If the coronavirus pandemic has made life more difficult for many Islanders, it has also illuminated the extraordinary generosity of the larger community.

Starting in January, Martha’s Vineyard public schools will introduce a Covid-19 screening program, offering families some comfort as their kids return to class, thanks in part to support from Martha’s Vineyard Bank’s Charitable Foundation and MVYouth, a funding organization focused on children and young adults.

It is just the latest example of the remarkable benefits of living on an Island where wealth disparities are all too easy to see. While there are real and important tensions between those for whom the Vineyard is a pleasant escape and those who are barely scraping by, there is also an ethic of giving back that is sometimes taken for granted.

Each year, Island students receive millions of dollars in scholarships. The Island boasts not one but six public libraries. Reduced-fee and free lessons are available for activities such as tennis, horseback riding and sailing. There is, among other things, a YMCA, a hospital, a Boys & Girls club, a playhouse, a museum, a community arts center, a food pantry, a sober home, a homeless shelter, even an organization (the Red Stocking Fund) that gives holiday gifts to children — all subsidized by generous donors. As the pandemic rages throughout the country, everyone on Martha’s Vineyard has the opportunity to be tested quickly and easily.

To say this is all unusual for a community with fewer than 20,000 year-round residents would be a grave understatement.

The ethic of giving on the Island has long and deep roots, beginning with neighbors helping neighbors in emergencies and moments of personal difficulty. Fundraising in the form of bake sales and car washes morphed into auctions and fancy dinners under tents. In the past few years, it has been heartening to see the Island’s larger nonprofit organizations and major funders become more coordinated and disciplined in their approach to channeling money to where it is most needed.

Just this week, MVYouth announced $843,000 in grants to support the school testing initiative, a center for autistic children, career development at the high school as well as the restoration of the Shenandoah sailing ship. And the Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard, a longtime Island funding group, announced it was changing its name to the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation to better describe its expanded role in helping raise and direct contributions to organizations helping Islanders.

We take a moment to thank the many donors, big and small, for their many contributions to the Island: the Martha’s Vineyard Bank’s Charitable Foundation and the other Island banks, MVYouth, the Vineyard Vision Fellowship, the Tower and Edey foundations and the many individuals who donate generously to the benefit of all. To all who share their love of Martha’s Vineyard, please join them in remembering to include Island charities in your holiday giving.