With a building capacity of just 100 people and an increasing demand for its services, the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club has long grown out of its current facility tucked away behind the Edgartown School. Now an ambitious plan to expand the clubhouse seems within reach.

In 2019, the club launched a capital campaign, hoping to raise $16 million for a new structure. Two years later, it closed on a complicated $2.8 million land deal. As the organization prepares for its annual summer fundraiser on Friday evening, A Night for the Blue and White, it has already raised $14 million.

“There are more kids that need the services than we have the space for to run,” said Julia Tarka, vice president of the board of directors. “And our services have expanded to include things that the space no longer supports.”

Though permitting hurdles remain, the club has completed the design phase of the project and hopes to break ground in the spring of 2024 at a nearby location, adjacent to the Edgartown recreation area off Robinson Road and running to the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road.

The nonprofit has raised $14 million of its $16 million capital campaign. — Jeanna Shepard

The Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club began in 1937. In recent years, the club has evolved from a physical space offering after-school and summer programming, to a wide-ranging youth development organization that includes health and wellness initiatives.

Executive director Dhakir Warren said the club currently has 279 members and up to 700 youth who engage with the club in some way each year. And the needs of the community have grown tremendously since the pandemic.

“We keep our nose to the grindstone to meet the emergent needs of families, and we really make sure that we’re meeting those needs,” Mr. Warren said. “It really is a holistic approach to serving youth.”

The club distributes close to 72,000 meals and snacks every school year, Mr. Warren said, all of which are prepared using just two induction burners and a hand-me-down stove located in a makeshift storage closet at the club. Before Covid, the club provided grab-and-go meals on weekdays for its members but then extended the service to weekends to meet the increased need.

Mr. Warren said families who have not historically struggled with housing and food insecurity are having increased difficulty providing for their kids at every level. The club sources food from Cronig’s and works with Island Grown Initiative to help provide families with perishable and nonperishable items, as well as toiletries and household items.

In November of 2022, it started the Blue Door Food Pantry.

“The pantry ensures that families can have their needs met, that they don’t have to make the choice between toothpaste and milk, socks and deodorant,” Mr. Warren said. “We are providing a comprehensive array of items that we know families need and often have to make really tough decisions to trade off.”

Mr. Warren said the need for youth mental health services has also skyrocketed. A new program funded through federal grants offers individual and family sessions with a youth mental health counselor.

And to meet the physical health needs of children, the club ensures its members have access to dental care through frequent pop-up clinics care of Polished Teeth, which travels to the Island and treats members at the club’s facility. The proposed expansion includes a dedicated space for the dental clinic, as well as for meetings with counselors.

The club also partners with nonprofit organizations across the Island including SailMV and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to make Island resources accessible. A partnership with the DJ Henry Dream Fund will be highlighted at Friday’s fundraiser, when a future gym will be dedicated to DJ Henry, who, as a student athlete, donated sports equipment to his financially struggling teammates.

In 2010, DJ was killed by a New York police officer. His parents, seasonal Vineyard residents Angella and Danroy Henry, created the DJ Henry Dream Fund in their son’s memory as a nonprofit scholarship organization to increase access for kids to participate in wellness, sports and recreation programs. The DJ Henry Dream Fund is the official sports and recreation partner of the Boys and Girls Club. The two organizations first made contact in November 2021, when the fund sponsored the club’s basketball league and skills and drills program.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to honor a young person who dedicated his time to ensuring that his peers had access, because that’s what we also dedicate our time to — making sure that our kids have access,” Mr. Warren said. “Our effort is to raise money for this gym that we can dedicate to DJ and ensure that there’s a place where his legacy can live on.”

Ms. Henry shared her gratitude for the Boys and Girls Club.

“This gesture ensures that a next generation will learn about DJ’s legacy and his generous spirit, his kindness toward others,” she said.

“We have a shared mission around making sure that Island children have great experiences,” Mr. Henry added. “Our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club enables them to leverage their resources beyond what they’d be able to if we couldn’t take off some of that pressure — we can help free up their resources to meet the other needs on the Island.”

The central purpose of the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club is to provide Island kids with the tools they need to succeed today, Mr. Warren said. Doing so, he feels, is essential for the individuals and for the Island’s future.

“These are the kids that are going to be the next generation of business owners, the next selectmen, the next municipal representatives — this is the next generation,” Mr. Warren said. “Thinking about how we invest in our kids now and how that sets them up for a positive future, how that sets our Island up for a positive future, is so critical to keep in mind as we consider how we invest in this club.”

A Night for the Blue and White takes place Friday, July 28 at the Friedman Estate in Edgartown. For tickets, information or to bid on the silent auction, visit mvbgclub.org.