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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Southern Berkshire Chamber Persons of the Year Celebration; farmers market grant; Great Barrington opens ARPA Applications to nonprofits; free nonprofit trainings; Ilana Steinhauer awarded; Old Navy Outlet to open

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Williamstown (MA) Farmers Market, one of 10 “Market Match” grants totaling more than $100,000 to farmers markets in the region.

2022 Southern Berkshire Chamber Business Persons of the Year Celebration

Great Barrington– David Renner and Kevin Schmitz of The Marketplace Kitchen are the 2022 Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce’s Business Persons of the Year. A celebration will be held in their honor, Wednesday September 14 at 5 p.m. at Catamount Mountain Resort, 17 Nicholson Road, South Egremont, Mass.

Tickets are $70/person and are now available. Event sponsorships are available at $1,000 and $275 levels. For tickets, call (413) 528-4284 or visit www.southernberkshirechamber.com.

Chefs David Renner and Kevin Schmitz. Photo courtesy of the Southern Berkshire Chamber.

After honing their skills in celebrated venues in NYC, David Renner and Kevin Schmitz’s idea was simple: provide high quality, specialty prepared foods that you would find in a restaurant to be shared at home. They offer hand crafted food with the finest locally sourced ingredients. They are the original farm-to-table food business in the Berkshires.

For Chef Kevin Schmitz, cooking and baking is all about the challenge of mixing experience, chemistry, and creativity. It starts with being respectful to the ingredients and using the finest you can find. Schmitz has had the opportunity to work in many amazing locations, including Chillingsworth Restaurant, The Riese Organization, Shearson Lehman Hutton, and the White Hart. Kevin lives in Great Barrington with his wife, Claudia. On top of employing dozens of locals through their five locations and donating thousands of meals to the community, Schmitz has served the community in many ways. He has been on the Sheffield Economic Task Force, The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, he has served both the Administrative Board and as a Deacon for the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington and for the Sheffield Community Bread Oven.

Chef David Renner thinks of food as an incredible world of opportunities to delight the senses. He would do anything to surprise someone with a delight they never experienced. He often says, “I love building the catering experience to bring in as many senses as possible.” Renner’s experiences stem from restaurants such as LeRegence Restaurant, Hotel Plaza Athénée, Entrepreneur Yacht Club, Wheatleigh, and the White Hart. Renner was educated at Florida International University and The Culinary Institute of America. Renner lives in Lee with his family, is a volunteer firefighter, and dabbles in history, gardening, and cooking for his family.

The Southern Berkshire Chamber promotes business prosperity and a healthy, inclusive community by providing information, services, and advocacy for its members. Contact Betsy Andrus, Executive Director, for more information on membership at (413) 528-4284; email betsy@southernberkshirechamber.com.

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Berkshire Agricultural Ventures awards $2,000 grant to Williamstown Farmers Market

Great Barrington– Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Williamstown (MA) Farmers Market, one of 10 “Market Match” grants totaling more than $100,000 to farmers markets in the region.

Photo courtesy of Williamstown Farmers Market.

Grants from the Market Match Fund allow these markets to match Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits up to $30, giving SNAP recipients up to $60 to purchase fresh, local produce, meat, dairy, breads and baked goods, seeds and edible plants at each visit. These grants are designed to increase access to fresh, local food for low-income families while increasing sales for local farmers.

Other markets that have received grants, each based on the needs and capacity of the market, include those in Great Barrington, Lee, North Adams, Pittsfield, Sheffield, West Stockbridge, Copake-Hillsdale, Millerton, and New Lebanon.

Market Match Fund grants are made possible with support from Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Food Co-op, The Josephine and Louise Crane Foundation, The Feigenbaum Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guardian Life Insurance, The Donald C. McGraw Foundation, The Whitehead Foundation, Wild Oats Market, and a number of generous individuals.

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) is a nonprofit organization working to support the development and viability of local farms and food businesses throughout the Berkshire-Taconic Region, helping to build a thriving local food economy, improve access to fresh food for everyone, and address climate change through regenerative agriculture. For more information on BAV’s low-interest loans, grants, and technical assistance, please contact us at info@berkshireagventures.org or (413) 645-3594.

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Great Barrington opens ARPA applications to local nonprofits

Great Barrington— Great Barrington has opened the application process for local nonprofits seeking grants from American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) received by the town.

The town received $2,075,908 in ARPA funds to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 on households in Great Barrington. In April, the town earmarked $850,000 to organizations supporting housing-related assistance.

