NEWS

FOR RELEASE

November 18, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

413 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER PROGRAMS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is holding three educational programs for nonprofits in December.

 

On December 2nd from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. via Zoom, the NPC will host Cross Insurance for a “Lunch & Learn” session on “Stuff My Insurance Agent Never Told Me.” Cross Insurance, a family owned agency with 40 branches, will talk about what nonprofit insurance should be providing and the impact of COVID-19 on insurance. The session is free but registration is required.

 

On December 4th, from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m. via Zoom, the NPC teams up with Berkshire United Way to present their respective volunteer websites and their potential impact on nonprofits. Liana Toscanini of NPC and Brenda Petell of Berkshire United Way will explain the differences between the two platforms and how nonprofits can best be represented to connect with volunteers. This “Lunch & Learn” is free but registration is required.

 

Three partners from management Consulting Firm, Interim Executive Solutions, will present “Success Planning Requires Succession Planning” via Zoom on December 8th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This 90-minute workshop with a half hour of Q&A is designed for board members and senior staff who will leave with a roadmap to begin the conversation within their organizations. The workshop will cover inventorying top job requirements, implementing planned and unplanned transitions, assessing internal and external options and more.

The cost is $25 for NPC members and $45 for nonmembers.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is dedicated to connecting nonprofits to resources. Register online for NPC webinars at npcberkshires.org or call (413) 441-9542.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

September 22, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

413 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT WORKSHOP ON NAVIGATING BIAS IN THE WORKPLACE

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires hosts Gwendolyn VanSant of BRIDGE for a 2-hour webinar entitled “Navigating Bias in the Workplace.”  The webinar takes place via Zoom on Tuesday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  The fee is $60 per person. VanSant says, “Understanding that biases are active in all human interactions is essential. In this workshop, we will explore assessing organizational and sector bias as well as implicit bias we carry as individuals in a workplace. We’ll examine bias in hiring and also in assigning work and leadership roles.”

BRIDGE’s focus is on supporting nonprofit managers and leaders in navigating biases.  A personal bias or simply a preference can disrupt work or set back shared goals and vision. Having a culture that is prepared to examine bias in all interactions and planning is essential.

Founded in 2007, BRIDGE (dba Multicultural BRIDGE) is a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing equity and justice by promoting cultural competence, positive psychology, and mutual understanding and acceptance. The organization acts as a catalyst for change through collaboration, education, training, dialogue, fellowship and advocacy.

To register, visit npcberkshires.org or call (413) 645-3151. Scholarships are available for nonprofits with budget challenges, courtesy of Lee Bank. Email Elizabeth@npcberkshires.org for more information.

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 2, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

NPC LAUNCHES GiveBackBerkshires.org TO HELP IN COVID-19 RECOVERY

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has partnered with the Massachusetts Service Alliance and a Cincinnati-based technology firm called Inspiring Service to launch an online platform for the Berkshire community that presents nonprofit data and stories. Prospective volunteers and donors can use the information to take action to help in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The new web site launches officially on September 9th featuring nonprofit profiles, stories of COVID-19’s impact, and real-time data such as volunteer hours lost, fundraisers canceled, and program and event revenue lost. GiveBackBerkshires.org is a digital extension of the Nonprofit Center’s Giving Back guide which will appear in The Berkshire Eagle on September 23rd.

 

NPC founder Liana Toscanini said, “This online tool couldn’t come at a better time for Berkshire County which has no county-wide volunteer service. People really want to help during this pandemic but they need information about volunteer opportunities, items needed, and the types of needs in our community.” All Berkshire County nonprofits are invited to have a presence on the web site at no charge thanks to sponsors Berkshire Bank, Inspiring Service and Massachusetts Service Alliance.

 

As the community partner for the Berkshire region, the NPC will be joining the Cape, Metrowest and Boston regions in deploying this useful assessment, response and recovery tool. The aggregate regional data will assist funders, donors, and others addressing nonprofit needs in directing their philanthropic dollars.

 

The Massachusetts Service Alliance is adopting the platform statewide for organizations to connect to volunteers and donors. Inspiring Service was founded in 2017 to provide technology to inspire and connect people to improve their communities.

 

Visit the new web site at GiveBackBerkshires.org. To learn more about the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

July 17, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

413 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER’S GIVING BACK GUIDE GROWS – LITERALLY!

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The little digest-sized booklet normally found in coffee shops will have a new look come September. The “Giving Back” guide is the signature publication of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, designed to connect Berkshire nonprofits to people who want to help. With over 1,000 nonprofit listings in the directory, the guide is in its 5th year serving as a tool for volunteerism and philanthropy.

 

Due to the Coronavirus, many of the guide’s distribution locations such as libraries, eateries and shops may not be open depending on the spread of infection. “We had to reimagine our most popular product because it is needed now more than ever,” said Liana Toscanini, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center. The NPC has partnered with The Berkshire Eagle to produce the guide as part of the September 23rd issue of the newspaper.  There will be a special focus on nonprofits in the editorial sections as well.

 

While all nonprofits are listed free in the directory, those wishing to bring more awareness to their organization can purchase a profile in the 32-page section. The deadline to reserve a profile is August 4th. The “Giving Back” section is sponsored by Berkshire Bank, Feigenbaum Foundation, and Massachusetts Service Alliance.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires promotes volunteerism via the Giving Back guide, volunteer fairs, board trainings, and a new web site launching in August with the domain GiveBackBerkshires.org.

 

For more information call (413) 441-9542 or visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

May 27, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

413 441-9542

 

JUNE PROGRAMS FOR NONPROFITS

 

On June 2nd from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Philanthropy Massachusetts and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires present “Meet the Donors.” This virtual panel discussion is an opportunity to learn more about local funders and ask questions of the foundation representatives including Lori Gazzillo Kiely of Berkshire Bank Foundation, Candace Winkler of Berkshire United Way, Anne Pinkston of Coolidge Hill Foundation, and Carrie Holland of Milltown Capital. Peter Taylor, President of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, will moderate. The fee is $20 for NPC members/$30 for nonmembers.

 

On June 4th, nonprofits can sign up for a 1-hour fundraising phone consultation with Laurie Werner of Pittsfield. Bring your questions about annual fundraising, starting and running a capital campaign, grant writing, or organizing a development office. The fee is $25 for NPC members/$40 for nonmembers.

 

On Thursday June 11th, the Massachusetts Service Alliance presents a webinar, “Volunteers Matter,” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This workshop will share information, best practices and tools to help organizations re-envision how they utilize the skills and time of volunteers and provide examples of systems that support effective volunteer management overall. The fee is $15 for NPC members/$20 nonmembers.

 

The Nonprofit Center helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow. To join the NPC or register for events, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 3, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

413 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER LAUNCHES “BREAKFAST CLUB” FOR SCHOOL PROGRAM

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has created a “Breakfast Club” for sponsors who would like to support the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards breakfast and NPC’s new Philanthropy in the Schools program.

 

The $275 sponsorship is targeted to local businesses and individuals. Fifty percent of the proceeds will fund NPC programs for nonprofits including the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards, and fifty percent will fund the roll-out of the philanthropy program in fall 2020. Currently the program is being piloted at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield, where it continues virtually through the end of the school year.

 

The pilot philanthropy program is funded by Guardian and meets a wealth of state curriculum requirements. It also provides each student with $100 to donate. Students have learned about famous youth philanthropists, the Berkshire nonprofit sector, and how to identify their passions and interests. After researching local nonprofit organizations, the students will present their findings to each other and vote on one or more nonprofits to support. They will experience the joy of giving in a virtual meet-up with the nonprofit recipients.

 

NPC founder Liana Toscanini said, “It’s really important to teach young people how great it feels to give, whether as a volunteer or a donor. Our entire nonprofit sector will depend on this generation in the not-too-distant future.”

 

Breakfast Club sponsors will be acknowledged at the virtual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards on May 19 and throughout the program rollout. For more information about sponsorship, visit npcberkshires.org or call (413) 441-9542.

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 27, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

413 441-9542

 

BERKSHIRE NONPROFIT AWARDS HONOREES CHOSEN

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, in partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, has announced the names of 22 honorees receiving recognition at the 3rd annual (virtual) Berkshire Nonprofit Awards on May 19.

 

A panel of 16 judges deliberated for 90 minutes via Zoom, ultimately choosing 3 honorees in each of 7 categories as well as one honoree for the lifetime achievement award. The Berkshire Nonprofit Awards recognize the accomplishments and dedication of the people who work in the nonprofit sector. The honorees are:

 

Samya Rose Stumo Youth Leadership      

Raei Bridges/NAACP, Berkshire County Branch

Sara Rawson/Southern Berkshire Health Coalition

Alix Ziaja/ROOTS Northern Berkshire Teen Center

 

Unsung Hero

Sabrina Allard/Railroad Street Youth Project

Joe Gunn/Barrington Stage Company

Mary Jo Ramos/Berkshire Immigrant Center

 

Volunteer      

Melissa Myers/Berkshire Community College Alumni

Judith Nardacci/Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention

David Russell/Barrington Stage Company

 

Rising Star    

Sharron Frazier-McClain/Barrington Stage Company

Jenney Maloy/Stockbridge Library Association

Caroline Wheeler/Sisters for Peace

 

Board Leadership    

Sue Doucette/Berkshire County Head Start Child Development Program Inc.

