Tuesday, May 28, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing


BUSINESS BRIEFS: BUW grants $1M+ to local programs; The Pass celebrates anniversary; BMM sponsors Berkshire Busk!; CHP promotes, adds staff; Greylock promotes Gaffey

In anticipation of opening its satellite office on Main Street in Great Barrington, Berkshire Money Management is a lead sponsor of Berkshire Busk!

Berkshire United Way announces more than $1M in community investments

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire United Way (BUW) recently announced $1,116,000 in community grant investments to support 42 programs addressing issues related to early child development, youth development, and economic prosperity across Berkshire County.

The COVID-19 pandemic made it more challenging for organizations to support children and families, as basic needs like food, child care, and health services became a priority. BUW recognized this and immediately responded, but is now focusing on recovery and remains committed to investing in quality programs that help children and families succeed.

“Families are the foundation of our community. When families are safe, healthy and financially secure, they are more likely to reach the goals they have for themselves and their children,” said Candace Winkler, BUW CEO and president. “Over 3,500 individuals and businesses contributed to Berkshire United Way’s campaign this year. These donations will have the greatest impact to make lasting, positive change in the Berkshires.”

Grantees are selected through a rigorous review process. This year, 32 board and community members dedicated 480 hours of volunteer service, and through new coordination efforts, 24 new volunteers signed up. Grant awards were selected based on alignment with BUW’s focus areas, program design, two-generation approach, target population and ability to measure outcomes.

BUW’s main intention with these grants is to support family well-being and to address gaps in services in the community. Programs will generate a whole-family, integrated approach that focuses on educational advancement and economic mobility.

While BUW staff, board and volunteers are pleased to be able to support the community, requests for funding exceeded the amount available by $500,000. To increase investments in quality, impactful programs, join BUW in being Here For Good with a contribution to the next fundraising campaign, which starts July 1. To learn about BUW’s impact or donate, visit its website.


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The Pass celebrates one year of recreational sales and growth

Photo courtesy The Pass

SHEFFIELD — The Pass, Berkshire County’s southernmost cannabis dispensary, will celebrate one year of retail operations and company growth on July 15, 2021. The retail, cultivation, and production facilities initially created 40 jobs at the time of its opening during the pandemic. With the second cultivation site and outdoor grow operation in full production, The Pass’ parent company, Berkshire Welco, is retrofitting a defunct factory to create a second production and packaging facility that will expand its total workforce from 71 to 100 people. The Pass is a vertically-integrated cannabis and hemp company, producing and processing its own flower locally, offering Pass-branded products at its retail location, and wholesaling those products to cannabis dispensaries across the Commonwealth.

Adding a third, 40,000-square-foot facility will create up to 50 new full-time jobs to support manufacturing, processing, and packaging. The site will also augment The Pass’ extraction capabilities, with newer technologies coming online at the former extrusion factory. “Currently we use ethanol extraction for distillate and concentrates. We are adding hydro-carbon extraction and nano-technology for edibles, creating quicker onset of the products’ health and wellness benefits, especially for conditions like anxiety and pain,” said Director of Operations Eric Moskowitz.

This increase in production will satisfy the demand already in place for The Pass’ products, which includes wholesaling materials to other cannabis companies. According to Wholesale Director Edward Hogan, The Pass is “currently partnering with 26 dispensaries and our products can be found in 28 stores throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Pass also offers a curated selection of products from other makers, and partners with like-minded companies to expand its offerings. The Pass has partnered with Dompen, a high-quality line of vaping products, as its exclusive Massachusetts distributor. A partnership with Ionic in Washington has resulted in infused pre-rolls — cannabis that has distillate or full-spectrum oils added to enhance the benefits of the flower.

The science of cannabis is unfolding at an exponential rate as the commodity gains legal ground in the U.S. According to co-founder Chris Weld, a trained biochemist and former physicians’ assistant, “We have learned so much more about the endocannabinoid system and all the cannabinoids associated with the cannabis plant — there are 100-plus known cannabinoids — and as we study them, we are learning more now about the plant than ever. We can curate the effects we’re looking for, not just for a ‘high,’ but to work on pain thresholds, get better sleep, and manage anxiety, along with other benefits. The more we know about cannabis, the more we can help guide people to responsibly experience the effects they desire.”


