March 15, 2013

Sheffield, MA— Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) announced today that the Central Berkshire Fund recently awarded grants totaling $35,898 to 16 nonprofit organizations. The Central Berkshire Fund is one of 11 permanently endowed Area Funds established at BTCF to enhance life in a specific geographic region. BTCF’s Area Funds support programs and services in the arts, education, health, human services and the environment. Each Area Fund has an advisory committee of local residents who understand the needs of their local community and who guide the grantmaking.

The fund awarded grants for the following projects and programs:

Berkshire Music School: $1,000 to assist Wahconah High School’s band instructor by coaching ensembles and giving private music lessons to interested students.

Berkshire Nursing Families Lactation Program: $1,000 to bring their Lactation Program to Central Berkshire County.

Berkshire Theatre Festival BTG PLAYS! School Residency Program: $3,000 for a 14-week process to create and present original one-act plays.

Central Berkshire Regional School District Families First Program: $2,073 to teach parents how to engage their preschool aged children in learning activities.

Community Health Programs Becket Family Playgroup: $1,985 to host a playgroup twice a month at the Becket Town Hall where children under the age of five and their families can discover and explore art, reading, music and play.

Dalton Community Recreation Association Kindergym & Swim: $2,000 to promote children’s cognitive, physical and social growth through literacy activities, circle time, gym games, arts & crafts and swimming.

Elder Services of Berkshire County Meals on Wheels: $4,000 to provide 24,000 noontime meals to 295 Central Berkshire Fund area seniors through home delivery and Elder Services’ lunch sites in Becket, Dalton and Hinsdale.

Housatonic Valley Association: $1,000 to create an informational brochure for Hinsdale’s Old Mill Trail to highlight the unique historical and natural features of this beautiful community resource.

IS183 Art School of the Berkshires: $1,000 to bring “Learning Through Arts” (LTA) program, an after-school arts enrichment curriculum for Massachusetts students in Grades pre-K-12, to Craneville Elementary.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival: $3,000 to support its nationally recognized school-based arts education program, Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion (JPCiM), at Becket Washington School in Becket, MA.

MCLA Wee Read in Central Berkshire: $2,300 to distribute 350 books and bookmarks to children in the Central Berkshire region, ages birth-6.

The Nutrition Center Food: $3,000 to bring Food Adventures, a program designed to counter trends of overweight and obese children by going right into the classroom to teach about healthy food choices, to the Central Berkshire Regional School District.

Pediatric Development Center: $2,040 to support professional development and send two staff members to the Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium.

Sculpture Now: $3,000 to offer tours of their outdoor, sculpture exhibition at The Mount in Lenox, and hands-on workshops for students in the Central Berkshire Regional School District.

St. Agnes Academy PTO Community Playground: $2,500 to build a playground for their preschool and kindergarten students.

Wahconah High School Music Dept./Nessacus Music Program: $3,000 for iPads and iPod Touches that would be used as instruments and also as learning/assessment devices for all students.

“This is the second year that the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement program has received this funding from Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation,” said Wendy Provencher, CFCE Coordinator at Central Berkshire Regional School District. “We are truly ecstatic that we were chosen once again to receive these funds. With the current economy and budget cuts over the past few years it has become increasingly difficult to serve and strengthen our families with young children. This funding gives us the opportunity to offer parent workshops while their child/children are being cared for in the same building. Our objective is to give the parents as many tools as we can, so they can be a confident and strong first teacher to their children.”

The Central Berkshire Fund was established in 2001 as a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and works to improve the quality of life for the residents of Becket, Cummington, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Washington or Windsor. To donate to the Central Berkshire Fund, visit Berkshire Taconic’s website at:

For over 25 years, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has built stronger communities and helped donors make a difference through charitable giving in northwest Litchfield County, CT; Berkshire County, MA; and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY. Each year, the foundation distributes over $7 million through grants and scholarships to nonprofits and individuals in the arts and education, health and human services and environmental protection. Berkshire Taconic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. You can make a difference. We can help.