We dedicate this space to celebrating the impact and lasting legacies of those we have lost in 2023.

Nicholas Boraski

Dr. Nicholas “Nick” Boraski was passionate about helping young people pursue higher education and achieve their dreams. Nick always referred to himself as a “diamond-in-the-rough" in his youth, before his impressive ascent up the corporate ladder at General Electric. In his retirement, he was committed to helping young people who faced challenges similar to those he faced as a youth, and started a scholarship fund at BTCF for that purpose. Each year, Nick delighted in meeting personally with the recipient of his scholarship award and imparting his advice. Nick’s dedication to improving the quality of life and expanding opportunities for residents in Berkshire County also included mentoring up-and-coming executives, curriculum development with Berkshire Community College, and coaching youth sports in Dalton. In addition to the Nicholas Boraski Family Scholarship Fund at BTCF, Nick established four other funds at the foundation to support causes near and dear to his heart and to his beloved wife, Ruth, who pre-deceased him: The Ruth Boraski Fund for Meals on Wheels; The Ruth Boraski Fund for Girls, Inc; The Sadie and Charles Boraski Scholarship Fund at Wahconah Regional High School (in memory of his parents); and the Ruth and Nicholas Boraski Fund for the Christian Center in Pittsfield. Read more.

Neil Douglas Chrisman

Neil Chrisman was a champion of the arts and sustainable farming, and in 2010 founded Berkshire Agriculture Ventures. Through his donor advised fund at BTCF, Neil also supported many local conservation, environmental and agricultural organizations such as Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Sheffield Land Trust, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Sheffield Farmers Market, and Greenagers. Known to paint and write in his own time, Neil brought his passion to several arts organizations, notably serving with great distinction at Brooklyn Academy of Music (Board, 1980-2023, Emeritus; Chairman, 1982 – 1987) and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Board, 1993-2023, Emeritus; Chairman, 1995-2009). Raised in South America, and after graduating from Ruston Academy in Havana, Cuba, Chrisman earned a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University. After graduating, he was commissioned to serve in the U.S. Navy. Chrisman joined J.P. Morgan in 1961, and in 1967 earned an MBA from NYU Business School. When his beloved son Clayton passed away, Neil established a scholarship fund in his memory at BTCF to support students at Mount Everett Regional High School looking to pursue studies in environmental sciences. Chrisman and his wife Kathleen enjoyed traveling all over the world, choosing to live for much of the year on their farm in Sheffield, MA. Read more about Neil Chrisman.

Colonel Ruth Dewton

Retired Colonel Ruth Dewton was passionate about music, libraries, museums and elder care issues, and established The Joseph and Lily Dewton Family Fund with Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to support those interests. Dewton served in Vietnam, as well as several other locations throughout her life, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Dewton made homes in Maryland and Colorado, and in her last years worked with seniors as a licensed Physical Therapist.
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Jean Schabacker Donati

Jean Donati loved opera and was a longtime community volunteer. After Donati graduated Phi Beta Kappa with high honors from Wheaton College, she lived in Stockbridge and Williamstown with her husband Richard, where they raised a family of six children. She volunteered for more than 25 years at the North Adams Regional Hospital and served as president of the Williamstown Community Chest. She also worked with United Cerebral Palsy, the League of Women Voters, the American Cancer Society, the Red Cross bloodmobile, meals-on-wheels, and the Williamstown Chamber Music Society. Jean was an early member of the BTCF family, establishing a Donor Advised Fund with the foundation in 1995 after her husband passed away, naming the fund in his memory. Read more.

Joyce Brown Scheffey

Joyce Scheffey’s passions were social justice, civil rights and land conservation. She held a Donor Advised Fund with Berkshire Taconic to support these causes locally and nationally. Joyce could always be counted on to give not just her financial support, but also her words of advice and encouragement to the organizations she cared deeply about. With her husband Lew, who pre-deceased her, she founded the Monterey Preservation Land Trust. MPLT conserved hundreds of acres of land, including the beloved Scheffey homestead, Turkeybush, where they hosted several political and conservation fundraisers until Lew's death in 2012. Joyce lived a vibrant 93 years and is survived by her two children. Read More.

Jeanette Wildermuth

Jeanette Van Der Biesen Wildermuth, a Williamstown, MA resident, established a Charitable Remainder Trust with Berkshire Taconic to benefit three of our area funds – Fund for Columbia County, Fund for Williamstown and the Hardman Fund, which serves Clarksburg, Florida and North Adams, in MA and neighboring Stamford, VT. Born in Hudson, NY, she graduated from Philmont High School and went on to attend Austin Beauty School. Jeanette worked in the Williamstown Public Schools for many years and was a mother and homemaker. She enjoyed travelling the world with her husband Richard, who passed away in 2011. She volunteered her time at the Williamstown Tourist Information Booth and was a Gray Lady at North Adams Regional Hospital. She lived 96 years. Read more.