Wingdale Elementary School students are being encouraged to create a caring school community by helping others and mastering challenging tasks. Good deeds earn them golden tickets, which they save to buy fun items from the Dragon Wagon. Teacher Jennifer Lazarow, left, created the mobile shop through a grant from BTCF's Dover Education Enrichment Program. Photo: John Dolan   
Program, Philanthropy & Leadership Highlights 
Day of Learning for Nonprofits: Leaders from nearly 100 nonprofit organizations in the region gathered on Oct. 13 for the first-ever Board Leadership Forum at Bard College at Simon's Rock. The daylong training and networking opportunity drew more than 180 volunteer board leaders and over 50 executive directors who learned about governance, fundraising and change management from experts in the field. The event was sponsored by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Foundation for Community Health and the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation.
Engaging Residents Through Art: As part of our strategic priority to increase community engagement, we recently held a gathering with dozens of donors at Barrington Stage's Wolfson Center in Pittsfield to discuss how residents experience art in their lives and what barriers they face accessing arts locally. This topic is the focus of a resident-led research process that has been designed and funded through a partnership between Berkshire Taconic and the Barr Foundation. 
Kapteyn Prize Winner: Jeffrey Welch, a social studies teacher at Mount Greylock Regional High School, has been awarded the 10th annual James C. Kapteyn Prize for excellence in teaching. He will receive $10,000 for study or travel to enrich his teaching, and the school will receive a $2,000 grant in his name. A ceremony will be held in his honor at the school this Sunday, Nov. 4, from noon to 2 p.m.
Board, Staff and Committee News 
Wynn Joins Museum Board: Michael Wynn, who sits on the Berkshire Taconic board of directors, was recently elected to a two-year term on the Berkshire Museum board of trustees. Michael is the chief of police for the Pittsfield Police Department and has been serving and protecting his hometown for more than 20 years.       
New Committee Member: Janet André Block of Salisbury, Conn., has joined the advisory committee for the Northwest Corner Fund. The area fund is in the midst of a five-year partnership to prevent substance abuse through evidence-based approaches in area schools and through community networks. Janet previously served on Berkshire Taconic's board from 1991 to 2000.
Staff Changes: Kara Mikulich has joined our team as chief philanthropy officer, a new role that provides the strategic vision, staff leadership and operational oversight for all asset development and donor engagement activities. Email Kara or call 413.429.8404. A. J. Pietrantone, who served as BTCF's vice president for finance and administration for four years, has been named deputy director at Jacob's Pillow. We wish him the best in his new position and thank him for his years of dedication to philanthropy in our region. John Gillespie will serve as interim chief financial officer. He brings decades of experience to the foundation, including past service as vice president of finance at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Mass. Email John or call 413.229.0370. 
New Arrival: BTCF Gifts Coordinator Danielle Benassutti and her partner, Derrick Stark, welcomed their daughter, Dakota, on Sept. 27.  
Grants in the News

Teaching Technology: Through support from the Eagle Fund, Mount Everett Regional High School has launched a STEM Academy to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These eight elective classes focus on topics from robotics to 3D engineering. Read more in the Berkshire Edge's in-depth report.
Inspiring Music: Hoosac Valley Elementary School students enjoyed a performance of the classic children's concert "Tubby the Tuba," which was brought to the stage through a grant from the William J. and Margery S. Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire and Savoy. Read how the performance inspired young musicians in the Berkshire Eagle.  
Art Talk: The A.R.T. Fund was mentioned in a Tennessee publication. Grantee Catherine Kehoe spoke about her influences and the development of her artwork during a public lecture in Chattanooga, where she is leading workshops as a visiting lecturer. She teaches painting and drawing at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Coming Up
Holiday Performance: Thanks to a grant from the Northeast Dutchess Fund, young students in the Webutuck Central School District and beyond are currently participating in the town of Amenia's free performing arts program on Saturday mornings at Town Hall. Their work will culminate in free community productions of "Elf the Musical Jr." on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m.
End-of-Year Giving: Contact your financial institution to request stock transfers or make a contribution from your IRA by Monday, Dec. 17. The IRA rollover allows taxpayers age 70 ½ or older to transfer up to $100,000 annually from their IRA accounts directly to charities without having to recognize the distribution as income. (Donor advised funds are excluded from this provision.) Also, the last business day of the year to make a charitable gift is Monday, Dec. 31. We will be open until 5 p.m. Learn more about ways to give on our website, or call us at 413.229.0370.