The idea for the Nonprofit Center evolved over a period of ten years, sprouting from the founder’s involvement in many small civic and nonprofit groups. In 2016, after meetings with professionals from both the nonprofit and business worlds, a structure for the Nonprofit Center emerged. Similar to a Chamber of Commerce, the NPC serves as the clearing house for information for nonprofits and has become a vital resource for the community.
In its first year, the NPC launched a web site with a “resource” section, an educational workshop series, and a giving guide connecting nonprofits with community members wishing to get more involved. The NPC also fields calls for information and referrals, meets individually with nonprofits, coaches boards and management, and represents the Berkshires on the Board of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
In 2017 the NPC conducted two county-wide surveys, launched a unique magazine for the Berkshire nonprofit sector called “Connections,” and created an email ListServe to facilitate cross-county communication. 2018 initiatives include the first Berkshire Nonprofit Awards, a Nonprofit Resource Guide, a Nonprofit Boot Camp, and the creation of a nonprofit Advisory Board. The NPC recently won the 1Berkshire Trendsetter Award in the “Newcomer of the Year” category.
Liana Toscanini moved to the Berkshires from New York City in 1996, and became an active volunteer, using her marketing background to help raise funds for restoration of the historic Sandisfield Arts Center building and winning a preservation award from the Commonwealth as well as placement on the National Register of Historic Places. She has edited town newsletters, chaired a local cultural council, and assisted the town of Sandisfield with park planning, a 250th town birthday celebration and history book. She was recognized as an Unsung Heroine in 2006 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and by Berkshire Magazine as one of the 25 most dedicated, creative & influential people of 2018. She currently serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. Liana’s passions include community building, historic restoration, zinnias and dessert.