Ann Gallo/IS183 Art School

Arwen Lowbridge/WAM Theatre

 

Super Staffer

Dale Abrams/Mass Audubon Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries

Thasia Giles/Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Aleta Moncecchi/Berkshire Community Action Council

 

Executive Leadership          

Edward Forfa/Berkshire Retirement Home, Inc.

Kathy Keeser/Louison House, Inc.

Maureen O’Connell Atwood/The Pediatric Development Center

 

Lifetime Achievement          

Wray Gunn, Sr./Clinton Church Restoration, Inc.

 

The awards event kicks off a virtual two-day summit on nonprofit sustainability taking place May 19 and 20. The summit features two keynote speakers, four workshops, and two panel discussions. Sponsors include: Berkshire Bank and Warrior Trading, with additional sponsorship support from Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Feigenbaum Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and Triplex Cinemas. Register online at npcberkshires.org

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 3, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

BERKSHIRE NONPROFIT AWARDS NOW PART OF TWO-DAY VIRTUAL SUMMIT

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is transforming the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards into a two-day virtual summit on nonprofit sustainability.

 

The expanded event will be held on May 19 and 20. It will kick off at 10:00 a.m. on May 19 with the Awards celebration, followed by keynotes, presentations and workshops throughout the afternoon and following day. Positive psychologist, Dr. Maria Sirois, will give the opening keynote address on the topic of resilience.

 

NPC Founder Liana Toscanini said, “We’re excited about this new virtual format because we can add so much value for attendees including short interviews with the honorees, guest speakers on critical topics such as revenue diversification and virtual fundraising, and an online resource room.”

 

Tickets for the event are $20 for anyone to attend the awards celebration only, $30 for NPC members to attend the full two-day offering, and $40 for nonmembers. Registration will be available online at the end of April.

 

The awards nomination deadline has been extended to April 15. For more information visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

BERKSHIRE NONPROFITS HAVE PRESSING NEED FOR CASH SURVEY REVEALS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, in collaboration with The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, has released the results of its flash survey on pressing nonprofit needs.

 

Five concerns have floated to the top: meeting payroll and general cash flow, cost of pivoting to work remotely, fundraising in the midst of a crisis, staying connected and advice on messaging, need for volunteers.

 

Immediate needs include: cash to pay bills, short term operating grants and low interest loans, access to information on what relief is available, help providing for clients (food, gift cards, drivers, childcare, diapers etc.), help getting the word out about online fundraisers and programs, video conferencing equipment.

 

NPC Executive Director Liana Toscanini explains, “It’s important to understand that most of our nonprofits are small, lean, and somewhat fragile financially-speaking. Nonprofits are chronically under-funded for basic infrastructure needs such as staff, equipment, and professional development. Many don’t have 3 months of operating reserves in the bank.”

 

Nonprofits anticipating longer-term needs will require stop-gap funding, help with grant writing, unrestricted grants, additional marketing, and capacity building.

 

For more information on COVID-19 resources for nonprofits and ways the community can help, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

 

FOR RELEASE

March 9, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER OFFERS ONLINE AUCTION FOR NONPROFITS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is holding an online auction from March 16-31 to raise money for its educational programs and services for nonprofits.

 

The “Nonprofit Necessities” online auction features items needed by nonprofit organizations as well as things that appeal to the general public.

 

NPC founder Liana Toscanini said, “Our local businesses and consultants are very generous in their support of our programs because they value the contributions of nonprofits to our community.” The NPC is accepting donations of products and services through March 31st.

 

Nonprofits and their board members are encouraged to bid on practical items they might not normally be able to afford such as consulting, billboard advertising, bylaw review, event photography or marketing services.

 

The public can also bid on everything from local honey to a week on Cape Cod to a “microneedling” rejuvenating skin treatment.

 

Visit npcberkshires.org to learn more and connect to the auction.

 

###

 

– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –

 

Contacts:

Liana Toscanini/Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires: liana@npcberkshires.org; 413.645.3151

Diane Pearlman/Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative: diane@berkshirefilm.org; 413.528.4223 or 413.329.3912


Join Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative & Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires for a dinner benefit to celebrate the launch of the new Community Film Fund

 

Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) and Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will officially launch their new initiative, the Community Film Fund, at a benefit dinner at Chez Nous, 150 Main Street in Lee, MA on Wednesday, February 12th. Dinner will be served from 5:00pm – 9:00pm. The Community Film Fund is a matching fund to help Berkshire region nonprofits create impactful videos for their branding, marketing and social media. Details of the fund will be announced and 15% of the evening’s proceeds will go to the new Fund thanks to the generosity of Chez Nous (merci)!

 

In today’s world, video messaging is becoming increasingly important. Wordstream, an online advertising company, states that the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. An initial email with a video receives an increase click-through rate by 96%.

 

Yet, according to BMFC’s Executive Director, Diane Pearlman, “Many times, this essential tool is cut from a nonprofit’s budget. The Community Film Fund will help give a “voice” through video to our smaller nonprofit organizations, as well as create jobs for professional filmmakers in our area.”

 

BFMC has raised an initial $25,000 to launch the Fund. Information, guidelines as well as links to local filmmakers will be available on the BFMC website on February 14, 2020.

 

Liana Toscanini, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, says video is one of the most wished-for marketing tools in the nonprofit world. “Those who can’t afford to create a professional piece are at a disadvantage because digital storytelling directly impacts fundraising,” says Toscanini.  “If you don’t tell your story, people don’t open their checkbooks!”

 

To make dinner reservations for the February 12th  benefit, visit https://cheznousbistro.com/events or call 413.243.6397

 

Special thanks to the Community Film Fund major sponsors: Black Rock Foundation, GWFF, Jadana Productions, Jayne Atkinson & Michel Gill, Berkshire Bank, Sikalia Productions, Karen Zink, John Lawrence Ré, Greylock Federal Credit Union and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

 

For more information about the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative and the Community Film Fund, go to www.berkshirefilm.org or call 413.528.4223. For more information about the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, go to https://npcberkshires.org or call 413.645.3151.

 

###

 

 

FOR RELEASE

February 4, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT RESOURCE DIRECTORY

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has issued the second edition of its Nonprofit Resource Directory designed to make it easier for nonprofits to find business services in Berkshire County.

 

The 68-page directory is underwritten by advertisers and mailed free to over 300 nonprofits. A digital version is available for download online, and additional printed copies can be purchased for $10 at npcberkshires.org.

 

“We love being able to provide free services to nonprofits while boosting the business-to-nonprofit economy at the same time,” said NPC founder Liana Toscanini. “Our job is to make life easier for nonprofits and we’ve been told this directory saves people valuable time.”

 

The Nonprofit Resource Directory is arranged by subject and includes accounting, banking, events, fundraising, graphic design, human resources, insurance, legal, legislators, marketing, office supplies, organizational development, print services, professional development and technology services. Subcategories within the main categories further pinpoint the specific types of services that nonprofits need such as videographers, media contacts, and grant writers.

 

The NPC also fields referrals daily via phone (413) 645-3151 or email info@npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

January 30, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, in partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, will present the 3rd Annual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards breakfast on Tuesday, May 19, from 8 to 10 a.m. at Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield. The awards recognize people who work tirelessly in the nonprofit sector to serve the Berkshire community. State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli will serve as emcee.

 

“The nonprofit sector employs a quarter of our workforce,” said  Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center. “It’s important to honor their commitment and accomplishments, especially in our community which has one of the highest number of nonprofits per capita in the Commonwealth.”

 

Nominations are being solicited from across the Berkshires in eight categories: Executive Leadership, Board Member, Super Staffer, Unsung Hero, Volunteer, Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement. A new category, the Samya Rose Stumo Youth Leadership Award, honors the memory of the Sheffield native who lost her life on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March of 2019. The 24-year-old was en route to Kenya for nonprofit work in global health development.  NPC board member and contemporary of Samya, Auric Enchill, was deeply affected by the tragedy and her commitment to nonprofit work and suggested naming the award in her honor.

 

20 honorees (three in each of 6 categories, one youth leadership and one lifetime achievement) will be selected by a committee of business and nonprofit leaders. The nomination forms are available at npcberkshires.org. The deadline for submissions is March 26.

