High & Mighty Therapeutic Riding and Driving Center in Ghent, N.Y., received a Fund for Columbia County grant to host an eight-week program of activities this fall for Hudson students. The program is a collaboration with Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood.
Photo: John Dolan
Program, Philanthropy & Leadership Highlights 

Scholarship Awards: With support from our generous communities, our regional scholarship program of 70 funds awarded more than $690,000 this year to students who are pursuing their academic and vocational dreams. This marks a 6.6% increase in scholarships from 2020. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $25,000. The majority of scholarships went to students whose families are expected to be able to contribute $10,000 or less toward college, and nearly 25% to households unable to provide students any financial support. Madison Tinker, who received the Honorable James P. Dohoney Scholarship to study history at Siena College, shared a note of thanks with the fund's committee: "Your kindness and love for the community will stay within me forever."  

Free Consulting for Nonprofits: Specialized, one-on-one technical support from the New York Council of Nonprofits is available to nonprofits in Berkshire, Columbia and northeast Dutchess counties. A wide range of services is available covering topics such as governance, financial management and organizational assessments. It starts with a free consultation with NYCON staff, followed by up to 10 hours of support. Funding for these services is provided by the Hudson Valley Funders Network and the Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership. These groups represent over 30 community foundations (including BTCF) and other funders collaborating to support the region's nonprofit sector. 

BTCF News: We are pleased to share the first issue of BTCF News. Our new print publication contains stories of generosity and service from each of our four counties that demonstrate the lasting impact of philanthropy and trusted partnerships in our own backyards. (In case you missed it, our review of 2020 highlights the inspiring work of donors and nonprofits who quickly responded to the pandemic.)
Board, Staff & Committee News 

New Board Members: Two new members were elected to the BTCF board in June. Bryan E. House of Housatonic is director of community outreach and engagement with the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, and he is active on many boards and task forces. Ackneil M. (Trey) Muldrow, III is a partner in the private equity practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and lives part-time in Columbia County. We thank outgoing board members Sheldon Evans and Pete Putzel for their years of leadership.

Early Literacy: Following a contest on social media, the Talk Read Sing Columbia advisory council debuted three billboards in Columbia County this month that feature images of local families reading with their children. BTCF provides funding for this initiative, which aims to boost early literacy and encourage lifelong learning. Columbia Opportunities and Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood lead this local effort. 

New Staff Member: Community Engagement Officer Nicole Baker joined our team to coordinate grantmaking and donor services in northeast Dutchess County. Nicole has nearly 20 years of experience as a development professional specializing in grantwriting, volunteer engagement, capital campaigns and event planning. She lives in Clinton Corners, N.Y., with her family. Email Nicole.

We're Hiring: BTCF seeks a full-time Administrative Coordinator to maintain office and building operations and provide database and special project support, and a full-time or part-time Tech Operations Associate to enhance our IT systems and programs. Learn about these positions on our website.
Grants in the News

Library Books: Thanks to a Fund for Columbia County grant, the Kinderhook Memorial Library purchased a new one-of-a-kind collection of decodable reader books to help children with dyslexia learn to read. Learn more in the Register-Star.

Food Insecurity: The Kent Land Trust has partnered with a local farmer to offer shares of fresh produce to families served by the Kent Food Bank. This work is supported by a grant from the Green Pastures Fund. The Register Citizen outlines the increased demand for food throughout Litchfield County. 

Agriculture in Columbia County: The Berkshire Edge announced that an anonymous BTCF donor granted $100,000 to Berkshire Agricultural Ventures to establish a revolving fund to support agriculture-related ventures in Columbia County. The first investment from this new revolving fund is in Farm Ferments, a regional fermentation facility in Hudson.

Affordable Housing: The Northeast Dutchess Fund awarded Hudson River Housing $10,000 to support affordable housing activities in Millerton, Amenia and Pine Plains, N.Y., through the Tri-Town Coalition. The group plans to train housing ambassadors in these towns, as highlighted in The Millerton News.
Coming Up

Youth Film Challenge: Young people ages 14 to 24 who live or attend school in our four-county region are invited to enter the new Bridging Divides, Healing Communities Youth Film Challenge to make their voices heard and compete for $3,500 in cash prizes. Participants may submit up to 6-minute films by Nov. 1 that explore divisions and inequities in society, and how they are tackling challenges in their families, schools and communities. Register for new virtual classes with professional filmmakers starting Sept. 12 at The Youth Film Challenge is a partnership of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative and the Civic Life Project.

Art Exhibit: Painter Donald Bracken of West Cornwall received a Martha Boschen Porter Fund grant last year to curate a retrospective exhibition that memorializes 9/11 through art. "Remembering Ground Zero: 20th Anniversary Show" is on display at Five Points Gallery in Torrington through Sept. 25. A virtual artist talk will be held Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.

Spanish-Language Films: With support from our Arts Build Community initiative, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present two free Spanish-language film screenings this fall: "Mulan" on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., and “Dedicada a mi Ex” on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.

Networking for Success: EforAll Berkshire County, our partnership to help drive inclusive economic growth, is hosting a free webinar for local business owners that covers best practices for building networks on Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. Registration is required. 

Board Recruitment Webinar: The New York Council of Nonprofits is hosting a webinar on board recruitment in the COVID-19 era on Sept. 22 at noon. The session is free for all organizations in Berkshire, Columbia and Dutchess counties, as well as grantees of the Foundation for Community Health in Litchfield County.