Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Berkshire Bank Foundation Giving Tops $480,000

Third Quarter Giving Reflects Investments In Local Communities

Berkshire Bank Foundation announced that it has awarded $483,382 in grants and pledges to 127 nonprofit organizations across its footprint during its third quarter grant cycle. In total, the Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in grants in 2017.

Since adopting a refined philanthropic strategy in the beginning of the year, the Foundation has focused the majority of its funding on work that achieves specific outcomes within the areas of education, community and economic development, and basic needs. “We believe that everyone should have access to the resources and means they need to succeed,” said Lori Gazzillo, Vice President and Foundation Director. “We are proud to invest in the many organizations that share in our vision and strive to make this a reality through their daily operations and programming.”

During the third quarter, nearly 30,000 children and adults improved their reading skills, gained a better understanding of their finances, and/or enhanced their career readiness through programs that received education funding from the Foundation. Dress for Success Hartford (CT) was among the nonprofits that received funding to support its Employment Readiness Program that helps unemployed and underemployed women gain professional skills and build confidence. The Foundation also helped support the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica’s (NY) Ready for Kindergarten program, an initiative that brings together schools, community service providers and parents. The Foundation is involved with similar early childhood education efforts throughout its markets.

Through its support of community/economic development efforts, the Foundation has helped nearly 60,000 individuals find affordable housing, grow their businesses, and rebuild and revitalize their neighborhoods during the third quarter of 2017. Recently, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity received a grant to support home ownership and repair projects for families that would not otherwise qualify for traditional financing.

In addition to education and economic development initiatives, the Foundation has also provided funding to organizations that address basic needs, making food, shelter, and basic healthcare services available to over 25,000 individuals in the most recent quarter. A grant to Elder Services of Berkshire County in Pittsfield, MA will support their Meals on Wheels Program, providing nutritious meals to the elderly. To amplify their financial support, Bank employees also completed a volunteer project in which they picked more than 100 pounds of apples to contribute to meals for Elder Services.

Beyond nonprofit financial support, Berkshire Bank and Berkshire Bank Foundation provide scholarships to high school seniors with a record of academic excellence and commitment to their communities through volunteer service. In addition, Berkshire provides its employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours through its XTEAM®, the Bank’s nationally acclaimed Employee Volunteer Program. Last year, 100% of Berkshire’s employees nationally donated 40,000 hours of service to benefit community organizations. In recognition of their work, the company was recently named a finalist for the US Chamber of Commerce Citizens Awards.

 

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