Berkshire Nursing Families supports young families through playgroups, lactation education and consultations. Multiple BTCF area funds and donor advised funds make grants for this critical work. Photo: John Dolan
Program, Philanthropy & Leadership Highlights 
Career-Oriented Learning: As part of our priority to increase educational attainment as a pathway to greater economic mobility, the South Berkshire County Fund has funded a new career readiness coordinator, Ruthann Eagen, to ensure that all high school students in southern Berkshire County graduate with a college and career plan. Eagen and her colleagues at MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board have launched a new bimonthly team of school partners and business leaders to explore career awareness and immersion activities for students across the age continuum. At their inaugural meeting last month, the group identified gaps for school districts and employers -- such as in-school learning for middle school students and developing soft skills needed for job success in high schoolers -- and outlined long-term goals for this work.  
Community Philanthropy: In an outpouring of support, family, friends and community members have donated nearly $25,000 to a scholarship fund to celebrate the life of Ben Paley, a 26-year-old musician and music teacher from the region who died in July 2019. His parents opened a fund at Berkshire Taconic to honor his memory and assist young students embarking on a career in music. Public high school seniors in Berkshire and northwest Litchfield counties who plan to study music may apply for the Ben Paley Scholarship by the March 15 deadline for 50-plus BTCF scholarships. 
EforAll Pitch Contest: Local entrepreneurs passionately shared their promising business ideas and competed for seed funding during EforAll Berkshire County's pitch contest on Feb. 5 in North Adams. The diverse group of winners were a 10-year-old girl, an entertainer who promotes the art of drag and a pair of college students, highlighting that this work focuses on the untapped potential of every resident. EforAll has a focus on inclusive economic growth and a group of committed local funders, including Berkshire Taconic. Read more in our blog.
Board, Staff & Committee News 
Guest Speaker: Kara Mikulich, our chief philanthropy officer, was the guest speaker at this month's meeting of the Berkshire Business and Professional Women organization. She shared the key themes of our community assessment and discussed new programs BTCF is funding to support inclusive entrepreneurship and career readiness skills in students. 
Remembering Sally Berg : We note with sadness the death of longtime Berkshire Taconic volunteer Sally Berg, who served on our board from 2004 to 2012 and the Fund for Columbia County committee from 2003 until her passing. Her fellow volunteers remember her as a "powerhouse" with endless energy and drive to do good for others. 
New Committee MembersWe are pleased to welcome new members to three of our grantmaking committees: Brian Drake (Fund for Williamstown), Warren Prindle (Martha Boschen Porter Fund) and Beth McLaughlin (Artist's Resource Trust Fund). We thank Louise Brown for her service on the Martha Boschen Porter Fund committee since its inception in 2007. 
Grants in the News
EforAll in New York Times: The New York Times highlighted Entrepreneurship for All in its Wealth Matters column earlier this month. The piece focuses on businessman Gururaj Deshpande, who founded EforAll to support aspiring small-business owners and spur local economies. Wayfair CEO and EforAll donor Niraj Shah is also featured, along with a successful program graduate in Holyoke, Mass.  
Talking is Teaching Editorial: A recent Columbia Paper editorial praised the new Talking is Teaching initiative in Columbia County as "the essence of hope." Made possible by anonymous Berkshire Taconic donors, the campaign provides parents and caregivers with the tools to talk, read and sing more with young children from birth to age 5 to boost early literacy and encourage lifelong learning.
Young Dancers: Thanks to a grant from our Arts Build Community initiative, North Adams Public Schools students in grades 3-5 are learning the basic concepts of ballet and modern dance during a full-year program called Let's Dance! Learn more in iBerkshires
Coming Up
Art Exhibits: Artist's Resource Trust (A.R.T.) Fund individual and organizational grantees are showcasing creative works throughout New England. The paintings of Robin Dash are currently on display through March 21 at Carroll and Sons in Boston. The Addison Gallery of American Art will present a new room-sized installation by Heidi Whitman from March 28 to July 31. ArtsWorcester will exhibit the drawings and sculptures of three artists from April 3 to May 2.
Award Nominations: The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is accepting nominations for the annual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards through March 26. The program recognizes and encourages individuals who serve nonprofits in the Berkshire community. BTCF is proud to be a sponsor of the event.  
Dance Fundraiser: As part of an annual tradition, the Harlem Line Band will perform at the White Hart Inn in Salisbury on Saturday, March 28, from 8:30 to 11 p.m. to benefit the Jane Lloyd Fund. Admission is $15 at the door. The fund supports the basic needs of cancer patients and their families who live or work in the northwest Connecticut towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Salisbury and Sharon.