Berkshire Bank Foundation Awards over $1 Million in Grants

Supporting Community & Economic Development Efforts

PITTSFIELD, MA, August 2, 2017 – Berkshire Bank Foundation is excited to announce that it has awarded $1,035,229 in grants and pledges to 340 nonprofit organizations across its footprint from January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017.

Since implementing a new strategy at the beginning of the year, the Foundation has focused the majority of its funding on nonprofit organizations that work to achieve 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 it a reality through their daily operations and programming."

To date this year, nearly 60,000 children and adults have improved their reading skills, gained a better understanding of their finances, and/or enhanced their job/career readiness through programs that received education funding from the Foundation. Capital Workforce Partners was among the nonprofits to receive support for its Hartford Youth Collaborative "Opportunity Works" Project, which offers career pathways, services, and guidance to at-risk youth in Hartford, CT. The Foundation also helped to put domestic violence survivors on the path toward economic security by funding the Elizabeth Freeman Center's innovative "Money School," which gives vulnerable women throughout Berkshire County the tools they need to take charge of their financial future and overcome obstacles such as damaged credit, inconsistent employment histories, legal issues, and the costs of recovering from trauma.

Through its support of community/economic development efforts, the Foundation has helped nearly 100,000 individuals find affordable housing, grow their businesses, and rebuild and revitalize their neighborhoods in 2017. Recently, Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield, MA received a grant for its work facilitating an entrepreneurial community by connecting startup companies with field experts and investors to aid them in creating successful businesses.

In addition to education and economic development initiatives, this year the Foundation has also provided funding to organizations that address basic needs, making food, shelter, and basic healthcare services available to over 700,000 individuals. A grant supporting the Greater Boston Food Bank's Emergency Hunger Services program afforded 7,500 meals for people and families in need throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

Beyond nonprofit financial support, Berkshire Bank Foundation awarded scholarships to 35 deserving high school seniors to assist with college expenses. Additionally, on June 7, 2017, Berkshire Bank completed its second annual Xtraordinary Day of Service, during which 92% of the Company participated in 65 volunteer service projects nationwide. From packaging meals to combating hunger, to cleaning local parks and delivering financial literacy lessons, employees donated over 6,000 hours of community service, benefitting 75 nonprofit organizations and directly impacting more than 435,000 individuals in just one afternoon.

About Berkshire Bank Foundation

Through foundation grants to nonprofits, scholarships to students, environmental programs, and employee volunteerism, Berkshire Bank is making a difference. Each year the Foundation donates $2 million to nonprofits throughout the Bank's footprint and 100% of bank employees provide over 40,000 hours of service through their XTEAM® corporate volunteer program. Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts' Most Charitable Companies by the Boston Business Journal in 2017. To learn more about Berkshire Bank Foundation, visit

About Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America's Most Exciting Bank®. The Company, recognized for its entrepreneurial approach and distinctive culture, has $9.3 billion in assets and 97 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. The Company has a pending agreement to acquire Commerce Bancshares Corp., the parent company of Commerce Bank and Trust Company, a $2.2 billion bank with 16 branches in the Worcester, MA and Boston, MA markets. To learn more, visit, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Berkshire Bank is the official bank of NESN's Boston Bruins coverage and the community partner of Boston Seasons at City Hall Plaza.

Contact: Heidi Higgins
Berkshire Bank
Phone: (413) 236-3756
E-Mail: [email protected]

Vanessa Pesa
Berkshire Bank
Phone: 4134471851
E-Mail: [email protected]