Investing In What Can Be
Berkshire Bank is committed to investing in the potential and the future of the communities we serve. From our dollars to our team, we transform possibilities into a brighter reality for the people and places we serve.
As a bank of and for the community, our business thrives when the all of the members of the communities we serve thrive. Building on our 170-year history of community engagement, our community initiatives are focused on closing the wealth gap, with a particular focus on addressing racial disparities. For too long, people of color, and other marginalized populations, have been prevented from building wealth due to societal, institutional and structural factors beyond their control. We take responsibility as a community bank for playing a role in reversing that trend. To that end, we are developing products and programs focused on helping our neighbors build businesses, generate wealth and prosper.
As part of this work, we approach our community investment through a multifaceted program including:
- Berkshire Bank Foundation grants
- Bank donations and sponsorships
- Educational scholarships
- Employee matching gifts
- Our X-Team Employee Volunteer Program
- Individual employee volunteer involvement
- Board service
- Financial education
Berkshire Bank Foundation
We’re committed to investing in the success and vibrancy of those living and working in our local communities. By providing financial support, it’s our goal to offer access to opportunity for populations that have been disproportionally and unfairly underserved. Ultimately we seek to change the narrative that has contributed the wealth divide. The following guidelines are intended to inform prospective applicants about the Foundation's mission, focus areas, priorities and application procedure. We invite your interest in our work, and welcome your participation and partnership.
The Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to supporting programs that work to close the wealth gap, with a focus on racial disparities in wealth, in communities served by Berkshire Bank.
We envision a time when all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, have equal opportunity for economic mobility.
We support programs in communities served by Berkshire Bank that focus on one of four focus areas:
Within these focus areas, the Foundation gives priority to the following types of requests:
- Providing access to resources for underserved populations to become college, career and job ready and to contribute to the economic vitality their communities
- Providing access to quality affordable housing options that meet the evolving needs of our communities
- Promoting and supporting small business growth and entrepreneurship especially for underrepresented populations
- Providing opportunities for education and dialogue around the contributing factors to the wealth divide and what efforts might help reverse it
- Programs and projects that benefit more than 51% low-moderate income individuals
- Programs and projects that offer Berkshire Bank employees opportunities to be involved through volunteer efforts and board service
- Programs and projects with a demonstrated, tangible record of success
To be considered for grant funding organizations must:
- Be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Organizations that are not 501©3 are not eligible.
- Apply for a program or project that meets one of the Foundation’s focus areas.
- Submit a completed Foundation Grant Application through our online system and provide such other documentation as may be requested. Berkshire Bank Foundation will not respond to written inquiries seeking financial support.
Be located in or primarily serve one of the following communities (and/or its affiliates):
- Berkshire County, MA
- Hampden County, MA
- Hampshire County, MA
- Franklin County, MA
- Worcester County, MA
- Middlesex County, MA
- Essex County, MA
- Suffolk County, MA
- Norfolk County, MA
- Albany County, NY
- Schenectady County, NY
- Saratoga County, NY
- Washington County, NY
- Columbia County, NY
- Warren County, NY
- Rensselaer County, NY
- Fulton County, NY
- Montgomery County, NY
- Onondaga County, NY
- Oneida County, NY
- Herkimer County, NY
- Hartford County, CT
- Tolland County, CT
- New London County, CT
- Windham County, CT
- Bennington County, VT
- Rutland County, VT
- Windsor County, VT
- Mercer County, NJ
- Middlesex County, NJ
- Bucks County, PA
- Montgomery County, PA
- Washingston County, RI
- Newport County, RI
INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS & REQUESTS
Berkshire Bank Foundation does not support the following types of organizations and requests, even if the applicant meets all other eligibility criteria outlined above:
Any organization that has received either a charitable grant OR bank sponsorship within the current calendar year is not eligible for another contribution until the following calendar year.
- Fraternal, labor and political organizations, including fraternal orders of police and firefighters
- Lobbying Groups
- Athletic teams or social groups
- Private Foundations
- Intermediary organizations that raise and distribute funds in their own name
- Annual memberships and annual appeals
- Underwriting support for conferences or seminars
- Scholarship Programs/Funds
- General operating support
- Capital Campaigns
The Foundation has three deadlines for grant applications. These requests are due by the dates listed below. Decisions are made by Foundation staff with input from Regional Foundation Grant Committees. Large grants, although rare, may also require approval of the Foundation's Board of Directors. It is recommended to submit applications well in advance of the deadline so Foundation staff can reach out to discuss proposals further.
February 2 - 28
May 1 - 29
September 2 - 30
||November 2 - 30
Please note that after November 1st we do not accept any applications for our regular grant programs until the following year.
Funding decisions are based on a variety of factors including available resources and the degree to which proposals meet Berkshire Bank Foundation's charitable giving focus areas. We also look closely at employee involvement when considering requests.
HOW TO APPLY
For your convenience, Berkshire Bank Foundation is excited to offer an online request process, which will help determine if you meet basic eligibility requirements and collect all the information that we need to make a timely decision.
The first time an organization applies to Berkshire Bank Foundation for support using this system they will be required to create a user name and password. This will allow organizations the enhanced functionality of being able to track past applications, funding decisions, complete follow up reports as well as monitor their submission. After your initial account is created, all subsequent times you visit the site you can simply login.
Our online application process has the following stages:
1. Page 1 Eligibility Quiz: Applicants are required to complete an eligibility quiz to determine if their request meets basic eligibility requirements for support from the Foundation.
2. Page 2 Organization Information: Applicants are required to complete basic organizational information including the official organization name, address, website, tax id number and provide information about the people your organization serves.
3. Page 3 Contact Information: Applicants are required to submit full contact information for the primary request contact as well as the President/CEO/Executive Director of the organization.
4. Page 4 Project/Program Information: Applicants are required to submit information about the program or project they are applying for including a brief program summary, budget, and other supporting information.
5. Page 5 Attachments: Applicants may be required to submit the following attachments as part of any funding request: 501c3 IRS determination letter, Line Item Project Budget, most recent completed 990 form, and a Board of Directors List. Applicants also have the option of submitting other material that they feel may help Foundation staff in the review process. Attachments must be submitted in one of the following formats: .doc, .dox, or PDF.
IMPORTANT APPLICATION INFORMATION
Applicants will have the option to save and finish their work at any time. After completing the application and submitting it successfully, applicants will receive a thank you email sent to the address they provided.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly and notify applicants in the most efficient manner, Berkshire Bank Foundation uses electronic communications to notify applicants that their application was received, processed, and if it was ultimately approved or declined. The Foundation also requests that any correspondence or acknowledgement regarding grant funding be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Before completing an application, please ensure that you’re using Internet Explorer as your browser.
If you need assistance with your application, please click here
SAVED APPLICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS
To access a "saved" application, complete a grant requirement or to access your Grant Applicant Account please click here.