The Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard has changed its name to the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation as part of a broader effort to reorient the unique organization in changing times, leaders announced Monday.

“We’re changing our name, and we’re changing our perspective,” board member Isabelle Lew said. “The times require it.”

The organization, which has operated as an endowed trust since its founding in 1982, among other things provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to Island students and nonprofits annually.

But in a Zoom call with the Gazette Monday, leaders said the organization has mobilized in new ways since the start of the pandemic — with the name change reflecting their desire to work more closely as stewards of the Island’s ever-changing nonprofit landscape.

Leaders said the trust had been terminated and that the organization had been officially incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, known as the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation. (While the legal details are being completed, it will be the Permanent Endowment DBA the Community Foundation).

Although the organization had long been unofficially labeled a community fund, the official switch makes the organization more nimble in the face of the pandemic, leaders said.

“The Permanent Endowment has always been a community foundation, although our name did not define us that way,” board member Sandra Grymes said. “Part of the name change was we felt the community itself didn’t fully understand the breadth of what we did.”

The change from a trust to an incorporated nonprofit also allows the foundation to hire staff. Executive director Emily Bramhall and operations manager Jennifer Ray are currently the foundation’s only full-time employees.

Begun with an initial $60,000 bequest from the estate of Ruth Bogan, the foundation currently holds about $13 million in endowed (restricted) funds, with Brown Advisory serving as financial manager. The foundation has about $700,000 in unendowed (unrestricted) funds. During its 38-year history, the former endowment fund has distributed more than $3.5 million in scholarships and $4.5 million more in health, environmental, community and arts grants. It also sponsors the annual Creative Living Award, established in 1983 by a gift from Ruth Redding to honor her friend Ruth Bogan in recognizing an Islander who has enriched the quality of life on Martha’s Vineyard.

Ms. Bramhall and Ms. Lew said the organization has taken on new responsibilities since the pandemic began, helping to connect donors and starting a separate Emergency Response Fund. The organization has also begun to solicit donations, hoping to shift to a more proactive, rather than a reactive, community partner, leaders said.

“When Covid came, we needed to do a whole lot, and a whole lot fast,” Ms. Bramhall said.

Funding for programs like the Community Ambassador Partnership, which has trained translators to help with community outreach during the pandemic, has come from the new approach and the organization’s focus on fiscal sponsorship. According to its annual appeal, the organization distributed $825,000 in funds during 2020, including $90,000 in rent relief, $70,000 for educational assistance and $127,000 for food insecurity.

“Because of our bird’s eye view on the community, we’ve been wanting to more proactively put dollars toward community needs,” Ms. Lew said.

Ms. Bramhall said the name change came out of the pandemic, but that the community focus had existed since the organization’s founding — and would continue.

“It’s an exciting position to be in.”