With the help of EforAll Berkshire County mentors, Mindy Miraglia launched a new business that provides walking tours of the Berkshires. Learn more about Mindy's business development and the impact of EforAll Berkshire County, our partnership to help drive inclusive economic growth, in the Berkshire Eagle. Photo: John Dolan
Program, Philanthropy & Leadership Highlights 

Community Engagement: We distributed over $48,000 through our Bridging Divides, Healing Communities grant program, a new initiative to support community-building activities aimed at strengthening relationships and trust at the local level, especially among people who hold different points of view or come from different backgrounds. Twenty-one organizations in four counties received grants of up to $2,500 for projects that seek to bring people together for the purposes of exploring shared interests, addressing a problem through dialogue and action, or considering an issue through a range of perspectives. 

Virtual Institute: We have joined Essex County Community Foundation as a partner in presenting the 2021 Virtual Institute for Trustees from April 7 to May 15. Building on the success of BTCF's inaugural Board Leadership Forum and designed for board leaders and executive directors, the event features 24 virtual workshops from leading nonprofit experts and powerful discussions and connections with hundreds of peers equally committed to their leadership roles. Learn more and register.

Legislators and Nonprofits Discuss Funding Gaps: We were pleased to help bring together over 100 nonprofit leaders and the Berkshire County delegation earlier this month for a conversation about state and federal budgets, as well as emerging and ongoing community needs. Read more and watch a recording on our blog.

COVID-19 Response: Our COVID-19 emergency response continues, thanks to the outpouring of generosity in our communities that included nearly $800,000 from our donor advised fundholders for pandemic-related assistance in 2020. In addition to a state partnership to support immigrants in Berkshire County, a donor-funded cash card program underway in northeast Dutchess County, and ongoing support for individuals and families from our Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund, our Northeast Dutchess Fund and the Fund for Williamstown will provide general operating support to nonprofits. In partnership with community foundations throughout the region, we are also offering a series of free webinars to help organizations address issues around fundraising and strategy. (See Coming Up.) 
Board, Staff & Committee News 

Education Enrichment: The committees of some of Berkshire Taconic’s 30-plus education enrichment funds are working closely with school communities during these uncertain times to fund projects that support social emotional well-being. For example, Mount Greylock Regional School's SEE Fund awarded grants to the high school's peer resource team and an alumni guest speaker series focused on diversity. The Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence supported Community Learning in the Berkshires (CLuB) to offer remote-learning sites organized by Greenagers, the Flying Cloud Institute, Berkshire South Regional Community Center and Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires; the Webutuck QUEST for Excellence Fund provided funding for the Wassaic Project to create and distribute workbooks that encourage self-expression and social connection at home; and the Hudson Schools Arts & Humanities Fund awarded grants that provide access to an arts and music curriculum for use during and after school.

New Committee Chairs: We welcome new chairs to four of our area fund committees: Ellen Janis of North Adams for the William J. & Margery S. Barrett Fund; Dawn Canales of Cheshire for the James and Robert Hardman Fund; Peter Frank of Hudson for the Fund for Columbia County; and Sarah Stack of Clinton Corners for the Northeast Dutchess Fund. Gloria Callen, longtime chair of the Northeast Dutchess Fund, will remain on the committee. We thank Joyce Lapenn and Susan Bohl for their years of service to the Fund for Columbia County and James and Robert Hardman Fund, respectively.

Board Member Leads Relief Efforts: BTCF board member Jodi Rathbun-Briggs, who is senior vice president of Greylock Federal Credit Union, was featured in a Berkshire Edge article noting that Greylock was the first local lender allowed to accept applications for the next round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Staff Advancement: Communications Officer Darryl Gangloff's role has been expanded to help staff broaden the use of software tools to engage constituents in virtual formats, as well as other software applications used by the foundation.  
Grants in the News

Northeast Dutchess COVID-19 Response: Berkshire Taconic and its Northeast Dutchess Fund have distributed funds to help nonprofits, individuals and families in crisis due to the pandemic. Read more about this emergency response and the impact of generous donors in a Millerton News article.

Care Packages for Seniors: Berkshire Helping Hands received a grant from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County to deliver care packages to homebound seniors in North County. The Berkshire Eagle highlights the organization's ongoing work.

Free Desks for Students: Thanks to support from the Fund for Columbia County, the Hudson Literacy Fund provided 100 free desks and earbuds to students in the Hudson City School District to assist with virtual learning. View a photo and learn more in the Register-Star.
Coming Up

Recovery and Rebuilding: We are partnering with community foundations across the region to offer a series of free training webinars for area nonprofits. Upcoming programs for Berkshire County nonprofits include "Alternative Strategies for Fundraising Events - Executing the Event" on Feb. 4, "Building Financial Health and Strategic Resilience" on Feb. 9, "How Nonprofits Can Break Through the Virtual World of Fundraising and Communications" on Feb. 17, "Alliances, Mergers and Strategic Restructuring" on Feb. 23, "Capstone: Telling Your Organization's Story for Impact" on March 9, and "Marketing Your Mission and Services in a Distracted, Digital World" on March 18. Register and view recordings of past sessions.

Common Ground Conversations: The Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury will host "Common Ground Conversations: Listening Past Differences," a four-part virtual series that aims to create understanding and build common ground, on Feb. 7, Feb. 21, March 14 and March 28. The series is supported by our Bridging Divides, Healing Communities grant program.