From arts to agriculture, philanthropy is a passion

Portraits of Generosity: Carol and Michael Riordan

By Darryl Gangloff / September 21, 2022

Carol and Michael Riordan of Pittsfield are celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary this year. For nearly half of their marriage, the couple has helped their community thrive though their donor advised fund at BTCF.

“Berkshire Taconic makes it easy to give, and it matches organizations with our interests,” Michael said. Those interests include agriculture, the environment and the arts, which they express through grants to organizations such as Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and service at nonprofits like the Lake Onota Preservation Association, where Michael serves as chair. Their passion for arts and culture in the Berkshires stretches back to a summer trip to Tanglewood when they started dating.

“ We’re part of the community,and we want to be able to help where we can.”

This dedication to the arts is evident in their home, where they expanded their art studio after taking ceramics classes at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires. Inspired by the nonprofit’s work, they made a gift to provide much-needed equipment. Carol also discovered Community Access to the Arts through BTCF. Her philanthropy regularly supports their mission to celebrate the creativity of people with disabilities, and she now sits on their board.

“There are so many organizations in the Berkshires that serve an important need in the community,” Carol said. “These are places where anyone’s generosity can make a difference.”

The Riordans are also ardent supporters of BTCF’s Arts Build Community initiative. Carol serves as a member of its volunteer advisory committee that awards grants to arts and cultural nonprofits. “These organizations are trying to engage more members of the community by breaking down barriers,” Carol said, noting that she has found it inspirational to see these projects in action.

Carol and Michael want to instill the importance of philanthropy in the next generation. Each Christmas, they give their nine nieces and nephews a gift and match it with a donation to a charity in the young person’s name. “We’ve been very lucky,” Michael said. “We have an obligation to share some of that fortune to help others. It’s very simple.”