Community Access to the Arts launches online programming
Great Barrington — Community Access to the Arts has launched a series of online arts programs in order to combat the isolation that people with disabilities are experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis.
CATA suspended its workshops in early March to protect the health and safety of the people it serves, many of whom are especially vulnerable to the virus. But seeing how social isolation was falling hard on the disability community, CATA moved to adapt and deliver its programs online.
Thanks to donations from the community, CATA has launched interactive online workshops in dance, singing, painting, drumming, yoga and other activities. Some workshops are held over Zoom and others are livestreamed to CATA’s Facebook page. Offline, CATA assembles art-making kits consisting of professional-quality pencils, watercolor paints and other materials to deliver to CATA artists for virtual painting workshops. On a recent Saturday morning, CATA faculty artist Pat Hogan delivered fresh-cut flowers to several homes and agencies serving CATA artists with disabilities; CATA artists then used those flowers as inspiration in an online watercolor class that took place later in the week.
One of CATA’s major public events, its annual gala and performance, has been reinvented as a virtual event set to take place Saturday, May 9. CATA is working with local filmmaker Ben Hillman to share the talents of its artists and raise funds to continue its programs. “Each year we raise one-third of our annual budget at our Gala,” said executive director Margaret Keller. The film will debut live Saturday. May 9, at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a virtual paddle-raise auction to support CATA programs.
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Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire awarded community investment tax credits
Great Barrington — Gov. Charlie Baker recently awarded the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire an allotment of the 2020 Community Investment Tax Credit Program in the amount of $150,000. In a letter outlining the award, the Baker stated that the award is based on the CDCSB’s past performance and its strategic plan for creating more affordable housing and economic opportunity in the Berkshires.
CITC offers a 50% state tax credit for charitable gifts of $1,000 or more. The credits are available to individuals, nonprofit organizations, foundations and businesses. Donors who make a contribution of $1,000 or more are eligible for a 50% credit ($500) toward their Massachusetts tax liability. If the donor does not have a tax liability, the credit is refundable, whereby the Commonwealth will issue a check for the balance of the credit to the donor. Additionally, where applicable, donors may claim a federal charitable gift tax deduction.
There is no cap on the amount that a donor can contribute. Contributors taking advantage of the tax credit opportunity include nonprofit organizations, individuals, foundations and businesses throughout Berkshire County and beyond. “One doesn’t have to be a Massachusetts resident to take advantage of the tax credits,” said CDCSB executive director Tim Geller.
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Berkshire Botanical Garden appoints new director of horticulture
Stockbridge — Berkshire Botanical Garden has announced the appointment of Matthew Turnbull as director of horticulture following an intensive nationwide search. Turnbull will fill the position being vacated in May by Dorthe Hviid, who is retiring after has served in that capacity since 1992.
Turnbull is a graduate of the Longwood Gardens professional gardener program in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. He was the natural heritage garden manager at the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson, South Carolina. Turnbull went on to become assistant director of horticulture at Wave Hill, Bronx, New York, and most recently took on the role of greenhouse and gardens manager at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In his new position, he will manage the continuing growth and transformation of BBG through implementation of a multi-year master site plan while working closely with BBG’s other senior management on realizing long-term strategic plans.
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Nonprofit Center of the Berkshire to hold online workshops
Great Barrington — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will hold two webinars for nonprofits during the first week of May. The workshops are designed to address current challenges presented by remote working conditions.
On Tuesday, May 5, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Charles Baldwin will present “What Access Means Now.” He will talk about what accessibility currently means in a digital environment, and discuss a mix of resources, strategies and obligations that support the nonprofit sector. Baldwin is the program officer for the Mass Cultural Council Universal Participation Initiative, which provides resources for organizations seeking to develop inclusive and equitable tools for policy development and community engagement.
On Friday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to noon, Christine Singer will lead “Team & Morale Building During Challenging Times,” in which participants will celebrate new skills and heroic efforts, examine new conflicts that may be keeping staff from bringing their best selves to the work environment, and identify 10 ways of boosting morale. Singer has more than 37 years of leadership experience in nonprofit management, organizational development and workforce development.
Both webinars are free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, contact the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires at (413) 441-9542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Salisbury Bank participates in Paycheck Protection Program
Lakeville, Conn. — As part of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Salisbury Bank recently announced its approval of nearly $86 million in funding, preserving a paycheck for 8,703 people in the local market area.
“This is really about saving jobs and providing paychecks for all those people who have been affected in our community,” Salisbury Bank president and CEO Rick Cantele said. “This became a responsibility for all of us. Our staff has taken this personally and accepted it as their mission.”
Salisbury Bank and its Riverside division want the community to know that during the current crisis, the bank is fully staffed and available to meet customer needs. The bank remains open, offering all services and stands with the community during this crisis.