Berkshire Immigrant Center executive director Brooke Mead, center, with Massachusetts Nonprofit Network CEO Jim Klocke, right, and Elana Margolis of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts at the 2018 Nonprofit Awareness Day at the Massachusetts State House. Photo: Meri Bond Photography

Business Briefs: Excellence Award for Berkshire Immigrant Center; LEEF grant recipients; EFSP application sought; artists’ guild name change; business-growing seminar

The Richmond-West Stockbridge Artists Guild has changed its name to the Guild of Berkshire Artists.

Berkshire Immigrant Center honored at Nonprofit Awareness Day

Boston — On Monday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta joined hundreds of nonprofit and business leaders at the State House to celebrate Nonprofit Awareness Day, a statewide holiday honoring the contributions of nonprofits in Massachusetts. The celebration was hosted by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and presented by Citizens Bank.

During Nonprofit Awareness Day, Nonprofit Excellence Awards are presented to four organizations and two professionals that exemplify the innovative and effective work of nonprofits across Massachusetts. The winners are nominated by peers and community members and selected by an independent panel of nonprofit and business leaders. This year, MNN received over 150 Nonprofit Excellence Award nominations. The Pittsfield-based Berkshire Immigrant Center received an award for “Excellence by a Small Nonprofit.”

“The 33,000+ nonprofits in Massachusetts that employ a sixth of our state’s workforce are essential to the health and vitality of our Commonwealth,” said MNN CEO Jim Klocke. “… we recognized 27 nonprofits and leaders that typify the excellence of our sector.”


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Lenox Education Enrichment Foundation announces 2018 grant recipients

Lenox — Board members of the Lenox Education Enrichment Foundation recently convened to review grant applications from various educators, students and local organizations in the community. Proposals ranged from learning about the environment to initiatives that help children build self-esteem and grow. After a thorough process assessing application criteria such as excellence, impact and ability/feasibility, eight grant recipients were selected.

LEEF will underwrite the following educational projects in 2018:

  • Berkshire Pulse In-School Intro to Dance Program Students participate in workshops that build confidence, physical coordination and cultural awareness. Varied dance forms including hip-hop and Afro-Caribbean styles will be explored;
  • Fifth Grade Family Book Club An opportunity for fifth-grade students to share reading experiences with family and friends, celebrate stories and dig deeper into meaning;
  • How Does Wind & Water Shape the Land? – A field learning initiative in which students explore, model and experiment with the effects of wind and water on the land;
  • Lenox Mountain Biking Club – An after-school program connecting middle-school kids to nature and the local Berkshire environment as they ride through Kennedy Park;
  • Entrepreneurship and Marketing Education Project – Engaging students in authentic business concepts such as building a business from scratch and developing/marketing a product to sell in the local business community;
  • Community Access to the Arts Providing additional creative arts opportunities to students with special needs;
  • Mass Audubon/Housatonic Watershed Education Program – Lessons and outdoor field experiences including a canoe trip, covering essential life and earth science concepts related to the watershed, water cycle, ecosystems, and food webs; and
  • Robotics Club — Students will design and engineer a robot that will compete against other teams at state, regional and national levels.


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United Way seeks EFSP applications

Pittsfield — Berkshire United Way, the local administrator of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, is urging qualifying organizations located throughout Berkshire County to submit applications for supplemental emergency food and shelter funding for Phase 35 ESFP assistance.

Local organizations chosen to receive funds must be private, voluntary nonprofits or units of government; have an accounting system; practice nondiscrimination; and have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs. Applicants must submit eight hard copies of the completed application by noon Wednesday, June 13, to Berkshire United Way, c/o Julie Singley, 200 South St., Pittsfield, MA 01201. Late submissions will not be accepted.

The funding award of $49,311 was made by a national board that is chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, the Jewish Federations of North America, Catholic Charities USA, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and United Way Worldwide. Funds pass directly from FEMA’s EFSP program to the local agencies that are awarded funding, and a subcommittee of the local board made up of representatives of organizations that are not requesting or receiving funds determines the actual organizations that receive funding.


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Local artists’ guild changes its name

West Stockbridge — The Richmond-West Stockbridge Artists Guild has changed its name to the Guild of Berkshire Artists. The change reflects the wider geographic range of member artists. A new website will be launched shortly.

In the fall of 2014, Richmond artist Helen Febbo decided to address the isolation expressed by many of the artists she knew in the Richmond-West Stockbridge area. “I enlisted the aid of Pastor Janet McKinstry, an artist in her own right, who was kind enough to offer the group space in the Richmond Congregational Church,” Febbo said. Artist Ron Piazza designed the space and the guild’s first art show was held in November 2014 with a record-breaking crowd. A meeting of dozens of artists was soon convened, and the group elected Howard Greenhalgh as its first president. Bylaws were written, non-profit status was attained, and the growing group of artists mounted the first of many exhibitions at the recently renovated 1854 Town Hall.

Since then, current President Karen Carmean has worked to support the education of artists and the public. The guild’s artists create and lead a constantly changing schedule of exhibition opportunities, artist talks, lectures and continuing education opportunities. Upcoming guild events include shows at Lenox’s Welles Gallery in July and the 1854 Town Hall in August, regular summer plein-air art sessions and open studio tours.


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Salisbury Bank to offer seminar on how to grow a business

Millerton, N.Y. — Salisbury Bank and Dutchess SCORE will offer a seminar to discuss simple steps for growing a business Thursday, June 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the bank’s Millerton location.

Attendees will learn how to leverage the cross-industry expertise of seasoned executives to strengthen and grow their businesses via one-on-one mentoring and counseling from certified SCORE mentors. Presenter Al Hechler has been a SCORE mentor for nearly 10 years. He is a retired IBM project executive with skills in project management, business planning and marketing.

The seminar is free and open to the public. Reservations are suggested, but not required. To reserve a spot, contact Kevin Norton by calling (860) 453-3497 or sending an email with “Growing” in the subject line