High school seniors, community organizers and a police sergeant are among the 18 Islanders awarded financial support by the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship this week.

Founded to help Martha’s Vineyard residents gain education and professional skills they can put to use in the community, the nonprofit has supported 112 fellows since its first grants in 2006, co-founder Pam Kohlberg said.

“The original germ of the idea was, how could we as a family give back to Martha’s Vineyard in a strategic and sustainable way,” said Ms. Kohlberg, who established the fellowship with her mother, Nancy Kohlberg, and sister Karen Davis.

“We have always believed in the power of education,” she said.

The fellowships support Islanders beginning or continuing their undergraduate studies, as well as older Vineyard residents seeking advanced degrees in their career fields.

“We realized that . . . mid-career support was really important,” Ms. Kohlberg said.

“They just needed that one other puzzle piece in their resume and credentials that could really boost them to go much farther,” she said. “And they’re very committed, always, to staying on the Island.”

The 2020 Vineyard Vision Fellows receiving tuition support for their higher education are Sadie Dix, who is earning a master’s of science degree in nutrition, communication and behavior change from Tufts with the goal of increasing access to nutritious food; Karen Dowd, who is pursuing a master’s of social work degree from Simmons University in order to help improve services for Vineyard seniors; Jane Norton, for a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling through Goddard College; and Tisbury police sergeant Max Sherman, for his Northeastern University studies toward a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in criminal justice.

Three Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School seniors received two-year fellowships to begin their undergraduate studies, and two past fellows were awarded support for their junior and senior years in college.

Dashiell L. Christy plans to earn a degree in agroecology at the University of Vermont. Gregory Clark aims to earn a degree in fisheries management and conservation with a minor in environmental sciences. Jada Randolph’s goal is a dual degree in history and secondary education from Lesley University.

Previous fellows (2018) John Goncalves, studying fire science and paramedicine at Anna Maria College, and Matteus Scheffer, pursuing aquaculture and fishery science at the University of Rhode Island, received their second fellowships.

Along with tuition for higher education, the Vineyard Vision Fellowship also supports Islanders with projects on the Vineyard, providing financial support and pairing them with mentors.

This year’s class of project fellows includes Woody Filley, who will focus on solutions for the Island’s construction and demolition waste; Kim Garrison, who will work with school district leaders to develop a comprehensive behavioral health plan for students; and Heather Quinn and Kim D’Arcy of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, to create and oversee a new position designed to increase the Island’s sharply limited child care options for infants and toddlers.

All three of these projects were recommended by an advisory committee of former Vision Fellows, Ms. Kohlberg said.

Fellowships also were awarded to Patricia (Paddy) Moore of Healthy Aging MV, to map the services available for Island seniors aging at home and work with other organizations to fill the gaps; Kayte Morris, executive director of the Island Food Pantry of Martha’s Vineyard, to create a support hub at the pantry for referrals and connections to other services; and Julie Schmidt, J.P. Hitesman and Beth Kramer for the VIP Island Connections Project, sponsored by the Vineyard Independence Partnership to support Islanders with disabilities.

“We’re inspired and heartened each year, because each year so many incredible, really passionate, really visionary people come to us,” said Melissa Hackney, the fellowship’s program director.

“They have a passion and commitment to trying to solve some of the more intractable problems on the Island. The goal for us is to support them and empower them.”