Quarterly Update
January 31, 2017
BTCF Exceeds $1.5 Million in Winter Grantmaking Cycle

Landscape painter Tracy Baker-White received a 2016 grant from the Martha Boschen Porter Fund.

To close out 2016, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation distributed over $1.5 million: $708,000 in grants to individuals, schools and nonprofits across the region and grants totaling nearly $800,000 from donors with charitable funds at the foundation. 

Through our competitive grantmaking process, Berkshire Taconic awarded grants from the Adams Cheshire Educational Partnership; Amy Clampitt Fund; Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund; Central Berkshire Fund; Northwest Corner Fund; Salisbury Central Educational Enrichment Endowment Fund; William J. & Margery S. Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire & Savoy; and eight education enrichment funds.

Grantees include: Elizabeth Freeman Center ($8,000) for a violence prevention program; Wahconah Regional High School and Nessacus Regional High School ($3,000) for a celebration of student diversity; Bindlestiff Family Cirkus ($2,000) to expand its acrobatics and aerial arts programming; and Flying Deer Nature Center ($1,825) to teach fourth-grade students at Mary E. Dardess Elementary School about Native American history.

View a full list of grants and grant recipients at www.berkshiretaconic.org/wintergrants.

Saluting Our Founders
A 1968 portrait of Robert Blum. 
"It has long been clear that the residents of the three counties have a common bond - their interest in protecting the unique natural beauty in the area, its cultural and educational assets, and the well-being of its people. The foundation provides a way to advance and nurture this common bond in perpetuity."

With those words, the late businessman and philanthropist Robert E. Blum neatly summed up the vision and values of the Tri-County Foundation, which he helped establish three decades ago with an anonymous gift of $100,000.
Read more
Nonprofit Leadership Institute

Through the generosity of individual donors and four Berkshire Taconic area funds, executive directors from eight organizations throughout the region participated in the 2016 Nonprofit Leadership Institute, a collaborative peer-learning program to help build leadership and management skills.

Facilitated by veteran consultant Janet André Block and using The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge as a foundation, the biennial program offers a transformative learning experience that builds confidence and skills, and puts theory into immediate practice. Read more
Dora Malech & Malachi Black Named 2017 Clampitt Residents

Baltimore-based poet, professor and visual artist Dora Malech (pictured) recently moved into Amy Clampitt's former home near Lenox, Mass. Named the 22nd recipient of the Amy Clampitt residency, Dora will spend six months in Berkshire County working on a collection of poetry and a book of prose. 

"It's so significant to have this time and space to focus and to be able to dignify my own work," Dora says. "The luxury of being able to have a circuitous, creative path for these months that I'm here is really fantastic and invaluable."
Read more
Berkshire Taconic Welcomes New Faces to Board and Staff
In 2016, Berkshire Taconic added three board members and recruited three new staff under an expanded structure that will bolster the foundation's capacity. With a regional board of 20 and 14 full-time employees, Berkshire Taconic kicks off the new year in an exciting position to advance its grantmaking and scholarship programs, donor stewardship activities, and initiatives and special projects.
Berkshire Hills Superin-tendent Dr. Peter Dillon is one of three local leaders to join the board.  Natashea Winters will help 
oversee scholarship programs and grantmaking in education, arts and culture.  
Learn more about Berkshire Taconic's region-wide board and staff here

Quick Links
President's Message
This year, Berkshire Taconic turns 30 years old. While this marker may not carry as much celebratory weight as a 10th, 25th or 50th anniversary would, it is a milestone nonetheless and an opportunity to take stock: What have we accomplished? What have we learned? And most importantly, what is most compelling about our mission today as we create a vision to guide the foundation? 

In this spirit, I want to highlight our  area fund program - which consists of funds focused on specific geographies in our region, from single towns to entire counties - and how this program reflects the foundation's mission and values.

First, some context. The purpose of Berkshire Taconic is to bring together people and resources to address critical issues. Charitable resources provide the fuel to take care of people in need, for students to go to college, for nonprofits to succeed and creative ideas to take root. Combined, these charitable resources - and the donors and community leaders behind them - are a powerful catalyst for good in the region.  Read more
BTCF Legacy Circle
Many people include charitable giving in their estate plans to support the towns they love and institutions they cherish - forever. Our legacy donors have made a commitment to strengthen the future of our region.  Read more 
Portraits of Generosity

Our newest publication celebrates the people who make our communities strong and vibrant. Read more
Upcoming Grant Deadlines
New Custodial Bank
Beginning this February, Berkshire Taconic will be working with a new custodial bank for brokerage and investment services. If you would like to make a gift of securities or directly wire cash into your fund, please be sure you have the most current Cash Wiring Instructions form and/or Stock Transfers form.

Wilmington Trust was founded in 1903 and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of M&T Bank since 2011. With $123.8 billion in assets and $73.7 billion under management, the bank focuses on middle-market clients and has provided over $190 million in grants to nonprofits, thus making it a suitable new partner for the foundation. 

Please remember to let the foundation know of an upcoming transfer by calling a member of the Philanthropic Services or Finance teams, or by sending us an email. If you need to reach the bank, please contact Rachel Schlee by phone at 716.842.5211 or by email
Investment Returns as of 12/31/16

Based on preliminary performance, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's portfolio appreciated 1.5% in the fourth quarter. Over the course of the calendar year, it gained 7.3% and outperformed its benchmark by over 100 bps. Comparisons to the benchmark are favorable over all time periods ended December 31, 2016. Since inception in August 1999, the portfolio has generated an annualized return of 6.4%, outperforming a global blend of assets (65% MSCI AC World Index/35% Barclays Global Aggregate Index) by approximately 200 bps per year with substantially less volatility. 

The surprise election of Donald Trump in November ignited a rally in risk assets, with domestic and emerging markets equities, as well as commodities and natural resources, posting significant gains in the quarter and year. As the market sought to anticipate the new administration's policies, small cap domestically oriented stocks, financials and industrials outperformed. In contrast, health care and real estate stocks finished the quarter lower. After weakening in the third quarter, the U.S. dollar reversed course, serving as a headwind for U.S. investors in emerging markets and wiping out the gains to U.S.-based investors in developed markets. Yields and inflation expectations rose during the quarter, presaging tax cuts and increased public and private spending expected under a Trump administration. Additionally, the Federal Reserve moved forward with its second 25 bps rate hike in as many years, and indicated an increased likelihood of additional hikes in 2017. With interest rates rising across the yield curve, fixed income securities sold off broadly in the quarter but remained positive year-to-date. Natural resources, commodities and other inflation-sensitive assets appreciated in the quarter and year, providing a boost to diversified portfolios like Berkshire Taconic's.  Read more

*Total assets exceeded $121.6 million at December 31, 2016, with a distribution of 58.8% global public equity, 6.3% global private equity, 24.8% flexible capital, 1.1% inflation hedging, 7.2% global fixed income and 3.2% liquid capital. 

For more information on the foundation's investment performance and managers, please visit our website or contact Vice President for Finance and Administration A. J. Pietrantone  by email or 413.229.0370.

**The Managed Pool benchmark is calculated as a weighted average of standard financial industry indices in each asset class and appropriate to individual managers based on objectives.
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