 

The NPC is currently seeking sponsors for this celebratory event. To date, major support comes from The Berkshire Eagle with additional support from Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Lee Bank, and The Triplex Cinema. For more information about sponsorship, contact Liana Toscanini at liana@npcberkshires.org

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

January 23, 2020

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires Welcomes Four New Board Members

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires announces the addition of four new members to the NPC board. The organization was founded in 2016 to help nonprofits connect, learn and grow. Since then, it has launched twenty programs including workshops, publications, networking events, and the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards.

 

NPC founder Liana Toscanini commented, “We’re excited to evolve our board to meet the challenges of our fast-growing organization, and harness their creativity and connections to meet the demands of the nonprofit sector we serve.”

 

Stephanie Bosley serves as the Community Connector Partnership Coordinator with Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC). She has held positions with 1Berkshire, the American Cancer Society, the Town of Adams and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and currently serves as a Commissioner on the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, and on the Board of Directors for the Hoosic River Revival project.

 

Patrick Danahey is a Berkshire-based entrepreneur, operations strategist, and design enthusiast. In 2017 he co-founded R3SET Enterprise that develops brands and products to effect positive socioeconomic change within communities. Recently Patrick and his team opened Sp3ak Easy Studio, the Berkshire’s first video podcasting studio, helping organizations harness the power of contemporary marketing and storytelling. He is a Berkshire Leadership Program graduate.

 

Auric Enchill graduated from Tufts University in 2018 with a U.S. History major and an Entrepreneurial Studies minor. He currently works as a sales manager at Elegant Stitches, his family-owned business in Pittsfield. He recently completed the Dulye Leadership Experience and is currently serving on the board of the Berkshire Immigrant Center.

 

Ilene Marcus is founder of Aligned Workplace where she helps organizations build cohesive teams for business growth. She is also the author of How to Deal with Annoying People. After 30 years in the C-suite of multi-million dollar organizations, and earning her MSW and MPA from Columbia University, she served as Adjunct Faculty in the Social Work Masters Program for 10 years.

 

Erika Allison has been elected Board Chair.  Marianne Fresia has been reelected to the position of Treasurer, and Ilene Marcus will serve as Secretary. Returning board members include Dan Stanyon and Abbie von Schlegell.

 

Learn more about the NPC board at https://npcberkshires.org/staff-board/

 

###

 

Executive Spotlight: Liana Toscanini, Director of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

 

PHOTO BY: BEN GARVER

 

PITTSFIELD Volunteering makes Liana Toscanini feel useful, and her background in marketing gives her the skill set that small nonprofits look for when they’re seeking visibility in a crowded Berkshire job sector.

 

Put those two elements together, and you have someone with the desire and expertise to form the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, which Toscanini did in 2016. The Great Barrington-based agency is designed to facilitate growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable services and creative collaborations. The agency’s executive director, Toscanini’s presence is felt on the state level, too. The former marketing and fundraising director for Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington, Toscanini currently serves as the Berkshire County representative on the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s board of directors.

 

A native New Yorker who currently lives in Sandisfield, Toscanini is also a great-grandaughter of famous Italian music conductor Arturo Toscanini, whom she never met, but knows intimately through her family history.

 

We met with Toscanini recently to talk about her passion for volunteering, her reasons for starting the nonprofit center, and some interesting tidbits about her famous great-grandfather.

 

Q: Why did you start the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires?

A: I came here 25 years ago now, and did so much volunteering that I became the volunteer that can’t say no. There was one particular two-week period in 2016 where six or seven people reached out to me for help in writing a grant or getting some publicity, whatever it was. They were cornering me in the produce aisle, mostly grabbing me in the grocery store and saying “you’ve got to help us.” I thought that someone had pinned a sign on my back that read, “ask me and I’ll help.”

 

Q: So what happened next?

A: I had a thought that there has to be a better way to get these people the help they need without these attacks in the grocery store. I had had a kind of committee advocate commission idea about a decade earlier, because I knew that people needed all of the things that I knew how to do, just marketing, basically telling your story. … I spent my entire Christmas vacation writing a business plan for the nonprofit center. Some, but not all of it, has come true. I foresaw having 150 members and I think I’ll have 150 at the end of the year.

 

Q: Why did so many people ask for your help?

A: Because they heard I helped people with this and that and I’m the gal to go to and I always say yes. … You have to learn how to say no sometimes.

 

Q: The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will be four years old in April. Did you think it would come as far as it has this fast?

A: I have to say I sort of exceeded my own expectations. I knew that it was needed because I talked to like 50 people before I started it. I think the number of programs that we’ve launched and the sort of solutions that we’ve come up with based on the needs that we’ve seen have been pretty extensive. I’m really pleased with how much value that we’ve brought to the table.

 

Q: What are the services that the Nonprofit Center provides?

A: The things that have been most valuable have been that “Giving Back” guide, the directory of nonprofits. Certainly the education workshops — we’re now up to two a month — and miscellaneous varieties of education like our nonprofit boot camp. The (annual) Berkshire nonprofit awards is a big deal. … It should be noted that all I’m doing is looking for the holes and filling them. … People tell us what they need and we see the hole and we fill it. I wanted a directory of nonprofits when I started and there wasn’t one so I created it.

 

Q: Why are these resources needed here?

A: I would say it’s due to the actual Berkshire nonprofit sector. It’s huge, and we’re in this funky, trifurcated county, which makes getting together and sharing resources and collaboration more difficult. If you have a collaboration with someone in Williamstown, the solution is to meet in Pittsfield, a 45-minute drive each way. So if you’re a nonprofit person with not a lot of resources, taking two hours out of your day just for driving is crazy.

 

Q: Given the economic impact the nonprofit sector has on the Berkshires already, I would assume that most people know a lot about these organizations already. But that’s not the case?

A: Awareness is a huge issue because 75 percent of our nonprofits are small, meaning their annual revenue is under $250,000. That’s 700 or 800 nonprofits some of them all run by volunteers. They fly under the radar, and if you’re flying under the radar you’re not attracting donations. So, those two things are directly related, marketing and fundraising. That was actually my title for 10 years at Community Access to the Arts, marketing and fundraising director. I had seen firsthand how much these things rely on each other.

 

Q: Is the Nonprofit Center planning to introduce any new programming?

A: What people are asking for is more networking opportunities. They want to have a bonus educational or inspirational component: it could be a speaker series every quarter featuring someone who can bring sage advice to the table so that they’re going away with a nugget of something. They won’t come out just for a glass of wine.

 

Q: Are you musically inclined like your great grandfather?

A: Years ago, I sang in choir and took piano lessons, so I am musical. But I don’t really have time to do it much.

 

Q: Is music a thread that runs through your family?

A: It’s a pretty big legacy. My father was called the professional grandson. He literally had to speak at giant events, every anniversary, 50 years after [Arturo Toscanini’s] death (who was 89 when he died in 1957). People were always asking [my father] to write articles. So it’s a pretty big job. We (Toscanini and her two younger sisters) were sort of relieved of that. … There’s a biographer and basically a lawyer and those two already know everything there is to know and field all the questions. … It continues to be a responsibility, but my father didn’t want us to have to shoulder all of that. I inherited all [Arturo Toscanini’s] papers. … I’ve already been asked two or three times this year for photos of various members of my family. … I get to go up digging in the attic and get these things out.

 

Q: I’ve read that Toscanini conducted the New York Philharmonic from 1928 to 1936, and appeared with orchestras all over the world, except for those of Italy and Germany during the fascist and Nazi regimes. Is there anything about him that most people don’t know?

A: In the 1930s, he conducted the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, their inaugural performance, for free, which saved a lot of Jewish musicians. He did it as a political statement basically. One of the members had enlisted him and he gladly did it. It’s a pretty great story, actually. There are pictures of him being presented with oranges and things.

 

Q: Why was conducting the Palestine Symphony Orchestra a political statement?

A: Basically because he was anti-fascist. And he had so many musician friends who were Jewish. It was really just about doing what was right.

 

Q: Was he forced to flee Italy during the war?

A: Yes, he got beaten up one day because he wouldn’t play the fascist anthem before performances. Mussolini was probably following him and recording him. … He used to be the conductor for the Salzburg Festival, but after Hitler took over Austria he stopped conducting there. I think it was because Winifred Wagner was a friend of Adolf Hitler. [Wagner and Toscanini] were friends, too. I think I have a little blue porcelain pillbox from Winifred Wagner to Arturo. People gave him gifts from all over. … He went back to Italy after the war but came back here. I don’t know if he ever became (an American) citizen. He died in The Bronx.

 

###

 

Make Statement on Giving Tuesday

Friday, November 29, 2019

 

PITTSFIELD — I admit I have mixed feelings about Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3. We live in a place where people give all the time. The Berkshires must be one of the most philanthropic regions around. How else could we support over 1,000 nonprofit organizations? Because I live and work in this environment, Giving Tuesday seems like a made-up Hallmark holiday.

