The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is offering free admission for youth under age 18 during 2020. Photo courtesy Berkshire Museum

Business Briefs: Berkshire Museum free for kids; Barrington Stage new play award; Timber Framers Guild acquires Heartwood School; BTCF grant deadlines

Youth under age 18 can visit Berkshire Museum for free in 2020

Pittsfield — All visitors under 18 years of age will enjoy free admission to Berkshire Museum in 2020 through a new initiative honoring museum trustee and former board president Elizabeth “Buzz” McGraw. The unlimited free admissions, referred to as “FreeBee” tickets, for the museum’s youngest patrons were funded in full by donors at last summer’s wine gala event, which raised more than $300,000 for the museum’s education programs.

The FreeBee tickets are part of a larger effort by Berkshire Museum to remove the financial barriers that can limit visitation. The museum has provided free admission to more than 7,000 guests since 2015 through the Museums for All and EBT Card to Culture programs. During the 2018-19 school year, the museum invited all schools, regardless of location, to visit free of charge for the first time, welcoming 264 classes from 82 schools across four states. Both programs will continue to provide no-cost access to the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs through 2020 alongside the FreeBee ticket initiative.

–E.E.

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Bonnie and Terry Burman New Play Award accepting submissions

Pittsfield — Barrington Stage Company has announced that the second Bonnie and Terry Burman New Play Award is now accepting submissions. The winning playwright will receive $25,000, a staged reading and a possible full production. Two additional $5,000 awards will be given to playwrights who will each receive a staged reading at Barrington Stage.

The play must be a new, unproduced full-length play; be free and not attached to any producers or directors; be able to be performed with eight or fewer actors; and be wholly original and not an adaptation or translation of an existing foreign language play. The playwright must be a U.S. resident and may only submit one play for consideration. The play must be endorsed by a professional theater, commercial producer or literary agent.

Submissions will close Thursday, April 30. There is no fee for entry. Scripts will be read and evaluated through a blind submission process by committee assembled by Barrington Stage. A group of finalist plays will be read and evaluated by the New Play Award Committee in fall 2020, and the winners will be announced in late 2020.

For more information, contact Burman Award project coordinator Megan Nussle at newplayaward@barringtonstageco.org.

–E.E.

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Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts in Washington. Photo courtesy Timber Framers Guild

Timber Framers Guild acquires Heartwood School

Washington — The Timber Framers Guild has acquired the Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts to further its educational mission.

The Guild serves its diverse membership of professional timber framers, engineers, preservationists and timber frame aficionados by offering workshops, trainings and regional gatherings in which members can learn new skills while sharing their own knowledge. By purchasing the Heartwood School, the Guild will take a more active role in educating people interested in craft and the building arts.

Said Timber Framers Guild executive director Mack Magee: “The Heartwood School has been educating craft-minded people interested in the building arts in its sessions for 40 years. This regularly scheduled, consistent programming has trained thousands of people over the decades. By purchasing Heartwood, the Guild, celebrating its own 35th anniversary, will join other institutions committed to elevating and ennobling the work-life experience of those engaged in the trades. TFG Heartwood will continue to develop the Heartwood School legacy.”

–E.E.

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Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announces winter grant, scholarship deadlines

Sheffield — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has announced the first round of deadlines for competitive grants and scholarships in 2020. Regional nonprofits, students, individuals and schools are invited to apply for funding during the winter grants cycle from January through March.

For schools

Education enrichment funds will award grants for projects that enhance and enrich the educational experience of the students and teachers in area schools. Applications will be accepted from students, teachers, administrators, parents and members of the community:

The James C. Kapteyn Endowment Fund honors excellence in teaching with a $10,000 prize for study or travel. The successful candidate’s school will also receive a $2,000 grant. Nominations from school principals or chief administrators are due Sunday, Feb. 9. Nominees must complete their applications by Monday, March 30. Contact grants@berkshiretaconic.org to nominate an educator.

For nonprofits

The Crane Family Fund supports environmental nonprofit organizations that propose innovative projects, particularly for programs that connect at-risk and low-income youth to the environment. Grants range from $1,000 to $4,000. Applications are due Saturday, Feb. 15.

Berkshire Taconic’s Arts Build Community initiative supports innovation among Berkshire County’s nonprofit arts, cultural and community organizations as they work to increase community engagement through the arts. Rapid-response small grants are available to test emerging ideas with a fast turnaround from application to fund disbursement. The application process opens Monday, March 2, and will be considered on a rolling basis until all funds are expended.

The Green Pastures Fund supports nonprofit organizations or public entities that encourage or preserve small, community-based agricultural ventures. Grants range from $1,000 to $3,000. Applications are due Sunday, March 1.

Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program is an intensive one-week course for nonprofit CEOs or executive directors who are responsible for shaping the direction, mission policies and major programs of their organizations. The program is valued at $6,500 and will be held in June on the Harvard Business School campus in Boston. Applications are due Friday, Feb. 21.

The James and Robert Hardman Fund for North Adams provides grants for nonprofit groups, community organizations or public agencies that support the residents of North Adams and the neighboring communities of Florida and Clarksburg in Massachusetts, and Stamford, Vermont. Grants range from $500 to $3,000. Applications are due Sunday, March 1.

The Fund for Williamstown supports projects and services that will improve the quality of life for Williamstown residents. Grants range from $500 to $2,500. Letters of intent describing projects and their purposes are due Sunday, March 15. Full grant applications are due Wednesday, April 15.

For students

Berkshire Taconic administers more than 50 individual scholarship funds for students in the four-county region who plan to attend accredited college, university, trade school or graduate programs. Scholarships generally range from $1,000 to $10,000 and support a variety of academic interests. Some funds offer renewable awards. Applications are due Sunday, March 15 unless otherwise noted.

The Clayton Chrisman Memorial Fund Award provides grants to juniors and seniors at Mount Everett Regional High School for the costs of projects related to environmental studies. Projects may include travel, special classes, field trips and other related activities. A total of $2,000 will be awarded. Applications are due Sunday, March 1.

For students and individuals
The Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund and Youth World Awareness Program provides grants to students ages 14-22 for international travel and service. Grants range from $500 to $1,500 for individual applicants; larger grants may be considered for groups. Applications are due Friday, Jan. 31.

The Moonlight Mile Scholarship Fund supports women who are seeking matching funds to support travel or equipment needs for study or athletic competition, professional training, or support for alternative healing. Applicants should be at least 18 years old and live in Massachusetts or New York. Grants range from $500 to $1,200. Applications are due Sunday, March 15. 

The Simple Gifts Fund awards grants to young people ages 13 to 19 for participation in cultural or creative summer programs. Grants range from $200 to $800. Applications are due Sunday, March 15.

–E.E.