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Anything is Possible.
Supporting the Community - One Bid At a Time.

By Gwyn McAllister Photo by Lindsey Morris Provost Photography

Once again, the community opened their hearts and their wallets–as well as their homes, their boats and their businesses–to help raise close to half a million dollars for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) at the 2015 Possible Dreams Auction (PDA). Nearly half of the year-round Island population relies on MVCS for assistance that includes services for mental health and substance abuse, medication management, crisis intervention, a day center for people with mental illness, support services for families with disabled members, an early childhood day program. A community-based organization, MVCS employs nearly 100 staff and scores of volunteers who provide services through six core programs: CONNECT to end violence, Early Childhood Programs, Disability Services, Island Counseling Center, Island Wide Youth Collaborative and The Thrift Shop.

For 37 years the annual celebrity and unique luxury experience auction has given visitors and year rounders the chance to give something back to the Vineyard. Right up until his death in 2007, Pulitzer Price winning journalist Art Buchwald oversaw the proceedings and brought his humor, wit and sparkle to the auction. Ever since, a roster of notable Vineyarders have done their part to help the Island’s primary human services provider stay afloat.

A highlight of this year’s event was when Michael Blanchard, an island photographer and author of “Fighting for my Life: Finding Hope and Serenity on Martha’s Vineyard,” presented a $5,000 check to MVCS New Paths Recovery Program. A recovering alcoholic, Michael shared a heartfelt and moving story about his difficulties of struggling with alcoholism with the audience. His words reminded everyone in the room why they were there that evening and why MVCS services are so vital to this community.

This year, a number of perpetual dream donors were back. The Island’s Pulitzer Prize winning couple novelist Geraldine Brooks and non-fiction writer Tony Horwitz were on hand helping to up the bids for the chance to enjoy a day sail to Nantucket with the two authors. The dream would end up one of the top money makers, sharing a $12,000 price tag with an Ireland vacation.

Popular returning celebrity dreams included a private concert with Livingston Taylor and A DNA consultation with Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr.

This year’s auction was dedicated to children’s book author/illustrator Norman Bridwell (Clifford, the Big Red Dog series), a long time dream donor and MVCS supporter. Other PDA regulars, children’s authors Kate Feiffer and Marc Brown will host a party in his honor at Good Dog Goods for the winning bidders.

Director Doug Liman (Swingers, the Bourne series, Mr. And Mrs. Smith) who has become a regular dream donor and bidder, attended the auction, although his busy schedule did not allow for a dream donation this year. Instead he bid on and won a chance to participate in a poker game with ESPN World Series of Poker champ Jesse Sylvia of West Tisbury and hosted by James Ferraro at his West Chop home.

A number of new celebs stepped up to the plate this year as well. The most talked about dream was a VIP backstage package donated by Seth Meyers. Although the Late Night star was not in attendance, chairman Liza May is hopeful that he may show up next year.

Singer/songwriter Sally Taylor donated a unique dream which sold twice for $6,000 each. Ms. Taylor, daughter of Carly Simon and James Taylor has recently developed and curated a unique traveling art show called Consenses. For her dream, she will be exploring creativity and perception with the winner and nine guests for a morning workshop, followed by a catered dinner by Jaime Hamlin and sons with her and her husband Dean Bragonier. Ms. Taylor also entertained the audience with a song and, when she was offered $6,000 by an audience member for an encore, she graciously obliged.

Larkin and Jackie Stallings, new owners of the Ritz, donated a party at the Oak Bluffs landmark with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish as entertainment. The couple then further showed their support by bidding on and winning one of the Sally Taylor dreams.

First time donors, David and Julie Keefe not only offered up their beautiful home in the shadow of Dunguaire Castle in Ireland for a one week stay, but when the bidding got to $12,000 they added a second week so that both competing bidders could go home winners.

It truly took the entire Island to put together this vast undertaking. Along with close to 100 volunteers and committee members, this year the auction attracted over 40 sponsors and over 200 donors, both record numbers for the time honored event. “I want to build on that energy, spirit and goodwill that was clearly present this year,” says auction committee chair Liza May. She will be returning as chair for next year’s auction and the committee is already in the planning stages. “It takes an entire year to organize something of this magnitude,” says Ms. May. She and the committee have some big plans in mind and surprises for next year already. Together, we can make dreams possible…