 

But then I remember the whole impetus for this national day of giving following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday has a rightful place in this line-up. Nonprofits hope to attract new donors on this day and many do. And some loyal donors will give online on Dec. 3 as well as via the remittance envelope in a nonprofit year-end fundraising appeal.

 

But for some, Giving Tuesday must seem excessive with all the simultaneous printed appeals in the mailbox. “Donor fatigue” is a real thing here. Some people get upwards of 50 or 100 Giving Tuesday emails in their in-box. Yikes!

 

According to the Giving Tuesday website, Giving Tuesday raised more than $400 million last year and is the biggest giving movement in the world. So what is the real reason to give on Giving Tuesday? For some donors, it might be to help their favorite nonprofits win a matching donation. Others just get caught up in the excitement of an entire day devoted to supporting mission-driven organizations. Still others respond to emotion-triggered campaigns or viral sensations. And personal asks from friends and family are hard to resist.

 

If we remember how it started, however, the reason for giving on that day becomes clear. Giving Tuesday was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season. To me, Giving Tuesday is a way for all of us to make a very noticeable statement about what’s really important to us.

 

If you want to do some research ahead of Giving Tuesday, pick up your free copy of the 4th annual Giving Back guide, distributed throughout the Berkshires during the months of November and December. The 176-page booklet is free because our sponsors and advertisers embrace the notion of giving back and want to help others to do the same. Find a Giving Back guide at your local coffee shop, bank, or other community gathering place, or download a copy at npcberkshires.org.

 

Liana Toscanini is founder and executive director, Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

 

###

Don’t just stand there: Volunteer!

Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

by Hannah van Sickle, from The Berkshire Edge

 

Great Barrington — The long-term benefits of volunteering are slowly becoming apparent to the delight of individuals from all walks of life. In an April 2017 article on nonprofithub.org, 8 Long-Term Health Benefits of Volunteering were revealed, running the gamut from boosting self-esteem and expanding connections to reducing stress and contributing to a longer life. Four Berkshire-based organizations have teamed up to present a volunteer fair Friday, Nov. 15, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Saint James Place, 352 Main St.; despite the differing demographic each serves, they are united in their goal: promoting volunteerism as a way to keep people active, healthy and engaged in community life.

 

Elaine and Ben Silberstein. Photo courtesy Community Access to the Arts

Elaine and Ben

Silberstein of Alford understand this purpose inherently. In a recent phone interview, Ben cut straight to the chase: “We are fortunate to be able to live in the Berkshires, and we think it’s important to give back [in order] to create a strong, vibrant community.” His involvement ranges from Railroad Street Youth Project and Community Access to the Arts to Alford Land Trust and Berkshire Bounty. “We are all one community,” he added. “By helping others, we also help ourselves.” Elaine Silberstein shares these sentiments. Through her involvement with Construct Inc. and the Jewish Women’s Foundation, she has been able to learn about the multifaceted needs in our community, stretching from food insecurity to transitional housing. “I learned a tremendous amount about people’s needs,” she shared in a phone interview. “The list goes on and on. Being a volunteer has just opened my eyes to so much of what is out there,” which gets to the heart of Friday’s event.

 

Age Friendly Berkshires, Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, Berkshire United Way and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College have joined forces to promote volunteerism and the myriad benefits that come from doing volunteering. Age Friendly Berkshires coordinator Peg McDonough explained: “We’ve created this event to highlight the good work of local nonprofits and municipal boards and committees, all of whom need to recruit smart, active adults to help them fulfill their missions. At the same time, doing good for one’s community is good for the body and soul of the volunteer.” Everyone is welcome, especially people over 50 looking for new ways to get involved.

 

Executive director Heather Kowalski, left, and board president Rob Hoogs, second from left, of the Bidwell House Museum meet participants at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College’s Nonprofit ‘Speed Dating’ event in March. Photo: Megan Whilden

 

Underwritten by AARP Massachusetts, the fair will give 35 nonprofits as well as municipalities the opportunity to meet face to face with prospective volunteers. Attendees will be given a Volunteer Passport and encouraged to visit four or more volunteer stations for the chance to win door prizes. Those in attendance will also receive volunteer tips and a Skills Checklist for matching personal talents, interests and values with local volunteer opportunities.

 

Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires executive director Liana Toscanini at the Dulye Leadership Experience open forum at Hotel on North in Pittsfield in March. Photo courtesy Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

 

“We’re already planning to repeat this event in both central and northern Berkshire County in 2020,” said Liana Toscanini of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. “Our county is rich in ‘people power’ between year-round residents, second homeowners and retirees. They can make a world of difference to our many nonprofits and municipalities,” said Toscanini.

 

Participating nonprofits include AARP Massachusetts, Alzheimer’s Association, Barrington Institute, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Berkshire Center for Justice, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Berkshire Historical Society, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Berkshire United Way, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Clinton Church Restoration, Community Health Programs, Construct Inc., Dewey Memorial Hall, Entrepreneurship for All Berkshire County, Festival Latino, Flying Cloud Institute, HospiceCare in the Berkshires, Jacob’s Pillow, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, Railroad Street Youth Project, Riverbrook Residence, Saint James Place, Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, Ventfort Hall, Villages of the Berkshires, Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires, and WAM Theatre.

 

###

 

Support for nonprofit sector serves us all

October 2019

by Liana Toscanini, from Berkshire Trade and Commerce

 

Depending on your point of view, we either have a scary or healthy number of nonprofits in Berkshire County – over 1,000 if you include all the churches, fire departments, teachers’ unions, international organizations, and civic and social groups. Each of these nonprofits has dedicated founders, volunteers and staff, and each manages to forge ahead fulfilling its own mission to improve life in our community despite limited resources.

 

Sure, the competition for funding is intense. But resources have always been limited for nonprofits. That’s practically the definition of nonprofit, and certainly the daily reality for many.

 

If you’re a local business, you’re experiencing limited resources too! It’s called “donor fatigue.” Requests for funding far outpace available dollars no matter how philanthropic you’d like to be. Processing the multitude of requests from many great organizations isn’t easy and has probably developed into what seems like a full-time job for someone in your organization. It’s hard to turn people away, and it can all seem utterly unsustainable.

 

Significant part of economy

While corporate (and individual) donor fatigue is of real concern, it’s important to continue to invest in our vital nonprofit sector. It is a huge economic engine, employing a significant chunk of our local workforce. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Berkshire County has one of the highest rates of nonprofit employment in the U.S. And, as we’ve seen since the economic downturn of 2008, it’s a resilient sector too.

 

What’s more, over the past decade, nonprofit job growth outpaced for-profit job growth by 3-to-1 in the U.S., as reported by Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.

 

At Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires (NPC), we believe our community has what it takes to support a large nonprofit sector, and that there are unleveraged assets in Berkshire County. Our mission is to connect nonprofits to those resources.

 

Our local legislators are well aware of the vitality and importance of nonprofits and they work hard to advocate for funding. Berkshire media outlets do an admirable job covering nonprofit life and events. Local businesses are extremely generous, investing private capital to effect social change.

 

Corporate earnings have increased under the new tax laws, so corporate sponsorships and grants may even fuel nonprofit program growth. Many longtime second homeowners are feeling the desire to become more involved and supportive of their Berkshire neighbors. And retirees, some of whom are choosing the Berkshires over Florida, are looking for community engagement opportunities. We are sitting on a wealth of skilled volunteers and potential donors waiting to be connected to those nonprofits that can creatively find and engage those folks.

 

Identifying resources

 

The NPC, itself a small nonprofit, supports other nonprofits by connecting them to resources such as educational workshops, consultants, publications and networking vehicles. Founded in 2016, the NPC is a support and capacity-building organization helping nonprofits connect, learn and grow.

 

In our trifurcated county, with no regional government and thousands of nonprofits, this is a challenging job. With hard work, persistence and the help of many businesses that support the idea of strengthening the sector, the Nonprofit Center is making inroads in identifying more resources for nonprofits and building an infrastructure of support for this important sector of our economy.

 

The NPC has recently teamed up with Age Friendly Berkshires, Berkshire United Way and OLLI to launch a volunteer fair on Nov. 15 at Saint James Place in Great Barrington. For each of our organizations, volunteerism is core to our mission and operations. We’re excited to engage volunteers to help nonprofits, and we know that some of those volunteers will also become donors.

 

In a newly released Independent Sector analysis, the value of an hour of a volunteer’s time in Massachusetts rose 3.1 percent last year to $32.15, making it the highest among the 50 states.

 

Making it easier to give back

 

We may have an extraordinary number of nonprofit organizations, but we also have a lot of people who want to help. The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires facilitates connections between nonprofits and potential volunteers and donors through its annual Giving Back guide, a free publication distributed throughout the community. The majority of organizations are small and rely heavily on individuals for a good portion of their revenue. These small nonprofits also tend to fly under the radar, so increasing awareness of their missions is key to their success.