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Berkshire Money Management sponsors first Berkshire Busk! festival

Berkshire Money Management Founder and CEO Allen Harris. Photo courtesy BMM

DALTON — In anticipation of opening its satellite office at 322 Main Street in Great Barrington, Berkshire Money Management (BMM) is a lead sponsor for Berkshire Busk!, a 10-weekend summer music and arts festival that will be held throughout July and August. The new, immersive summer event celebrates music and live performance each weekend from July 2–September 4 on the streets of Great Barrington.

Performers (“buskers”) will be stationed at an array of locations from one end of town to the other. The $10,000 sponsorship is one of many Southern Berkshire initiatives underway as BMM prepares to open its new office space.

“We are very excited to be part of the Southern Berkshire community and cultural scene, right on Main Street,” said BMM Community Development Director Nichole Dupont. “Having an office in Great Barrington, and the amazing community that comes with it, is a long time coming.”

To kick off the post-pandemic summer season, BMM founder and CEO Allen Harris gifted each of his employees $1,000 to be spent on local events — Jacob’s Pillow, Tanglewood, Barrington Stage — and dining, along with another $1,000 to be spent at local businesses. “We are committed, as always, to helping Berkshire organizations and businesses. We encourage everyone to shop local, be entertained local, eat local, and support local!”

Click here to learn more about Berkshire Busk! and its community sponsors.


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CHP promotes Dr. Yaman Kana, adds psychotherapist Rachel Duval

Dr. Yaman Kana. Photo courtesy CHP

GREAT BARRINGTON Community Health Programs has announced that Dr. Yaman Kana has been promoted to the position of associate dental director. Kana will continue to practice dentistry as he assists with oversight of CHP’s dental practices in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, and North Adams.

Kana earned his doctor of dental surgery degree at Ovidius University of Constanta in Romania. He first practiced general dentistry in private practice in Damascus, Syria and in the Syrian military.

On relocating to the Boston area, Kana he worked in private practice and at Boston University’s Dental Health Center. He later worked at the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, then went on to practice dentistry at DotHouse Health in Dorchester, HealthFirst Family Care Center in Fall River and Community Health Center of Franklin County. He joined CHP in 2020. He brings to CHP his fluency in Arabic, Romanian and French.

Rachel Duvall. Photo courtesy CHP

Community Health Programs has also announced that Rachel Duvall, LICSW, has been named to its behavioral health team. She will be based at CHP Lee Family Practice.

Most recently employed as a psychotherapist/social worker with Counseling Center in the Berkshires in Pittsfield, Duvall provides individual, family, and couples counseling, collaborating as needed with medical and psychiatric professionals on behalf of clients.

At Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Duvall was an adjunct professor of psychology, program director of RISE (Rockers for Intervention, Support & Education), and deputy Title IX coordinator. She has also worked as a social worker and coordinator for a school-based counseling program and in community-based mental health settings.

She earned her master’s degree in social work from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, and also holds a master of fine arts in acting from the National Theatre Conservancy in Denver. She earned her bachelor of science degree in theater performance, with associated study in psychology, from the University of Evansville in Indiana. A Great Barrington resident, she is a volunteer with BRIDGE.


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Greylock promotes Gaffey to assistant vice president

Sarah Gaffey. Photo courtesy Greylock

PITTSFIELD — Greylock Federal Credit Union recently announced the promotion of Sarah Gaffey to assistant vice president, mortgage and business development. Gaffey joined Greylock in 2018 and has worked in banking for 22 years.

Gaffey is a corporator at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) where she graduated Delta Mu Delta with a degree in business. She also serves on United Cerebral Palsy of Western Massachusetts’ board of directors, McCann Tech’s Alumni Association and Advisory Board, Northern Berkshire United Way’s Allocations Committee, and as an ambassador for 1Berkshire.



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