Ever since middle school Charlie Parkhurst knew he wanted to go to college in California. He had never been there but liked adventures and the idea of living on the west coast excited him. His dream came true when he was accepted to the University of California Los Angeles to be part of the class of 2019.

But then came the uncertainty of how to pay for school, Mr. Parkhurst said in a recent interview with the Gazette. That is where MV Youth, which provides scholarships and grants to support Island students, came in. Mr. Parkhurst was part of the first group of Vineyarders to receive an MV Youth scholarship as a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 2015. The scholarship he received paid for him to attend UCLA.

“Looking back on it, without MV Youth I either wouldn’t have gone [to UCLA]…or I would have gone and been absolutely over-encumbered with debt,” Mr. Parkhurst said. “It was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.”

Started in 2014, MV Youth relies on private donations to provide grants for Island organizations serving youth and gives scholarships to help students afford college or trade school. Over the years the group has given away over $12.5 million in grants and scholarships.

Now Mr. Parkhurst has gone from MV Youth recipient to donor as he recently contributed $6,000 so that others can continue to take advantage of the same opportunities he has had. Mr. Parkhurst, who lives in New York city and works for Stoic Strategies, a hedge fund which focuses on cryptocurrency, said giving back to the Island has always been a goal of his.

“It was a no brainer. Since I was young I had hopes and dreams of being able to make money and then give back,” he said.

As a political science major, Mr. Parkhurst originally thought he would one day attend law school. But then his entrepreneurship minor brought him to the business school where he started down the path he is on now. In 2016 he started trading penny stocks before moving on to futures. He would regularly wake up at 5 a.m. California time to trade before the market opened on the east coast.

About a year after Mr. Parkhurst got into trading he discovered cryptocurrency, he said. Immediately he became hooked and spent hours reading and investing. His first job out of college was working for Walmart’s e-commerce team, but even then his heart remained in trading crypto.

Mr. Parkhurst said Stoic is a start-up company and he was the first person hired so the new job also scratched his entrepreneurial itch.

“It’s a dream that I’ve had to have my career gravitate towards this area for a while now,” he said.

Mr. Parkhurst said he doubts he would have discovered his passion without the MV Youth scholarship.

“It would not have been possible had I not gotten this scholarship, absolutely not.”

And he looks forward to continuing to give back.

“It would be great to be an [MV Youth] founder one day, the highest tier of donors,” he said. “But who knows, I’m just going to keep working hard.”