 

The fourth edition of Giving Back comes out in early November and can be found in coffee shops, banks, libraries, shops and online at npcberkshires.org. In it, individuals will find a directory of over 1,000 nonprofits by category of interest (Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, etc.), as well as full-page profiles on over 100 nonprofits. Within those profiles are descriptions of mission and program, fast facts, a list of ways to help, and contact information.

 

The guide is used by individuals, giving circles, camps, schools, and agencies to assist with giving decisions, community service projects, job placement and volunteerism. One enterprising church even used it to attract candidates to an open pastor position!

 

The NPC’s value is in connecting nonprofit to those who can and want to help. Local experts serve as educators, guest columnists, service providers and pro bono consultants, and our community is richer for it. This work is time-consuming but critical to planning programs that steward the best use of our existing resources.

 

Tapping more regional resources

 

In other positive developments, many regional resources have sought out the Nonprofit Center as a vehicle for connection to the Berkshire nonprofit community. The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, our statewide advocacy association based in Boston, now makes annual visits to the Berkshires.

 

On Sept. 25, the NPC will host the Massachusetts Service Alliance, which offers trainings and technical assistance to help organizations more effectively and efficiently engage volunteers (go to npcberkshires.org for more information). The Nonprofit Center recently entered into a partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts (formerly Associated Grant Makers) to provide webinars at discounted rates to NPC members.

 

By partnering with individuals, businesses and foundations, and focusing on capacity building, skills-based volunteerism and network creation, we have built an enormous amount of human and intellectual capital. We’ll harness those relationships to explore more complex solutions going forward, including resource sharing, more formal collaborations and earned income streams.

 

Anything that strengthens nonprofit organizations helps make our community a better place for all.

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2019
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER PARTNERS WITH PHILANTHROPY MASSACHUSETTS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is pleased to announce a new partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts (Formerly Associated Grant Makers).

 

Founded in 1969, Philanthropy Massachusetts is a diverse membership association of highly engaged organizations and individuals with interests in philanthropy. Philanthropy Massachusetts bridges the nonprofit and grantmaking communities by giving access to research and information to support nonprofit fund development, providing professional development for nonprofit staff members, and giving nonprofit organization visibility among and access to grant makers.

 

The Nonprofit Center’s 125 member organizations will have access to Philanthropy Massachusetts’ webinars at a discounted rate. Upcoming webinars include “Introduction to Grant Writing” on September 5. While any nonprofit can register at the $40 price, NPC members will pay only $20.

 

Philanthropy Massachusetts will be in the Berkshires on the afternoon of October 21 to present “Introduction to Grant Research.” “We want to continue to introduce regional resources to Berkshire nonprofits,” said Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. “Philanthropy MA has terrific resources and tools and several unique programs such as “Meet the Donor” that would be great additions to our offerings.”

 

Both Philanthropy MA and Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires provide resources, networking and learning opportunities for nonprofits. To explore Philanthropy Massachusetts resources online visit www.philanthropyma.org and follow them on Twitter at @Philanthropy_MA. For more information and to register for upcoming Philanthropy Massachusetts’ webinars, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  In addition to the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards, the NPC hosts educational workshops and networking events, and publishes a giving guide, magazine and resource directory.  Learn more at npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2019
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542
photos available!

 

BERKSHIRE NONPROFIT AWARD HONOREES CELEBRATE AT BREAKFAST EVENT

 

PITTSFIELD – 260 people gathered for the 2ndannual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards at Berkshire Hills Country Club in Pittsfield to recognize 19 honorees across 7 award categories.  Hosted by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires in partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, the May 21stbreakfast event paid tribute to the nonprofit sector’s employees and volunteers for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the Berkshire community.  William “Smitty” Pignatelli served as emcee.

 

In April, a panel of judges reviewed 60 nominations and chose three honorees in each of six categories, and one Lifetime Achievement honoree – Madeline Cantarella Culpo of Albany Berkshire Ballet.  “Miss Madeline,” as she is known to her students, is one of the longest serving artistic directors in the country operating in Pittsfield for 55 years.

 

The awards were presented by bank and foundation sponsors following opening remarks by Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires and a keynote speech by Kristen van Ginhoven of WAM Theatre.

 

Honorees received a certificate from the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires and a Blue Q tote bag inscribed with the phrase “So Much To Do.”  Madeline Culpo was introduced by a former student, State Representative Tricia Farley Bouvier, who gave testimonial to the power of dance in building self-esteem and leadership skills.  Culpo received citations from the House and Senate as well as flowers from Bella Flora. Many of her family members were in attendance, driving in from as far as Rhode Island for the occasion.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  In addition to the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards, the NPC hosts educational workshops and networking events, and publishes a giving guide, magazine and resource directory.  Learn more at npcberkshires.org.

 

###

PHOTO OF HONOREES: Richard Migot

 

Caption:2019 Berkshire Nonprofit Award Honorees. Front row (Left to right):  Lorena Dus/Berkshire Immigrant Center, Shela Hidalgo/Berkshire Community College, Diane Pearlman/Berkshire Pulse, Daniela Hurtado/Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Julie Pellerin-Herrera/Pittsfield Education Foundation, Madeline Cantarella Culpo/Albany Berkshire Ballet, Wendi Koch/Berkshire Horseworks, Alisa Costa/Berkshire Bridges Working Cities, Kathy “Skippy” Hynes/Got Spots Etc. Back Row (Left to right): Rich Weisenflue/BFAIR, Tracy Beany/Louison House, Kristen van Ginhoven/WAM Theatre, Mike Goodwin/Louison House, Kayla Quick/The Brien Center, Erica Cavanaugh/Sisters for Peace, Beth Frederick/Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Will Conklin/Greenagers, Cherri Cato Sanes/ExtraSpecialTeas. (Not shown: William Schaepe/Literacy Network of South Berkshire).

 

FOR RELEASE
March 1, 2019
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542

NONPROFIT CENTER TO OFFER WORKSHOP ON CASE STATEMENTS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires presents “Writing Your Case for Support” on Tuesday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The Mount in Lenox. The cost is $40 for NPC members and $50 for nonmembers.

 

Jenni Haley, a development writer and consultant, will lead the workshop designed for fundraisers and organization leaders who need to write their first case, or who want to upgrade their current case statement. A case statement is the backbone of your development materials and pitches. It can be a powerful and time-saving tool, whether you are going into a special campaign or planning your next six months of fundraising.

 

The workshop will include the top 3 reasons you need a case statement, and how get the most use out of yours, components of a case, and how to organize them into a compelling story, writing exercises to help convey, in strong, clear language, what makes your organization unique and why donors should give to you, and tips for making your case statement “donor centric.”

 

Participants are invited to bring early or completed drafts of their case statements for feedback. They will leave with sample case statements and exercises to help them craft a full case statement with their development or leadership teams. Class is limited to ten participants. To register, visit npcberkshires.org or call (413) 645-3151.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE
January 30, 2019
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542

New Nonprofit Resource Directory Available

 

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires announced the completion of a new publication aimed at helping nonprofits efficiently access information to business products and services. The Nonprofit Resource Directory features over 550 contacts in 40 categories, from accounting to web design. Connecting nonprofits to the resources they need is part of the NPC’s mission and also serves to stimulate the local business-to-nonprofit economy.

 

“Putting together this directory was a huge research job aided by staff, interns and volunteers,” said Liana Toscanini, Executive Director of the NPC. “Our hope is that this reference booklet will serve as an invaluable tool for nonprofits, in addition to supporting local businesses whose generosity plays an important role in the Berkshire nonprofit sector.”

 

The 60-page Nonprofit Resource Directory is available online at npcberkshires.org in the publications section. The $15 cost includes postage.

 

The Nonprofit Resource Directory is the third publication initiated by the Nonprofit Center since its founding in 2016. The NPC also publishes Berkshire Nonprofit Connections Magazine, and Giving Back: Your Guide to Philanthropic Opportunities in the Berkshires.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow. For more information, visit npcberkshires.org or call (413) 645-3151.

 

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2019
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542

 

BERKSHIRE BANK UNDERWRITES CORE NONPROFIT CENTER PROGRAMS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has received its first major program grant from Berkshire Bank Foundation. The funding will be used to support four core NPC programs in 2019: The Berkshire Nonprofit Awards, Berkshire Nonprofit Connections Magazine, Board Trainings for community members, and the annual Giving Back guide.

 

“Berkshire Bank’s support is significant for an entrepreneurial organization like the Nonprofit Center,” said NPC founder Liana Toscanini. “This type of funding allows us to offer all of our services free or at very low cost to nonprofits. Since we serve hundreds of Berkshire nonprofits, this grant really goes a long way in supporting the sector.”

