Curtis Mraz of Smoke & Honey Co. received guidance for his beekeeping business from EforAll Berkshire County, our partnership to help drive inclusive economic growth. Local entrepreneurs can apply by May 6 to share their business ideas during EforAll's upcoming virtual pitch contest. Photo: John Dolan
Program, Philanthropy & Leadership Highlights 

Northwest Corner Grants: Berkshire Taconic's Northwest Corner Fund, in partnership with Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, awarded more than $23,000 to nine organizations in northwest Litchfield County for general operating and programming support. Grantees are Adamah (a program of Hazon), Housatonic Child Care Center, Housatonic Valley Association, Housatonic Youth Service Bureau, McCall Center for Behavioral Health, Music Mountain, Noble Horizons, Northwest Connecticut Arts Council and Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy.

Resiliency Grants: Our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County (in partnership with Berkshire United Way, Northern Berkshire United Way and Williamstown Community Chest) is accepting applications from nonprofits until May 15 for a round of grants for projects supporting the emotional well-being of children, youth and families in Berkshire County.

Community Engagement: Our Arts Build Community initiative awarded $40,000 to help nine Berkshire County nonprofits test new ideas to engage more year-round residents in the arts and creative experiences. Through a variety of digital and in-person projects, these organizations aim to address barriers to participating in the arts, especially among communities of color, youth, immigrants and residents who would like to take part in programming but face challenges such as cost, transportation and disconnection from the arts. Learn more about these projects on our blog.

Speaker Series: Registration is open for the final two sessions of our Bridging Divides, Healing Communities Speaker Series, which we are hosting with The Berkshire Eagle and Berkshire Bank. How Modern Media Can Create and Bridge Divides on May 4 will feature two nationally known journalists in conversation about the media's role in a polarized age, and Resident-Led Solutions on May 11 highlights promising engagement efforts underway by grantees around the region. The virtual events begin at 7 p.m. Watch recordings of parts 1 and 2.
Board, Staff & Committee News 

Share the Stimulus: The Northeast Dutchess Fund committee is working closely with a coalition of local residents to raise funds for cash cards for individuals and families in need—particularly those in the immigrant community—who have been excluded from government relief programs. As part of the Share the Stimulus campaign, the generous anonymous donor who initially seeded our ongoing cash card program has offered to match all gifts of federal stimulus payments up to a total of $50,000. 

Awards Judge: Community Engagement Officer Kelly Sweet was a member of the judging panel for the Board Leadership category of the upcoming Berkshire Nonprofit Awards (see the Coming Up section below). She was also nominated for the Rising Star award, which honors individuals who have achieved significant impact in the early stages of their nonprofit careers.

Police Chief Joins Commission: Michael Wynn, chief of police for Pittsfield and former BTCF board member, was sworn in this week as one of nine members of the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, a new body formed as part of recent policing reform law.

We're Hiring: Berkshire Taconic seeks a full-time finance associate with experience in accounting and Excel, and a half-time community engagement officer to coordinate program, advancement and donor services activities in northeast Dutchess County. Learn about these positions on our website.
Grants in the News

Education Enrichment: The Chatham Education Foundation, one of Berkshire Taconic's 30-plus education enrichment funds, awarded nearly $27,000 to the Chatham Central School District for projects that will enrich the educational experience of students and teachers. Read more in the Register-Star.

Remote Learning: The Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence and Janet's Fund, along with generous donors, supported Community Learning in the Berkshires (CLuB), which offered creative and safe remote-learning solutions for students in the Southern Berkshire and Berkshire Hills regional school districts. The Berkshire Edge highlights how CLuB helped parents and students gain traction in the pandemic. 

State Funding: CHP Family Services received a $40,000 grant to support residents experiencing severe economic hardship due to the pandemic. It's part of more than $550,000 in funding BTCF received from the state of Massachusetts to distribute locally. Read more in the Berkshire Eagle.

Immigrant Outreach: Grace Immigrant Outreach Executive Director Evelyn Garzetta and her team of trusted social workers distribute funds to northeast Dutchess County residents who are facing economic hardship, in partnership with our Northeast Dutchess Fund. Evelyn spoke with Robin Hood Radio about her organization and its critical work.
Coming Up

Honoring James Mars: Salisbury School students—in partnership with the Church of Christ Congregational, Norfolk, and the Norfolk Historical Society—will host a day of commemoration on Saturday, May 1 at 2 p.m. in Norfolk to honor James Mars, the last enslaved person bought and sold in Connecticut. Watch a live stream of the event online. This project is supported by a Bridging Divides, Healing Communities grant.

Nonprofit Awards: The virtual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards will be held on Tuesday, May 18, at 8:30 a.m. to recognize eight honorees and all health care workers. We are pleased to join with partners in sponsoring this inspiring annual event from Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.