Monthly News: November 2022

By Kimberly Rock / November 18, 2022

Program, Philanthropy & Leadership Highlights

Local Journalism Fund Launches

We are pleased to announce that BTCF is partnering with The Berkshire Eagle to help ensure the future of local journalism and expand the critical reporting that fosters community connection and public engagement. The Berkshire Eagle Local Journalism Fund is a new charitable fund that will enable individual donors and funders to make tax-deductible contributions to support reporting on education, economic development, health, and arts and culture.

Economic Opportunity & Educational Attainment

We recently joined forces with Columbia-Greene Community College and Columbia Economic Development Corporation to present Skilling the Gap, a cross-sector forum that brought 100 employers, schools, community-based organizations and funders together to generate new ideas and partnerships to tackle workforce needs and career-oriented learning. To cultivate a more robust workforce pipeline, BTCF’s Fund for Columbia County and the Dyson Foundation are offering grants to support community partnerships. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until January 15, 2023; for more information, read the full Skilling the Gap Grant Guidelines.

Grants Available for Food Security Programs

BTCF is partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development to administer the CARES Act Community Development Block Grant Food Security Program for Berkshire County, providing immediate relief and support for individuals and families experiencing food insecurity as a result of COVID-19. Over $700,000 in grant funding has been committed so far to 5 organizations: Berkshire Dream Center, Bridge, Community Health Programs, Elder Services, and Food Bank of Western MA. Over $350,000 in funding remains available – organizations working on food security in Berkshire County are eligible to apply for these grants.

Education Enrichment

Our 30-plus education enrichment funds support engaging activities in our region's schools offered by area nonprofits as well as programs with artists and authors from around the country. This month in Columbia County, the Ichabod Crane Arts and Humanities Fund awarded $10,684 for projects including the 70th annual Harvard Model U.N. Conference, and the Taconic Hills Arts and Humanities and Education Enrichment Funds awarded $7,500 to 8 programs including student matinees from Barrington Stage Company. In Berkshire County, The Berkshire Hills Fund for Excellence awarded $12,516 for projects in K-12 grade levels including Berkshire Museum's Mobil Museum Units (MoMUs) and Greenagers' Pathways to the Trades.


Board, Staff & Committee News

Northeast Dutchess Fund

BTCF welcomes new advisory committee member Ken Holzberg, owner of Stonewood Farm, an organic vegetable farm in Millbrook, NY Ken is Secretary/Treasurer of the nonprofit, Stonewood Community Project Inc., which carries out the farm's charitable and educational mission. Previously, he practiced law at the Boston law firm, Hale and Dorr, and at several corporations including The Travelers Realty Investment Company and The TJX Companies.

Education Enrichment

We welcome new committee chairs to 5 of our education enrichment funds: Margo Neely, Williamstown Elementary School Endowment; Jeremy Winchester, Gateway Fund for North Adams Public Schools; Judi Matthews, Chatham Education Foundation; Susan Ebitz, FIRE; and Jennifer Hoffman, Lenox Education Enrichment Fund.

We're Hiring

Open positions include: Director of Communications and Marketing, Communications Officer, Administrative Coordinator. Learn more and apply.

Outgoing Staff

We thank outgoing Director of Marketing and Communications Justin Burke for 9 years of communications excellence. As a key member of the foundation's senior leadership team, Justin led key communications projects during a period of substantial growth and we thank him for his tireless service to the foundation.

New Staff

Aileen Meehan joins BTCF as Community Engagement Officer for Northeast Dutchess County and Northwest Litchfield County. Aileen has over ten years of experience in program administration in the arts, finance and education. Most recently, she spent six years at the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Aileen holds a bachelor's degree in Biology from UC Santa Cruz and a degree in photography from Brooks Institute of Photography. She resides in Millbrook, NY.

Also joining BTCF as Program Coordinator is Sarah Allyn. Sarah graduated from Rollins College with a BA in environmental studies and music performance and joins us most recently from Great Mountain Forest. Welcome Aileen and Sarah!


Grants in the News

Community Engagement

WAM Theatre, an activist theatre company centering gender equity, offered child care at no added cost for caregivers for their recent production of Cadillac Crew. Emily Bronson, senior BTCF community engagement officer was quoted in iBerkshires, "Combined with compelling and relevant content, this service is a powerful example of new approaches to community engagement that we are pleased to fund through out Arts Build Community initiative."

Access to the Arts

BTCF's Arts Build Community initiative supported a free dual-language concert and Storywalk under a large outdoor tent at The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home, featuring Grammy and Parents' Choice Gold award-winning author and musician, MISTER G, a star in the world of family music.


Coming Up

Hudson Hall's 2022 Winter Walk

Hudson's favorite winter street festival returns for its 26th year on Saturday, December 3 at 5 p.m., bigger and brighter than ever. Take an evening stroll down the mile-long length of historic Warren Street and enjoy performances, art installations, family-friendly attractions, local food and drinks, holiday shopping, fireworks and festive cheer. The Winter Walk is supported by a Fund for Columbia County Impact grant.

Early Deadline: FCC's 2023 Community Impact and Aging with Dignity grant application opens January 1, 2023 and is due February 15 - please note that this is an earlier deadline than in previous years.

2022 Year-End is Approaching

With Gratitude to Our Nonprofit Partners, Volunteers, and Donors

Your continued partnership and generous support of our strategies for increasing educational attainment, deepening community engagement and expanding economic opportunity in our region has been critical to help us accelerate the pace of progress on these priorities.


End-of-Year Giving - Dates to Remember

  • The last business day of the year is Friday, Dec. 30.
  • Please request stock transfers from your financial institution by Monday, Dec. 26. A stock transfer form is available on our website.
  • Donor Advised Funds: Please submit grant recommendations for 2022 by noon on Monday, Dec. 19
  • To learn more about opening a Donor Advised Fund, please contact us

Our Philanthropic Services team, as well as our Finance team will be available by phone and email until 5 p.m. on Dec. 30 to help with any last-minute requests. Learn more about ways to give on our website. Please feel free to contact our Philanthropic Services team at ps@berkshiretaconic.org with any questions.

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