 

“We are so pleased to support the great efforts of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires,” said Lori Gazzillo Kiely, director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. “Supporting the many nonprofits doing such important work throughout Berkshire County is core to the mission of our Foundation, and the Nonprofit Center’s programs go a long way toward providing the backbone support that so many small organizations need. We are proud to play a small role in assisting with this endeavor.”

 

Berkshire Bank’s charitable foundation awards over $2 million annually to nonprofit organizations in the bank’s service area. The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires was founded in 2016 to help nonprofits connect, learn and grow. For more information visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE
December 9, 2018
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542

 

FREE DIRECTORY OF NONPROFITS OFFERED BY NONPROFIT CENTER

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires (NPC) is currently distributing the 3rd annual Giving Back guide throughout Berkshire County. The free publication is designed to facilitate connections between nonprofits and individuals wishing to donate or volunteer.

 

Berkshire County is home to approximately 1,000 registered nonprofit organizations. All of these are listed in the guide by category such as arts & culture, education, human services and youth. Additionally, there are over 100 profiles of nonprofits providing more information about their programs and ways to help.

 

The Nonprofit Center partnered with area business advertisers to make the 160-page booklet available free to the community just in time for the giving season. NPC founder Liana Toscanini said the guide has grown every year as more nonprofits participate to increase awareness of their missions. “The book is used by individuals to help plan year-end giving, and also by giving circles, agencies, and schools to organize donations and community service,” said Toscanini.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  For more information about the NPC, call (413) 645-3151 or visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

December 3, 2018

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER NAMES ERIKA ALLISON TO BOARD

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has elected Erika Allison of 1Berkshire to its board of directors.

 

Allison is an engineer, educator and entrepreneur.  A recent transplant to the Berkshires, she is currently Director of Member Services at 1Berkshire. Previously she was founding director of a STEM education nonprofit startup in New York City leading the launch of east coast operations and programming.  She then moved to Maine to became project director for a 5-year, $12M National Science Foundation research & implementation program to improve rural STEM education and STEM teacher preparation.

 

“Erika’s entrepreneurial spirit, education background and ‘connector’ personality make her a great addition to our young nonprofit organization,” said Nonprofit Center Founder Liana Toscanini.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires was founded in April 2016 to help nonprofits connect, learn and grow. Learn more about NPC workshops, publications, services and events online at npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

October 12, 2018

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT ROUNDTABLE TO FOCUS ON ORGANIZATIONAL PARTNERING

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires (NPC) presents its first roundtable discussion on Tuesday, October 23rd on the topic of “organizational partnering.” Participants will meet from 12:00 p.m.to 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum (Pittsfield Library) on Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield and are encouraged to bring lunch. Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum will provide refreshments.

 

An NPC survey in 2017 showed that most Berkshire nonprofits are partnering in one form or another and that the majority want to do more. Discussion will focus on models of collaboration, best practices, and pitfalls. Panelists include Jeff Gagnon, Program Manager at Community Access to the Arts; Alex Reczkowski, Library Director/Berkshire Athenaeum; Christa Collier, Executive Director of Northern Berkshire United Way; and Randy Kinnas, Executive Director of the Berkshire Family YMCA. Alisa Costa of Pittsfield Working Cities will moderate the discussion.

 

This event is free to Berkshire nonprofits but participants must register online at npcberkshires.org or by calling (413) 645-3151.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

September 4, 2018

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

LISTINGS SOUGHT FOR 2018 NONPROFIT RESOURCE GUIDE

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is seeking listings for a new publication aimed at helping nonprofits efficiently access information to business products and services. Connecting nonprofits to the resources they need is part of the NPC’s mission and also serves to stimulate the local business-to-nonprofit economy.

 

“Our job is to make life easier for nonprofits,” said Liana Toscanini, Executive Director of the NPC.  “Cataloging nonprofit programs, providers and resources saves nonprofit employees time and money with a one-stop reference booklet. Multiply that by 1000 Berkshire nonprofit organizations and our collective efforts will hopefully have quite an impact.”

 

The Nonprofit Resource Guide features nearly 100 categories of business used by nonprofits. Listings are free. Simply send an email to info@npcberkshires.orgwith your Business Name, Address, Phone, Email, Web site, and a 12-word description of your services. Businesses can also purchase a business-card size ad for $100 to help them stand out and to support the production of the booklet which will be distributed free to nonprofits. The deadline for listings is October 12.

 

The Nonprofit Resource Guide is the third publication initiated by the Nonprofit Center since its founding in 2016.  The NPC also publishes Berkshire Nonprofit Connections Magazine, and Giving Back: Your Guide to Philanthropic Opportunities in the Berkshires.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  For more information, visit npcberkshires.org or call (413) 645-3151.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

July 6, 2018

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER’S 3rd ANNUAL “GIVING BACK” GUIDE INCLUDES DIRECTORY OF 1,000 BERKSHIRE NONPROFITS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will publish the 3rd annual “Giving Back” guide in the fall. Designed to connect nonprofits with those who want to volunteer or donate, the publication is distributed free throughout Berkshire County through the support of advertisers and sponsors.

 

Officially titled, “Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires,” the booklet features a directory of 1,000 Berkshire nonprofits organized by category. Full page profiles of participating nonprofits reveal information such as mission and program description, budget and staff size, and ways to help.

 

Berkshire nonprofits are encouraged to verify the accuracy of their free listing in the directory by going online to npcberkshires.org/resources/giving-back-guide. Local businesses that serve nonprofits can find advertising information online as well.

 

As a reference book, the Giving Back guide is used by schools and camps to facilitate community service projects for students, and by agencies such as Elder Services of Berkshire County, which places senior employees in nonprofit positions. Giving Circles also make use of the Giving Back guide to identify organizations to receive donations.

 

Other primary users include retirees, second home owners, and individuals looking for information on how to get involved in the community. 5,000 copies are placed in coffee shops, popular gathering spots, libraries, town halls, businesses and restaurants.

 

The “Giving Back” guide was first published in 2016 when the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires was founded. The mission of the NPC is to help nonprofits connect, learn and grow. More information about the guide and other nonprofit programs can be found at npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

JUNE 19, 2018

CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI

(413) 441-9542

 

THE NONPROFIT CENTER LAUNCHES BOOT CAMP FOR NONPROFITS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is holding a one-day Summer Boot Camp on Wednesday, July 11 for new, young and small nonprofits in need of a tune-up.The Nonprofit Boot Camp takes place at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and covers the basics of nonprofit management including governance, finance, fundraising, legal, and best practices.   Lead presenter, Susan Nicholl, addresses topics through a combination of facilitator-led instruction, interactive discussion, local experts, and panel discussion with area practitioners.Aimed at directors, board members, and volunteer leaders who want to build a solid foundation or address gaps, this day-long session presents an opportunity for staff and board to attend together.  Attendees will leave with a 100-page handbook containing templates, sample descriptions, articles, and other resources to guide them in the coming months. Attending organizations will also have a free hour of phone consultation with the Boot Camp presenter, good anytime in 2018, to help their organization past any hurdles.Susan Nicholl has served as a management consultant for the Institute for Nonprofit Development in Central Massachusetts and was instrumental in launching and establishing the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) as its first and sole staff member. She has served as the past chair of the MetroWest Nonprofit Network and as a former editor of massnonprofit.org.   She has worked professionally with boards of directors at more than three dozen organizations, providing consultation focused on re-energizing and growing small organizations, as principal of The Governance Group.The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  Boot Camp attendance is $125 for the primary participant and $50 for each additional participant from a nonprofit organization.  For more information or to register, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

MAY 22, 2018
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542

 

BERKSHIRE NONPROFIT AWARD WINNERS FETED AT BREAKFAST

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The winners of the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards were announced today at a breakfast presentation and celebration at Country Club of Pittsfield. A sold-out crowd of 240 honored 21 finalists, with emcee Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli presiding. Hosted by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires in partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, this inaugural event paid tribute to the nonprofit sector’s employees and volunteers for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the Berkshire community.

 

In April, a panel of judges reviewed over 60 nominations and chose three finalists and one winner in each of seven categories. The winners are: Kristine Hazzard of Berkshire United Way (Executive Leadership), James Mahon of Berkshire Food Project (Board Leadership), June Wolfe of Construct, Inc. (Super Staffer), Jay Weintraub and Mark Lefenfeld of Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires (Rising Star), Amy Guachione of Berkshire Children & Families (Volunteer), Kelly Akroman of Moments House (Unsung Hero), and Carole Siegel of OLLI and Berkshire Children and Families (Lifetime Achievement).

 

Berkshire Nonprofit Award winners received a framed poster featuring a representation of themselves on the cover of an imaginary “Berkshire Nonprofit PEOPLE” magazine, a Citation from the Commonwealth signed by Senator Adam Hinds, and a Blue Q tote bag sporting the expression “Living the Dream.”

