consideration health care and education service that benefit the Island community that is not provided in six consecutive months. Also, other special circumstances are considered.

• We understand the challenges that our immigrant population face, and have encouraged their participation. From the beginning our website has been available in Portuguese.

• We recognize the contribution to our community of all who live and work on-Island, including tradespeople, store owners and their employees, service providers, nurses, teachers, town employees, professionals, physicians, school administrators, and health and wellness providers.

During the 12-plus years of the program, the club has provided hundreds of free memberships to residents of Island Elderly Housing and Dukes County Regional Housing, and clients of Vineyard Healthcare Access, the Food Pantry, Serving Hands, and the Red Stocking Fund.

Our program is one of inclusion.

Geoff Rose and Jonathan Bernstein
Oak Bluffs and Chilmark

The writers are co-founders of Our Island Club.