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The 2018 Money Matters financial workshop at Miss Hall's School in Pittsfield. The school is looking for volunteer mentors for this year's event, which will be held next week. Photo courtesy Miss Hall's School

Business Briefs: Money Matters mentors sought; Brewer joins CDCSB; Local Farmer Awards applications open; Balance Rock moves; BTCF grant deadlines

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By Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019 Trade and Commerce

Miss Hall’s School seeks mentors for Money Matters workshops

Pittsfield — Miss Hall’s School is seeking area professional women to volunteer as mentors for its 19th annual Money Matters financial literacy workshops to be held Tuesday, Jan. 15, and Wednesday, Jan. 16, at its Holmes Road campus.

Eighth-grade girls from across Berkshire County will attend the interactive, daylong program, which will provide them with a foundation of financial understanding and help them to make informed financial choices. The program is facilitated by Smith College professor of economics Mahnaz Mahdavi; and René Heavlow, program director of Smith College’s Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

Volunteer mentors are asked to commit to one of the program’s two days, which run from 8:15 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with participating students attending one of the sessions. Mentors do not need to have special financial training; work and life experiences are sufficient preparation and mentors usually work in pairs with small groups of girls, taking cues from the facilitator and helping students carry out instructions.

During hands-on, interactive projects, students will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of compound interest, how to budget, the influence of higher education on their future earning potential, and more. They will also learn about developing professional communication skills they will need for future careers.

For more information or to register, contact college counseling director Courtney Hatch Blauvelt at (413) 395-7047 or chatchblauvelt@misshalls.org.


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CDCSB welcomes AmeriCorps member Alfred Brewer

Alfred Brewer. Photo courtesy Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire

Great Barrington — The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire has announced the addition of Great Barrington native Alfred Brewer as a full-time AmeriCorps member. Brewer will serve on the CDCSB staff for the next 10 months as associate project manager, working closely with the CDCSB team on current projects building affordable housing and providing community outreach.

Brewer received a Bachelor of Music in performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in May 2016. Since graduating, Brewer has worked in the entertainment, travel and legal professions in Montreal, Boston and Vermont.

The associate project manager, is part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation AmeriCorps program, which provides resources to community-based organizations to help transform underserved neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities. The LISC AmeriCorps program places AmeriCorps members with local nonprofit partners working to revitalize rural neighborhoods. In addition to the AmeriCorps position, CDCSB received a $7,000 LISC grant to cover a part of the expense.


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Applications open for 2019 Local Farmer Awards

Agawam — Farmers in Western Massachusetts are invited to apply for Local Farmer Awards of up to $2,500 toward equipment and infrastructure projects to help them compete in the marketplace. The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Big Y and with the support of other funders, is entering the fifth year of the awards program, which has helped more than 125 farmers carry out a total of 188 projects.

Previous awards have been put toward a high-efficiency vegetable washer, a walk-in cooler aging room, an egg washer, high tunnel irrigation, electric fencing and a Milkplan bulk tank.

To be eligible for an award, a farm must have gross sales of $10,000 or above, and be a member of either Berkshire Grown or Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture or located in one the four counties of Western Massachusetts. The application process is online and the deadline to apply for an award is Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. For more information, contact Cari Carpenter at (413) 276-0831 or cari@hgf.org.


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Balance Rock Investment Group moved into its South Street, Pittsfield, office in July 2018. Photo courtesy Balance Rock Investment Group

Balance Rock Investment Group celebrates 20 years with move to new office space

Pittsfield — Balance Rock Investment Group recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a move to its new office space on South Street.

Formerly known as Colt Investment Services, Balance Rock Investment Group was founded by David Milligan in 1998. In early 2011, in conjunction with its rebranding, Balance Rock moved to offices on Elm Street. Since that time, the firm’s client base and assets under management have nearly doubled, as its focus on asset management and retirement income planning proved necessary in the marketplace. To support this growth, Balance Rock purchased the White Horse Inn at 378 South St. in the spring of 2018, and set forth to both preserve and transform the historic building into a welcoming space better suited to meet the growing needs of clients and employees. Renovations and improvements were finished and the entire staffed moved in in late July.


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Berkshire Taconic announces first round of 2019 grant deadlines

Sheffield — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has announced the first round of deadlines for competitive grants in 2019. Regional nonprofits, students, individuals and schools are invited to apply for funding during the winter grants cycle. Online application processes exist for all grants and scholarships.

For nonprofits
Harvard Business School’s Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations program is designed for senior nonprofit leaders who are committed to implementing effective performance measurement and management in their organizations. The program is valued at $4,750 and runs Tuesday, May 28, through Friday, May 31, on the Harvard Business School campus in Boston. Applications are due Friday, Feb. 1.

The Crane Family Fund supports Berkshire County environmental organizations that propose innovative projects. Grants range from $1,000 to $2,000. Applications are due Friday, Feb. 15.

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 Friday, March 1.

Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program is an intensive one-week course for nonprofit CEOs, presidents and 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 runs Sunday, July 14, through Saturday, July 20, on the Harvard Business School campus in Boston. Applications are due Friday, March 1.

The James and Robert Hardman Fund for North Adams provides grants for nonprofit groups, community organizations and public agencies that support the residents of North Adams and the neighboring communities of Florida and Clarksburg as well as Stamford, Vermont. Grants range from $500 to $3,000. Applications are due Friday, 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 purpose are due Friday, March 15. Full grant applications are due Monday, April 15.

For students: Scholarships
Berkshire Taconic administers more than 35 individual scholarship funds for students in Berkshire County who plan to attend an accredited college, university, trade school or graduate program. Scholarships generally range from $1,000 to $10,000 and support a variety of academic interests including engineering, history, nursing and more. Some offer annual grants to students throughout the course of their undergraduate careers. Applications are due Friday, March 15, unless otherwise noted.

For students and individuals: Travel, summer service and cultural programs
The Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund and Youth World Awareness Program provides grants to students ages 14 to 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, Feb. 1.

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 Friday, 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 Friday, March 15.

For schools
Education enrichment funds support projects that will enhance the educational experience of students and teachers in Berkshire County school districts:

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 Saturday, Feb. 9. Nominees must complete their applications by Saturday, March 30. To nominate an educator, contact grants@berkshiretaconic.org.


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