Berkshire Bank Foundation Invests Over $1M in Local Communities

PITTSFIELD, MA – Berkshire Bank Foundation is excited to announce $1,118,000 in philanthropic investments to 294 nonprofit organizations during its initial two rounds of 2018 grant funding. The funding will allow organizations to transform possibilities into a brighter reality for over three million individuals.

Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to investing in specific education and economic development programs that enhance opportunities for individuals in communities served by Berkshire Bank. The grant funding supports a wide-range of career advancement, affordable housing and small business initiatives. Among the recipients is YMCA Training, the recipient of a $10,000 grant for its Financial Services Training Program. This intensive, full-time professional skills and job-training program helps a diverse population of under-resourced adults prepare for employment in the banking and insurance industries. It replicates a real-life business environment, helping participants put their knowledge into practice so they are adequately prepared for careers in the financial services field. Berkshire's partnership with YMCA Training is improving the economic prosperity of the participants, while also creating a pipeline of diverse, trained, entry-level talent for the financial services sector.

In addition to its education and economic development funding, the Foundation once again offered a special Capacity Building grant opportunity designed to assist nonprofit organizations in improving their performance and impact. Through a competitive process, the Foundation received over 160 applications with nine organizations selected to each receive a $5,000 grant, including:

  • The Christian Center (Pittsfield, MA): Identifying Core Values, Best Practices and Available Resources
  • Revitalize Community Development Corporation (Springfield, MA): IT Infrastructure Implementation
  • Community Harvest Project (North Grafton, MA): Volunteer Farming Program Improvements
  • Irish International Immigrant Center (Boston, MA): Website Redesign Project
  • Billings Forge Community Works (Hartford, CT): Creating a Pipeline to Middle Wage Culinary Jobs
  • Rebuilding Together Saratoga County (Ballston Spa, NY): Development and Refinement of Grant Administration Processes
  • Abraham House (Utica, NY): Technology & Communication Enhancements
  • The Mentor Connector (Rutland, VT): Mentor Connector Salesforce Integration
  • Rise – A Community Service Partnership (Hightstown, NJ): Rise Food Pantry Database

"While education and economic development remain the Foundation's main funding priorities, we also recognize the need for other types of support to help nonprofits reach the next level of operational, programmatic and financial maturity", explained Lori Gazzillo Kiely, senior vice president, Foundation Director. "We're excited to be able to provide an opportunity to address these important issues, in addition to our larger commitment to the nonprofit sector in 2018."

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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 over $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 2018. To learn more about Berkshire Bank Foundation, visit

About Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Bank, America's Most Exciting Bank®, is recognized for its entrepreneurial approach, relationship customer experience and distinctive culture. With $11.9 billion in assets, Berkshire provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, wealth management, investment and insurance services through 115 full service branch offices throughout New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, including Commerce Bank, a division of Berkshire Bank. Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank. To learn more, visit, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Berkshire Bank is the official bank of NESN's Boston Bruins coverage, the Pan-Mass Challenge and the community partner of Boston Seasons at City Hall Plaza.