The town will now distribute another portion of the ARPA funds to Great Barrington-based nonprofits serving low- and moderate-income households, households that experienced unemployment, and households that experienced food or housing insecurity.

The application form is now open.

Eligible nonprofits are those providing housing and housing assistance (including rent, mortgage and utility assistance), food/food assistance, health care, transportation-related assistance, and employment and job training assistance.

The application form can be downloaded here or from the Town Manager’s page of the town website, www.townofgb.org. Proposals are due September 30 by 4 p.m. via email. Funding awards will be made by the town manager in accordance with ARPA priorities approved by the Selectboard.

Recipient organizations will be required to sign a grant agreement with the town, file quarterly program updates with the town, and collect any required demographic or other data that may be required by the U.S. Treasury in order to document use of ARPA funds and ensure compliance with federal requirements.

ARPA grant funds are eligible for expenses incurred between July 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2024. All funds incurred by that deadline must be expended by Dec. 31, 2026.

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Trainings for small and mid-sized nonprofits

Pittsfield— The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is teaming up with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to offer a series of free workshops to small and mid-sized nonprofits looking to increase their capacity and resilience.

The “Level Up Series for Nonprofits” will take place in the fall of 2022. Over two dozen webinars and in-person workshops are scheduled between September and December. To accommodate all-volunteer organizations, some evening trainings will be offered. The workshops are open to all Berkshire nonprofits. Small, all-volunteer, new and grassroots organizations are especially encouraged to take advantage of this free series aimed at strengthening organizations in areas such as grants and fundraising, marketing, and board development.

Local and regional faculty will teach workshops in grant preparedness and grant writing, program evaluation, logic models and theory of change, the Berkshire funding landscape, donor cultivation, board development, fundraising, social media, video, storytelling, PR, and more.

These professional development opportunities are made possible by a CARES Act grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.

Classes are limited to 20 participants, and free, limited, one-on-one coaching is available for most topics. Registration for workshops is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For additional details about the “Level Up Series for Nonprofits,” or to register, visit www.npcberkshires.org.

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Ilana Steinhauer of Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires wins award for health equity

Great Barrington— The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics announced that the Sixth Annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity Presented by the NAFC has been awarded to Ilana Steinhauer, Executive Director of the Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires, Great Barrington, MA. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — the nation’s leading philanthropy on health and health care — developed this award program to find and honor individuals working for systemic change to address health inequities within their communities.

Ilana Steinhauer is not only the Executive Director of the VIM Berkshires but also serves as clinical director and is an active nurse practitioner. The Massachusetts clinic provides care to about 1,300 patients, 80% of whom are immigrants. From ensuring the availability of translators, to connecting patients with community health workers, she is constantly working to address and reduce health disparities.

Being a rural community with a lack of public transportation, Ilana helped create a transportation program to get patients to and from appointments, eliminating a major barrier to care. This program provides almost 1,000 rides annually, significantly increasing patient visit attendance and improving health outcomes. She also helped create and serves as a leader of Berkshire Alliance to Support the Immigrant Community, which unites local organizations working to support immigrants in their community and improve health outcomes. Ilana also helped ensure that resources were available to address to COVID-19 pandemic. Within the VIM clinic, Ilana ensures equity is central to the organization’s culture.

“We are grateful to have leaders like Ilana Steinhauer who are dedicated to providing accessible, affordable, and equitable care to the members of their communities,” NAFC President and Chief Executive Officer Nicole Lamoureux said.  “Ilana exemplifies the passion found at Volunteers in Medicine and other Free and Charitable Clinics for creating a culture of health, addressing disparities, and changing systems to have a positive impact on health outcomes in communities throughout the country.”

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Old Navy Outlet to open in Lee 

Lee— Old Navy Outlet will be opening on Saturday, September 10 in Lee Premium Outlets in Lee, Mass.

Old Navy (part of the Gap Inc. family of brands) offers fun, fashionable, and affordable clothing for the entire family.Old Navy offers a safe in-store shopping experience as well as a convenient Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) option. Some stores may also offer curbside pickup for contactless shopping and/or a designated pick-up station in-store where customers can easily pick up orders without waiting in line.

Interior of an Old Navy store. Photo courtesy of Old Navy.

As part of the brand’s growth strategy, Old Navy is focused on opening new stores in smaller markets to reach new customers who have had the opportunity to shop the brand online but haven’t had access to a local store. Last year, the brand opened approximately 42 new company-owned store locations in smaller markets, with approximately 30 stores (including three Outlets), planned in 2022.

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