 

June Wolfe, winner of the “Super Staffer” Award said, “My favorite thing about working for a nonprofit is the level of commitment you find in this field. No one is here for the pay or the bonuses or the benefits. People work here because they are trying to make positive change.”

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

JANUARY 30, 2018
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542

 

THE NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES ANNOUNCES ANNUAL AWARDS BREAKFAST

 

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is launching an annual awards program to recognize people who work tirelessly in the nonprofit sector to serve the Berkshire community. In partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, the NPC will present the first Berkshire Nonprofit Awards breakfast on Tuesday, May 22, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Country Club of Pittsfield.

 

Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center, believes many who work in the nonprofit sector go unrecognized for their accomplishments and commitment to their organizations and the community.

 

“This event is long overdue,” said Toscanini, “especially in our county where nonprofits are a huge economic driver and contribute so much to the quality of our lives.”

 

Nominations are being solicited from across the Berkshires in seven categories: Executive Leadership, Board Member, Super Staffer, Unsung Hero, Volunteer, Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement. Finalists and winners will be selected by a committee of business leaders. The nomination form will be available online at npcberkshires.org February 1st. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

 

The NPC is currently seeking sponsors for this celebratory event. To date, major support comes from The Berkshire Eagle with additional support from Berkshire Bank as well as Adelson & Co., Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Lee Bank.

 

Founded in 2016, the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires serves as a clearinghouse for information, connecting organizations to resources, and developing affordable products and services for the nonprofit sector. The NPC has over 70 members. For more information visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

 

July 6, 2018

Contact: Liana Toscanini

(413) 441-9542

NONPROFIT CENTER’S 3rd ANNUAL “GIVING BACK” GUIDE INCLUDES DIRECTORY OF 1,000 BERKSHIRE NONPROFITS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will publish the 3rd annual “Giving Back” guide in the fall. Designed to connect nonprofits with those who want to volunteer or donate, the publication is distributed free throughout Berkshire County through the support of advertisers and sponsors.

 

Officially titled, “Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires,” the booklet features a directory of 1,000 Berkshire nonprofits organized by category. Full page profiles of participating nonprofits reveal information such as mission and program description, budget and staff size, and ways to help.

 

Berkshire nonprofits are encouraged to verify the accuracy of their free listing in the directory by going online to npcberkshires.org/resources/giving-back-guide. Local businesses that serve nonprofits can find advertising information online as well.

 

As a reference book, the Giving Back guide is used by schools and camps to facilitate community service projects for students, and by agencies such as Elder Services of Berkshire County, which places senior employees in nonprofit positions. Giving Circles also make use of the Giving Back guide to identify organizations to receive donations.

 

Other primary users include retirees, second home owners, and individuals looking for information on how to get involved in the community. 5,000 copies are placed in coffee shops, popular gathering spots, libraries, town halls, businesses and restaurants.

 

The “Giving Back” guide was first published in 2016 when the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires was founded. The mission of the NPC is to help nonprofits connect, learn and grow. More information about the guide and other nonprofit programs can be found at npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

JUNE 19, 2018

 

THE NONPROFIT CENTER LAUNCHES BOOT CAMP FOR NONPROFITS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is holding a one-day Summer Boot Camp on Wednesday, July 11 for new, young and small nonprofits in need of a tune-up.The Nonprofit Boot Camp takes place at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and covers the basics of nonprofit management including governance, finance, fundraising, legal, and best practices.   Lead presenter, Susan Nicholl, addresses topics through a combination of facilitator-led instruction, interactive discussion, local experts, and panel discussion with area practitioners.Aimed at directors, board members, and volunteer leaders who want to build a solid foundation or address gaps, this day-long session presents an opportunity for staff and board to attend together.  Attendees will leave with a 100-page handbook containing templates, sample descriptions, articles, and other resources to guide them in the coming months. Attending organizations will also have a free hour of phone consultation with the Boot Camp presenter, good anytime in 2018, to help their organization past any hurdles.Susan Nicholl has served as a management consultant for the Institute for Nonprofit Development in Central Massachusetts and was instrumental in launching and establishing the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) as its first and sole staff member. She has served as the past chair of the MetroWest Nonprofit Network and as a former editor of massnonprofit.org.   She has worked professionally with boards of directors at more than three dozen organizations, providing consultation focused on re-energizing and growing small organizations, as principal of The Governance Group.The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires helps nonprofits connect, learn and grow.  Boot Camp attendance is $125 for the primary participant and $50 for each additional participant from a nonprofit organization.  For more information or to register, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

MAY 22, 2018
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542

 

BERKSHIRE NONPROFIT AWARD WINNERS FETED AT BREAKFAST

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The winners of the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards were announced today at a breakfast presentation and celebration at Country Club of Pittsfield. A sold-out crowd of 240 honored 21 finalists, with emcee Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli presiding. Hosted by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires in partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, this inaugural event paid tribute to the nonprofit sector’s employees and volunteers for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the Berkshire community.

 

In April, a panel of judges reviewed over 60 nominations and chose three finalists and one winner in each of seven categories. The winners are: Kristine Hazzard of Berkshire United Way (Executive Leadership), James Mahon of Berkshire Food Project (Board Leadership), June Wolfe of Construct, Inc. (Super Staffer), Jay Weintraub and Mark Lefenfeld of Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires (Rising Star), Amy Guachione of Berkshire Children & Families (Volunteer), Kelly Akroman of Moments House (Unsung Hero), and Carole Siegel of OLLI and Berkshire Children and Families (Lifetime Achievement).

 

Berkshire Nonprofit Award winners received a framed poster featuring a representation of themselves on the cover of an imaginary “Berkshire Nonprofit PEOPLE” magazine, a Citation from the Commonwealth signed by Senator Adam Hinds, and a Blue Q tote bag sporting the expression “Living the Dream.”

 

June Wolfe, winner of the “Super Staffer” Award said, “My favorite thing about working for a nonprofit is the level of commitment you find in this field. No one is here for the pay or the bonuses or the benefits. People work here because they are trying to make positive change.”

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE

JANUARY 30, 2018
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542

 

THE NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES ANNOUNCES ANNUAL AWARDS BREAKFAST

 

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is launching an annual awards program to recognize people who work tirelessly in the nonprofit sector to serve the Berkshire community. In partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, the NPC will present the first Berkshire Nonprofit Awards breakfast on Tuesday, May 22, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Country Club of Pittsfield.

 

Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center, believes many who work in the nonprofit sector go unrecognized for their accomplishments and commitment to their organizations and the community.

 

“This event is long overdue,” said Toscanini, “especially in our county where nonprofits are a huge economic driver and contribute so much to the quality of our lives.”

 

Nominations are being solicited from across the Berkshires in seven categories: Executive Leadership, Board Member, Super Staffer, Unsung Hero, Volunteer, Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement. Finalists and winners will be selected by a committee of business leaders. The nomination form will be available online at npcberkshires.org February 1st. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

 

The NPC is currently seeking sponsors for this celebratory event. To date, major support comes from The Berkshire Eagle with additional support from Berkshire Bank as well as Adelson & Co., Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Lee Bank.

 

Founded in 2016, the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires serves as a clearinghouse for information, connecting organizations to resources, and developing affordable products and services for the nonprofit sector. The NPC has over 70 members. For more information visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
413 441-9542
GIVING GUIDE CONNECTS NONPROFITS TO DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON — The second edition of “Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires” will be distributed free throughout Berkshire County in November. Published by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires (NPC), the guide includes profiles of over 70 nonprofit organizations and a directory of nearly 1000 Berkshire nonprofits.

 

Five thousand copies of the guide are delivered to town halls, banks, libraries, businesses, schools, community centers, and popular gathering spots throughout the county. The “Giving Back” guide is made possible by The Dr. Robert C. & Tina Sohn Foundation and local business partners.

 

The publication is used in diverse ways to make connections between local charities and those who want to support them. Giving Circles pool money to donate and use the book to identify nonprofit recipients; Elder Services of Berkshire County uses the guide to place Federally funded senior employees in nonprofit organizations; Human Service agencies distribute copies to their outreach volunteers; schools and camps use the guide to facilitate community service and after school projects for students; individuals read the guide from cover to cover and use the information to engage in the community.

 

The “Giving Back” guide is viewable online, and copies may be ordered for the cost of postage and handling at npcberkshires.org.

 

###

PUNGL TO HOST LAUNCH EVENT ON OCTOBER 5 TO INTRODUCE NEW ONLINE FUNDRAISING PLATFORM

 

Housatonic-based company helps local organizations expand their opportunities for raising needed funds

 

Housatonic, MA September 13, 2017: Pungl, a brand-new marketplace that aims to transform online fundraising and charitable giving, invites area nonprofit managers, school administrators, town board members, and others who are interested or involved in charitable fundraising to a launch event on October 5 from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Hotel on North in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. One-on-one sessions will be held from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., with a presentation and Q&A to follow from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, will not only introduce Pungl’s concept to nonprofits, but will give them an up-close look at how they can use Pungl to reach beyond a local donor base to anyone in the country who shares similar values, and raise much-needed funds—plus spread the joy of giving.

