Quarterly Update
February 1, 2018
Tom Auge, center, founded a legacy fund at Berkshire Taconic with the support of his parents, Bernard and Eleanor.
Family means everything to Tom Auge. Growing up in Pittsfield, Mass., his home was always filled with relatives such as his elderly aunt May. After the death of her husband, May was steadily declining physically due to grief and loneliness. Without hesitation, the Auges brought her home and gave her comfort and support. Reinvigorated, she lived with them for almost nine years, surrounded by those she loved.

"Loneliness is difficult for the elderly. That's why there was always family here sharing wisdom, love and knowledge," Tom said while reminiscing in the living room with his father, Bernard, and mother, Eleanor. "I've seen what community and compassion can do. It's transformative." Read more
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has been selected to participate in a new $2.5 million partnership with the Boston-based Barr Foundation and four other community foundations that aims to deepen and grow support for the arts and creativity across Massachusetts.

As part of the Creative Commonwealth initiative, BTCF has been awarded a $500,000 grant over two years to leverage the strength of the region's arts sector to increase community engagement.  BTCF will bring diverse groups of local residents and arts institutions closer together through grantmaking, investing in nonprofit capacity and collaboration.

"Strengthening community engagement is a strategic priority for Berkshire Taconic, along with increasing educational attainment and economic opportunity among residents," said Peter Taylor, president of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. "Being a part of the Creative Commonwealth initiative will allow us to partner with cultural organizations and year-round residents to test new approaches to community engagement that use the proven power of the arts to build trust, cooperation and unity, while strengthening the arts as a sector."

Christina Khounsombath, left, explained the dangers of vaping during a Botvin LifeSkills Training class at North Canaan Elementary School.
How can residents join forces to combat the high rate of substance abuse in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut? A group of organizations and community members is attempting to delay the first use of alcohol and marijuana among students by utilizing a wealth of policies and programs, ranging from classes and talks to a wellness fair and drug take back events.

As part of an initiative led by the McCall Center for Behavioral Health and supported by Berkshire Taconic's Northwest Corner Fund and the Foundation for Community Health, the Botvin LifeSkills Training program has been implemented in the Region One School District to provide students with the confidence and knowledge to handle difficult situations.

Read the full story and view a list of upcoming events.
Fourth-graders of the Taconic Hills Central School District wrote and performed a moving poem under the guidance of RIOULT Dance NY.

On a chilly December morning, young students in the Taconic Hills Central School District took to the Performing Arts Center stage to participate in a dance recital full of beautiful movements, creative storytelling and a surprising amount of heartfelt emotion, thanks to a residency program funded in part by the Taconic Hills Arts and Humanities Fund.

The level of skill showcased at the event is even more impressive when you consider that the students only had three days to learn the choreography for "Fables," a dance that brings to life the classic tales of 17th-century French writer Jean de La Fontaine. Fourth- and sixth-graders participated in numerous workshop sessions under the guidance of teaching artists from RIOULT Dance NY, a New York City-based dance company led by Artistic Director Pascal Rioult, in preparation for their live debut.

Read the full story and view a poem written by Taconic Hills fourth-graders.
Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was create art as Ghost of a Dream. They posed with their daughter, Holiday, surrounded by their work. 

For Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was, 2007 marked two major milestones: They began their full-time artistic collaboration under the moniker Ghost of a Dream and they were married, committing themselves in both life and art.

Over the past decade, the Wassaic, N.Y., residents have celebrated numerous personal and professional landmarks. They gave birth to their daughter, Holiday. They have shown their works (a creative collection of collage, mixed media, sculpture, painting and video) in exhibitions around the world. (You may have recently seen their work locally in the Wassaic Project's "Vagabond Time Killers" show or at LABspace in Hillsdale, N.Y.) 

And in 2017, 10 years after forming their artistic partnership, they received a $10,000 grant from the Artist's Resource Trust (A.R.T.) Fund to purchase supplies and materials for their studio, including projectors and a new computer. Read more
Quick Links
President's Message
As we begin 2018, the recently enacted federal tax plan has shifted the operating environment for the nonprofit sector and philanthropy.
While it is too early to tell what the plan's potential effects will be on charitable giving, we know nonprofits rely on the generosity of individuals and corporations. This generosity has many motivations, including the deep commitment people have to their communities, helping neighbors and supporting causes that matter to them. Nonprofits help us organize to get things done, by drawing together the talents, resources and collective will of many people. This will not change.  Read more 
2017 at a Glance
Berkshire Taconic recently hit a major milestone, surpassing $150 million in assets. We are grateful to our donors, fund holders and all our partners for the privilege of working together to improve our communities.
Total assets: $153M
Total cumulative grantmaking: $141M
2017 grantmaking (grants, scholarships and distributions): $13.2M
2017 gifts: $15.7M
Total number of funds
: 535
We're Hiring!
BTCF is at an exciting juncture. As we look to increase our impact across the region, we are seeking three new full-time staff members to join our team: a Community Engagement Officer for Community Philanthropy, a Community Engagement Officer for Education and a Development Officer.

Berkshire Taconic offers competitive salaries and a generous benefits package. Learn more on our website
Our PO Box Is Closed
A reminder: We no longer have a PO Box. To avoid delays, please send your mail directly to our street address:

Berkshire Taconic
Community Foundation
800 North Main St.
Sheffield, MA 01257-0400
Upcoming Grant Deadlines
New Scholarship Deadline is March 15
Our scholarship application deadline has changed to March 15 for first-time applicants. Visit our website to search through all of our scholarships or to browse scholarships by school district.
Portraits of Generosity

Read about the inspiring commitment to community of area donors in our latest publication, Portraits of Generosity.
Discussing A Closer Look
We recently held a webinar to discuss the results of our community assessment process and report, A Closer Look. BTCF President Peter Taylor and Mt. Auburn Associates President Beth Siegel, who guided the research, walked through highlights of the report, expanded on its contents and shared their insights on the process and results.

We invite you to view the recording to learn more about the pressing issues facing our four-county region. Following a brief registration form, you can watch the video here. We plan to host more webinars on our strategic priorities throughout the year.

Investment Returns as of 12/31/17 

Q4 2017
YTD 2017
1-Year Return
3-Year Return
5-Year Return
7-Year Return
10-Year Return
Assets Under Mgmt 
Primary Managed Pool
Managed Pool Benchmark*
Socially Responsible Pool
Income Pool
Minimum Risk Pool
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's primary managed investment pool appreciated 4.0% in the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing year-to-date performance to 17.2% and outperforming the policy benchmark* by 190 basis points (bps). Long-term, risk-adjusted results remain favorable, leading the benchmark over all standard trailing time periods ended December 31, which indicates complimentary asset allocation and solid manager performance. Since inception in August 1999, the portfolio has generated an annualized return of 6.9%, outperforming a traditional global blend of assets (65% MSCI AC World Index / 35% Barclays Global Aggregate Index) by approximately 180 bps per year with substantially less volatility. In addition, the portfolio's performance remained in the top quartile among its peer community foundations.  Read more
*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.

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 at 413-229-0370.
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