Overview

Why it Matters

Involvement in communities or organizations provides opportunities for people to act individually or collectively to address an issue or solve a problem by offering their time, skills and expertise. Research also shows that relationships and networks are strengthened through involvement in nonprofits, community initiatives or service to local government. In turn, those relationships and resources create far-reaching benefits, contributing to higher levels of trust and reciprocity among residents.

Desired Outcomes

  • Increased community engagement through arts and the creative process, especially among lower-income residents, communities of color, youth and immigrants
  • Increased community engagement in service and leadership activities in communities and through organizations

Initiatives

  • Arts Build Community
  • Board Leadership Development
  • Bridging Divides, Healing Communities

Arts Build Community

Berkshire Taconic launched the Arts Build Community initiative in 2017 to increase community engagement through a key regional asset—the arts and creative sector. With generous support from the Barr Foundation, BTCF is partnering with arts and cultural nonprofit organizations in Berkshire County 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.

Over 14,000

Full-time residents engaged

Over 52


Organizations

Over $1.4 million

Grants and other support

$250,000

Gifts from donors

Learn More About Arts Build Community

Board Leadership Development

As a form of community engagement, nonprofit leadership is about community service and giving back, as well as making good decisions, tracking performance and ensuring accountability.

Berkshire Taconic has created a range of new opportunities for nonprofit leaders to learn, connect and find inspiration from experts and one another, building on our decades of strengthening nonprofit leadership.

We believe community engagement through board leadership can increase if nonprofit boards are high functioning and welcoming to new members, and residents have the awareness, training and support they need to meaningfully participate in board service.

Strategy

Training & Networking: In 2018, we launched a daylong, multi-track Board Leadership Forum for the region’s nonprofit board members and executive directors. This event expanded as a statewide, virtual event in 2021 and 2022, in partnership with Essex County Community Foundation and other community foundations. We also offer a series of half-day seminars on critical topics such as a board’s role in effective fundraising and creating more diverse and inclusive boards.

Through our evaluation efforts, participants report they are putting the knowledge gained to use in their board work and feeling more effective and productive in their roles as leaders.

550

Board members and executive directors attended conferences and trainings

140

Organizations represented

Events like the Board Leadership Forum and Institute for Trustees bring board leaders together for learning and networking.


Art Omi

Art School of Columbia County

Basilica Hudson

Berkshire Art Association

Berkshire Athenaeum

Berkshire Botanical Garden

Berkshire Business & Professional Women

Berkshire Children's Chorus

Berkshire Community College

Berkshire Family & Individual Resources (BFAIR)

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Immigrant Center

Berkshire Music School

Berkshire Nursing Families

Berkshire Pulse

Berkshire South Regional Community Center

Berkshire Theatre Group

Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts

BRIDGE

Cadmus Lifesharing Association

Camphill Village USA

Canaan Child Care Center

Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity

Chatham Area Business Alliance

Chesterwood

Child Care of the Berkshires

Churchtown Fire Company

Clinton Church Restoration

Clinton Community Library

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

Columbia County Historical Society

Columbia Land Conservancy

Columbia-Greene Community College

Community Access to the Arts

Community Action Partnership for Dutchess County

Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire

Community Health Programs

Construct

Cornell Cooperative Extension Columbia and Greene Counties

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County

Cornwall Conservation Trust

Covenant to Care for Children

Dalton Community Recreation Association (Dalton CRA)

Dutchess Community College

Dutchess County Pride Center

Dutchess Outreach

Elsie K. Powell House

Everyday Democracy

Falls Village Community Development Corporation

Falls Village Housing Trust

Foundation for Community Health

Foundation for Norfolk Living

Friends of Hudson Youth

Friends of Oakdale Lake

Friends of Wethersfield

Gary Schiro & Associates

Geer Village Senior Community

Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center

Grace Immigrant Outreach

Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood

Greene County Council on the Arts

Greenwoods Counseling & Referrals

Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Connecticut

Hands In Outreach

Hawthorne Valley Association

Hazon

Hoosic River Revival

Hotchkiss Library of Sharon

Housatonic Youth Service Bureau

Hudson Area Association Library

Hudson Parks Conservancy

Jacob Leisler Institute

Jacob's Pillow

Jewish Federation of Dutchess County

Jobpath

Kent Land Trust

Kite’s Nest

Laurel Hill Association

Leadership Greater Hartford

Lenox Public Schools

Litchfield Montessori School

Litchfield Performing Arts/Litchfield Jazz

Louison House

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Mass Audubon Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries

McCall Center for Behavioral Health

Millerton Cinema Arts and Cultural Center

National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County

New Beginnings of Northwest Hills Litchfield County

New England Air Museum

New Lebanon Library

Noble Horizons

Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

Norman Rockwell Museum

North East Community Center

Northeast-Millerton Library

Northwest Community Bank

Northwest Connecticut Arts Council

Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation

NY Zen Center

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College

Perfect Ten After School

Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity

Railroad Street Youth Project

Roeliff Jansen Community Library

Roots Rising

ROOTS Teen Center

Salisbury Association

Salisbury Forum

Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association

Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service

Salisbury Winter Sports Association

Samuel Harrison Society

Scoville Memorial Library

Shaker Museum

Sharon Historical Society

Sharon Playhouse

Sisters for Peace

SOAR School Enrichment Program

South Williamstown Community Association

Spencertown Academy Arts Center

Stanton Home

Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives

Tapestry Health

The Artist Book Foundation

The Berkshire Museum

The Bidwell House Museum

The Chore Service

The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon

The Laurel Hill Association of Stockbridge

The Literacy Network of South Berkshire

The Mount, Edith Wharton's House

The Moviehouse

The Olana Partnership

The Poetry Foundation

Townscape

United Cerebral Palsy Association of Berkshire County

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires

WAM Theatre

Williamstown Theatre Festival

Women's Support Services

Bridging Divides, Healing Communities

In response to heightened political polarization and a pandemic that has magnified persistent racial and economic inequities, Berkshire Taconic is using grantmaking, convening and public events to help residents join together to build trust, strengthen relationships and pursue opportunities for healing.

Strategies

Grants Program: A grants program is supporting community-building efforts that can bridge differences and drive positive change at the local level. We fund organizations and groups to build and strengthen relationships among residents, especially people who hold different views or come from different backgrounds. The aim is to create opportunities for productive engagement and building trust and reconciliation.

Speaker Series: A five-part speaker series has explored some of the forces and trends creating disparities and division, and how to take action locally to build common ground and solve problems together. It has brought noted speakers and local residents together to discuss topics of race, social cohesion, the media’s role in polarized times and promising engagement efforts underway locally.

Youth Film Challenge: In a partnership with the Civic Life Project and the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, our youth film challenge encouraged young people ages 14 to 24 to submit a 6-minute film highlighting divisions and inequities in society, and how to tackle them in their families, schools and communities. The winning films tackled topics such as affordable housing, learning disabilities and food insecurity, and were screened at local venues.

$83,000

Grants to organizations and collaborations

35

Projects funded around the region since 2020

1,000

Viewers of our public speaker series to date

12

Semifinalists produced student films on challenging topics