Joe Cuzzupoli has always believed in putting his money where it can do the most good. As a longtime resident of Martha’s Vineyard, he saw an opportunity to do just that with a unique investment group – MVYouth.
Founded in 2014, MVYouth is a grassroots organization designed to provide much-needed money to support the young people of Martha’s Vineyard directly through scholarships and indirectly by funding other organizations that provide youth support services.
Joseph Cuzzupoli and forty-six Vineyard families started the organization three years ago, the organization now has seventy founding donors. Funds benefit local groups working with island youth and provides scholarships to high school seniors, offering an alternative to traditional capital campaign fundraising by organizing donors around a shared mission and pooling donations to multiply the impact of each gift.
Founding donors, like Joe Cuzzupoli, make annual donations of $25,000, pledging support for a minimum of four years. In addition, Founders have agreed to underwrite all of the administrative and fundraising expenses, allowing MVYouth to flow through 100 percent of all donations.
MVYouth seeks to increase major charitable giving on Martha’s Vineyard by engaging the next generation of philanthropists.
What helps make MVYouth so unique – besides its focus on young people aged from birth to 25-years-old – is it’s lean structure. Joseph Cuzzupoli and the other founders realized that it was vital to pump their money into where it was needed most – the youth and the organizations that serve them. To do that, MVYouth has only one paid employee, an executive director. There’s no administrative staff or other workers. Instead, separate funds go toward paying operational expenses, including the executive director’s salary and the organization’s minimal overhead.
Under the guidance and investments of Joe Cuzzupoli and the other founders, MVYouth is looking to not only help the young people of Martha’s Vineyard succeed in life, but is looking to gain the support and investment of a new, younger generation of investors on the island.