Several records were broken this year at the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Possible Dreams auction. Raffle tickets sold out before everyone had settled into their seats. The organization received more donations from sponsorships alone than ever before: $168,500 from 58 sponsors. And in a surprise announcement, the Martha’s Vineyard Bank gifted $1 million for the Community Services campus overhaul, the largest gift in the bank’s 110-year history.

“It makes you realize what you do as an agency and a program is worthwhile, and the community is supporting it,” said Island Intervention Center director David Araujo as he watched people crowd into the vast white tents at the Tilton Farm in West Tisbury. The center was launched about two years ago to help people de-escalate from mental health and substance use crises.

The Possible Dreams auction raised over $400,000 this year and has long been the primary fundraiser for the Island’s principal provider of health and human services. Since 1979, the event has become a summer tradition for year-round and summer residents alike, adopting the refrain “neighbors helping neighbors.”

Crowd rises to its feet after announcement of $1 million gift from Martha's Vineyard Bank. — Jeanna Shepard

Sunday evening at the farm off Middle Road, Island band The Philly Project performed as the sun dipped below the trees. Hiking sandals and shorts were as prevalent as high heels and dresses.

Bill Brine of Chappaquiddick remembered the first Possible Dreams auction in 1979. He was working at the Harborside Inn at the time, where the event was held.

“I remember there was a ride along with the Steamship Authority ferry and you could go up in the wheelhouse,” he said. “I think it went for $100.”

Addressing the crowded tent of attendees, Community Services executive director Julie Fay said the organization reaches 6,000 Islanders annually through six core programs.

James Anthony, president and CEO of Martha's Vineyard Bank: “We thank and celebrate all the angels of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.” — Jeanna Shepard

“The need has gotten larger and larger, and we see no end to it at all,” Ms. Fay said.

Superintendent of schools Dr. Matthew D’Andrea also spoke, describing the relationship between Community Services and the Island public schools. He said in recent years, the Community Services counselors have embedded in schools on an ongoing basis.

“No longer do our students have to wait until after school when there are so many other activities that they’re engaged in. We can have this counseling for our students in the school during the school day,” he said.

Community Services has also been able to provide bilingual counselors for the public schools’ significant population of Brazilian students.

Mr. D’Andrea said that Community Services recovery coaches support students who are struggling with substance use disorder, and educators from Community Services’ Connect to End Violence program work with students to encourage healthy relationships.

“Over the last several years, we’ve been able to collaborate together and bring in some programs that have been tremendously helpful to our students and families,” he said.

The live auction, led by Sherry Truhlar of Virginia, featured 12 dreams, most of which focused on Islanders and Island experiences. An experience with metal sculptors at Tuck & Holand went for $10,000, twice. An opportunity to make Chilmark Chocolates with the chocolatiers sold for $15,000, also twice.

What it's all about—the future. — Jeanna Shepard

As always, the auction supported the organization’s regular services: counseling, child care, services for survivors of domestic abuse, people with mental illness and people with disabilities, among other things. But a $24 million capital campaign is also underway to fund a campus overhaul that is expected to break ground in October.

To a lengthy standing ovation, James Anthony, president and chief executive officer of Martha’s Vineyard Bank, took the opportunity to announce that the bank would be contributing $1 million to that capital project.

“We thank and celebrate all the angels of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services,” Mr. Anthony said. “We know that the future of our institutions relies on a bustling and healthy community.”