History

Friends of Family Planning was formed in 1985 when two small, separate groups of concerned islanders joined forces to support family planning needs on the island.  As a result of the inspirational, grassroots work of the original members, the continuing dedication of new board members over the years, and the generous support of our numerous donors; Friends of Family Planning is alive and well today supporting our Martha’s Vineyard Family Planning Clinic.

Read on to see what we have accomplished as a board over the years. . .

2010

  • We were very excited this year to receive a $1000 grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Permanent Endowment Fund to bring Friends into the 21st century through the creation of our own website. A committee was formed and began immediately to speak with web designers with the plan of having at least a basic web site in place by next year.
  • An effort was made to update our database, and we began to consider the idea of a corporate sponsor for the Art Show. We agreed to continue to pursue this idea.
  • Sheldon Barr, the CEO of Health Imperatives , as well as a number of senior staff from the organization joined us at our annual meeting to update us on the budget situation, and we all appreciated the opportunity to meet them and ask questions.
  • The Art Show, as well as our ongoing fundraising allowed us to once again this year make a significant paydown on our mortgage.

2009

  • During our first year of “home” ownership we continued to renovate the space in order to get it just right, and we put in a handicap ramp and parking space.  With a mortgage to pay off, we also started looking for ways to reduce our expenses in order to continue to support the clinic while still finding funds to reduce and eventually eliminate the mortgage payments. We decided to eliminate the paid position of Board Coordinator, and divided up the responsibilities among the members. We were so pleased to be able to make a large additional payment on the mortgage in our very first year, thanks to our cost cutting measures and the generous donations of our supporters.
  • In a real tribute to the staff of the clinic and the quality of care that they provide, the mother of one of the patients made a $1000 donation to Friends!

2008

  • After slowly but steadily setting aside a nest egg to purchase a home for the clinic, and after much searching, we finally found a condo on State Road in Vineyard Haven that suited our needs.  We closed on February 21, 2008, and after significant renovations that created beautiful, private clinic space, we moved in on April 11, 2008. We held an open house in November to welcome the community into our new space.
  • This was also the year that the clinic began doing rapid HIV testing and offering Gardasil vaccinations against Human Papilloma Virus.

2007

  • This year Friends sponsored an event at the Whaling Church at which Mary Ann Sorrentino spoke about her book  The “A” Word: Real Women Tough Choices. We had an excellent turnout, and the presentation as well as the conversation it generated were very gratifying.
  • We received a grant from the Dukes County Charitable Foundation, we revised our by-laws to an at-large member to the executive committee in an effort to improve our leadership development.  After a hiatus of many years, we also re-opened the search for a real estate that allow us to purchase a permanent home for the clinic.

2006

  • This was a very busy year for Friends of Family Planning. The Vasectomy Reimbursement Project  was launched in April, and brochures describing the program were distributed to all Island doctor’s offices. By July, we already had 2 participants in the program. Patty Begley, the Program Director, enrolled in a nurse practitioner program to study to be a women’s health nurse practitioner, and we were happy to be apple to provide her with some financial support. We provided an honorarium for a clinic intern who volunteered at the office during the busy summer months.
  • In an effort to maintain community-wide visibility for the clinic, we met with staff from the Martha’s Vineyard Times and the Vineyard Gazette to redesign our ads, and we also started running some of our ads in Portuguese.
  • This year for the first time we solicited business underwriters for the Art Show Gala, and the response was very encouraging.
  • The AIDS Alliance closed this year, and Family Planning took over the responsibility for providing free anonymous HIV testing on the Island.

2005

  • After many years of looking at the possibility of a program to support men who want vasectomies, we developed plans and protocols for a Vasectomy Reimbursement Program, which would help defray the cost of vasectomy.
  • This year “Friends” was also able to help the family planning clinic in a number of practical ways.  We bought new file cabinets and a bookcase, purchased a postage machine, subsidized the cost of testing clinic clients for high risk Human Papilloma Virus, and continued to pay for clinic advertising in the Martha’s Vineyard Times.
  • The art show continued to be our major fundraising effort. We had a beautiful new sign created to hang at the Agricultural Hall throughout the 4 days of the show, and we also solicited poster entries from the Charter School for the first time.

2004

  • Because of ongoing financial threats to the statewide family planning budget, Friends began subsidizing the monthly rent payments for the clinic office space. In keeping with our mission to support the clinic in any way possible, we also painted the clinic bathroom, had a new sign painted for the outside of the clinic, and paid for advertising in the health issue of the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette.
  • There was a reproductive rights march in Washington DC which was attended by some staff and board members.
  • We were asked by Health Care of Southeastern Massachusetts to speak with some people on Cape Cod who were looking into starting a friends of family planning group on the Cape.