Quarterly Update
January 29, 2016
Jon Schor

Over two decades ago, Jon Schor gave an 11-year-old neighbor with a passion for horses her very first job - grooming his. 

He didn't really need the help, recalls her mother, Ginny Nightingale, who lives in the small hamlet of Red Rock, NY. He must have figured that the Nightingales, both teachers, would appreciate their daughter Jennifer having some earnings of her own to put toward an expensive hobby. 

The investment paid off. Jennifer grew up to be a dairy and equine veterinarian, after graduating from Cornell's veterinary school with help from a scholarship Jon provided. Her brother Ryan is now in medical school the same way. Read more  
Belarusian Poet Named 20th Clampitt Resident

Sitting in the kitchen with her back to a wall of aging books, Valzhyna Mort looks out the window and shivers. "Will winter be over soon?" she asks with a grin, as if she already knows the answer. In the next room, her husband and three-year-old daughter toss logs and newspapers into the fireplace. This is their very first visit to the Berkshires.

Valzhyna was recently named the 20th recipient of the Amy Clampitt residency, a program of Berkshire Taconic that since 2003 has provided poets and literary scholars a paid six- or 12-month stay at Clampitt's former residence near Lenox, Mass., where they can focus exclusively on their work. 
Read more
BTCF Tops $2 Million in Winter Grantmaking Cycle
Elder Services of Berkshire County received funding for its Meals on Wheels program, which provides home-bound elders with hot, nutritious meals each day.

Berkshire Taconic distributed nearly $2.1 million in our final cycle of 2015 grantmaking: $470,170 in grants to visual artists, early childhood education programs, health and human services, and conservation work in the four-county region we serve, and grants totaling over $1.6 million from donors with charitable funds at the foundation. 

Through our competitive grantmaking, Berkshire Taconic awarded grants from the Artist's Resource Trust Fund; William J. & Margery S. Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire & Savoy; Central  Berkshire Fund; Amy Clampitt Fund; Region One Athletic Fund; Tupelo Award Fund; and five education enrichment funds.  

Grantees include: Hillcrest Dental Care ($2,150) to provide oral health education to children in day care and elementary school; Wassaic Project ($2,500) to commission artwork by Jill Sedlock and Mark Rowntree, co-founders of Cosmo Design Factory; Steamrollers Youth Football ($1,000) to purchase uniforms and equipment; Flying Deer Nature Center ($2,500) for its environmental programs; and more.  

A full list of grants and grant recipients can be found at www.berkshiretaconic.org/wintergrants

Berkshire Taconic Board Adds Four

Recently we announced that Ellen Casey Boyd of West Stockbridge, Mass., Thaddeus Gray of Lakeville, Conn., Michael MacDonald of Pittsfield, Mass., and Richard Weininger of Claverack, NY have joined our board of directors. Learn more about our region-wide board here

Ellen Casey Boyd served as director of development at the Starlight Children's Foundation of New England and manager of corporate relations at the American Cancer Society's Eastern Division. She is an advisory committee member of BTCF's Denise Kaley Fund.
Thaddeus Gray is a managing director of Abbott Capital Management, a New York-based investment advisor focused exclusively on private equity, with assets of approximately $7 billion under management. He serves on BTCF's Investment Committee. 

Michael MacDonald is executive vice president and general counsel of Petricca Industries, the Pittsfield-based concrete products manufacturer. He received the Massachusetts Bar Association Community Service Award and the Colonial Theatre Community Service to the Arts Award. 
Richard Weininger is a physician and entrepreneur who has founded several health care management companies. The last of these was merged with CareCore National, a 3,000 employee enterprise where he served as executive vice president, chairman and, most recently, chief medical officer.

Quick Links
President's Message
I'm an early morning runner, have been for years. In the winter this means I rise at dawn and end when the sun is up. For the past 10 years, I've run pretty much the same neighborhood loop three times a week in Belfast, Maine in the company of a good friend who lives close by. Over the years, we've come to know every stretch of the streets underneath, allowing us to pace, anticipate and adjust course as necessary. It's habitual at this point, though it's now destined to become a memory. Read more 
Fundraising Guidelines
Berkshire Taconic has developed new fundraising guidelines for fund advisors or volunteers who wish to add to a component fund through appeals/solicitations and/or by special fundraising events. You can download them here
Portraits of Generosity
Our newest publication celebrates the people in our community who are making a difference. Together we are addressing challenges in the region and making brighter futures for our beloved towns. Read more 
Leadership Spotlight: Strengthening Nonprofits
It's a busy year ahead for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

First up in 2016 is the Nonprofit Leadership Institute, which helps executive directors build their leadership and management skills through a collaborative peer-learning program.

Facilitated by veteran consultant Janet Andr√© Block and using The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge as a foundation, the program offers a transformative learning experience that builds confidence and skills, and puts theory into immediate practice.  Read more
We're on Twitter! 
At the start of the year, Berkshire Taconic joined Twitter. Follow us @BTCF to stay up to date on foundation initiatives, community news and stories about philanthropy from near and far!
Upcoming Grant Deadlines

Contact Us
Berkshire Taconic
Community Foundation

800 N Main Street, PO Box 400
Sheffield, MA 01257-0400
t: 413.229.0370
f: 413.229.0329

Investment Returns as of 12/31/15
1-Year Return
3-Year Return
5-Year Return
10-Year Return
Managed Pool*
Managed Pool Benchmark
- 0.4
Income Pool
- 2.1
- 0.1
Money Market
Socially Responsible Investment Pool
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's Managed Pool portfolio gained 3.0% in the final quarter of 2015, outpacing its policy benchmark, indicating that positive investment manager selection offset an asset allocation headwind in the quarter.

The portfolio appreciated a modest 0.4% over the course of calendar year 2015, but remains above the weighted policy benchmark for its duration. Since inception in August 1999, the portfolio has generated an annualized return of 6.3%, outperforming a traditional global blend of assets (65% MSCI AC World Index/35% Barclays Global Aggregate Index) by approximately 2.0% per year with substantially less volatility. 

Volatility returned to the markets in 2015 and against a challenging backdrop of slowing economic growth and divergent monetary policy globally, virtually all of the major asset classes experienced declines. The portfolio's diversification proved beneficial during the year.

Domestic equities recovered from a third quarter sell-off to close 2015 nearly flat (0.5%) as measured by the Russell 3000 Index. A handful of stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) were significant contributors to performance and without them the index would have posted a negative result for the year. While developed international equities had a stronger finish in local terms, the strength of the U.S. dollar brought down the MSCI EAFE Index for the year. Currency also adversely impacted emerging markets securities, resulting in a 14.9% loss in U.S. dollar terms. The MSCI EM Index declined 5.7% in local terms in light of weakening economic data coming from select countries including China, which forecast growth of 7% real GDP, the lowest rate in a quarter century. An emphasis on domestic equities - as well as strong absolute performance from the foundation's private equity investments - led to outperformance within the equity segment in 2015. Read more

*Portfolio assets exceeded $111.5 million at December 31, 2015, and the portfolio distribution was 58.4% global public equity, 6.2% global private equity, 23.6% flexible capital, 1.1% inflation hedging, 7.4% global fixed income and 3.3% liquid capital. There were no changes to the manager line-up during the quarter.

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 at by email or 413.229.0370.
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