 

Recent studies have found that many Americans, including millennials and young professionals, are no longer satisfied with material objects as gifts; instead, they want to leave their mark. Pungl connects donors with the charitable work that means the most to them, whether in their backyard or halfway across the world. They can use the Pungl marketplace to search for a variety of named giving opportunities, from arts and culture programming to projects that support services in a town or community, or causes that have global impact, like animal welfare and refugee aid. Donors purchase the gift for themselves, or to celebrate a friend or family member’s birthday, anniversary, personal accomplishment, or memory. The gift is named in honor of the donor or gift recipient, allowing them to not only help a worthy cause, but also leave a lasting legacy.

 

Pungl is the result of a brainstorm by 15-year-old Zachary Goffin, a native of Great Barrington and an avid athlete and eBay shopper. Zach attended the birthday party of a friend, who requested that partygoers not bring gifts. Shortly after, at a sporting event, he spied some bricks outside the stadium with donors’ names engraved on them, and had a lightbulb moment.

 

“The bricks reminded me of what these people are interested in and what they find meaningful,” Zach explains. “I thought there should be a place, like eBay, where you can shop for charitable gifts you can name after people—rather than things—and where browsing one item might lead you to another and another.” He suggested the name Pungl after a word for “giving” that he found while reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

 

The concept was then refined and transformed into a new online-giving marketplace by Housatonic-based creative director Abby Tovell, who runs the company. “Pungl really can be a game changer for community-based organizations who need to raise funds, reach a broader audience, and create a broader network of partners,” she says. “Our marketplace levels the playing field for small nonprofits and organizations who might not have a large staff or budget to draw from in creating fundraising campaigns, but who want to harness the combined power of their own creative thinking and our innovative technology.”

ABOUT PUNGL

 

Pungl, headquartered in the Berkshires, connects nonprofits and donors with the people, places, and pursuits they love through named-giving opportunities. Based on an innovative “double giving” model, Pungl is the world’s first marketplace for the buying and selling of unique gifts that celebrate actions, accomplishments, and milestones; that support meaningful causes; that inspire substantive conversation; and that give back to the donor or recipient. Because the projects featured on Pungl are accessible to people from a range of backgrounds and budgets, Pungl offers us all an equal opportunity to pay tribute to those we love and to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

 

Pungl: where generosity meets joy. To learn more, visit www.pungl.com.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE
JULY 14, 2017
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542
NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES OPENS “SATELLITE” OFFICE HOURS IN PITTSFIELD AND NORTH ADAMS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has partnered with Elder Services of Berkshire County and Massachusetts College of Liberal Art (MCLA) to offer office hours in Central and Northern Berkshire County, beginning in August.

 

On the second Friday of every month, the Nonprofit Center (NPC) will be on location at Elder Services at 877 South St. in Pittsfield, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. NPC founder Liana Toscanini will offer consultations free of charge by appointment. Toscanini is donating her time and Elder Services is donating space so that nonprofits in the Pittsfield area can gain access to NPC services more easily.

 

In North Adams, the NPC will take up residence the first Thursday of every month in MCLA’s Design Lab at 49 Main Street next to MCLAGallery 51, through December. According to Zachary Feury, project coordinator of the Feigenbaum MCLA Leads Initiative, the Nonprofit Center’s use of MCLA’s Design Lab as a satellite office is well-aligned with its purpose as a hub for community engagement.

 

“Liana Toscanini is offering valuable resources to the nonprofit sector in Berkshire County,” said Lisa Donovan, professor of Fine and Performing Arts at MCLA. “By making the services of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires available in North County on a regular basis, she is providing new opportunities to build our regional capacity.”

 

Hours in the MCLA Design Lab are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by appointment. Nonprofits can stop by to discuss their needs, learn about available information and services, and make valuable connections.

 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (413) 441-9542.

 

###

FOR RELEASE
JULY 11, 2017
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542
NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES LAUNCHES MAGAZINE FOR NONPROFITS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires recently launched Connections, a new magazine for the nonprofit sector. Published bi-annually, Connections features nonprofit profiles, columns representing different voices in the community, and articles on topics of interest to nonprofits such as fundraising and marketing.

 

“The Berkshire nonprofit sector is huge and vibrant, with a big economic impact,” says Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center and publisher of Connections magazine. “We need our own publication to connect with each other and with the community that supports us.”

 

The magazine is edited by writer, Hannah Van Sickle, and designed by artist, Tina Sotis. “This first issue is focused on human services,” says Van Sickle who wrote all of the profiles. Organizations featured include Berkshire Food Project, Volunteers in Medicine, Moments House, Berkshire HorseWorks, and “new kid on the block,” Berkshire Baby Box.

 

The inaugural issue is free to the public thanks to the 40 advertisers who underwrote the production of the magazine. Readers can pick up a copy of the glossy, 48-page magazine at the Nonprofit Center on 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, and at various coffee shops and gathering spots throughout the county. The magazine can also be viewed online at npcberkshires.org.

 

Those wanting to order copies or a subscription can do so online as well. A single copy is $14.95 and a one-year subscription (2 issues) is $25. The next issue of Connections appears in January 2018.

 

###

NONPROFIT AWARENESS DAY

 

On Monday, June 5, at the Massachusetts State House, hundreds of nonprofit and business leaders, along with elected officials, will celebrate the work of the nonprofit sector and raise awareness of causes throughout the state at MNN’s celebration of Nonprofit Awareness Day. Click here for more information: https://www.tfaforms.com/4605328

 

###

COMMUNITY LETTER IN SUPPORT OF NONPARTISANSHIP

 

Please sign if you oppose proposals that would politicize the charitable nonprofit and philanthropic community by repealing or weakening current federal tax law protections that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates. https://www.givevoice.org/community-letter-support-nonprofit-nonpartisanship

 

 

###

 

WINTER NEWSLETTER

 

Learn more about the day-to-day work of the Nonprofit Center in the Winter 2016 Newsletter.

 

###

FOR RELEASE
NOVEMBER 2016CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542
COVER ARTWORK AVAILABLE
NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES PROVIDES GUIDE TO CHARITABLE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE BERKSHIRES

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – In this season of holiday giving and giving back, Berkshire County’s nonprofits are often the beneficiaries of our community’s generosity, providing the important funding that helps them carry out their mission all year long. Each of these organizations has a story to tell and specific ways those interested can make a gift or volunteer their time. Sharing that information with potential donors and supporters on behalf of all Berkshire County nonprofits is the goal of the new giving guide from the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

 

Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires” is published by Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, a new organization founded by Liana Toscanini and committed to facilitating growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable products and services, and creative collaborations.

 

The 128-page Giving Back guide includes a directory of over 900 Berkshire nonprofits, profiles of 60 nonprofit organizations, and articles geared towards charities and donors. Five thousand copies of the guide are currently being distributed to real estate offices, town halls, banks, libraries, businesses, schools, community centers, and more throughout the county.

 

“I’ve been approached on many occasions by second home owners or people who haven’t lived here that long, asking for advice on where to volunteer or donate. They simply didn’t have the information they needed to make those decisions. I hope Giving Back helps make those connections for people,” says Toscanini, NCP’s founder.

 

Those interested can pick up a free copy at the Nonprofit Center’s office at 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington or at any number of locations throughout Berkshire County. The guide will also be made available online at npcberkshires.org.

 

Giving Back is made possible by the generous support of Sponsors Kate & Joel Millonzi, Dr. Robert C. & Tina Sohn Foundation, Qualprint, and many local business advertisers. For more information call (413) 645-3151 or visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

FOR RELEASE
AUGUST 17, 2016
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI
(413) 441-9542
IMAGES OF PRESENTERS AVAILABLE
NPC LAUNCHES FALL WORKSHOP SERIES FOR NONPROFITS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is offering 6 practical workshops geared to nonprofits with topics ranging from grant writing to starting an endowment.

 

Nonprofit Center founder Liana Toscanini said, “We’re featuring local experts because in the end, it’s all about connections. Our teachers are not only sharing their knowledge but also their passion for helping nonprofits succeed.” Toscanini identified areas of interest to nonprofits and then sought out experienced leaders she felt would enjoy educating and connecting with nonprofits.

 

On September 7 and 14, grant writer Ruth Dinerman leads a workshop series focusing on foundations and crafting a strong grant proposal. On September 27, Mary Nash will educate participants in using surveys for program evaluation. Consultant, Laurie Werner, will present “Grant Funding for Arts & Culture Organizations” on October 5th. Lee Bank is sponsoring a “Lunch and Learn” on November 2nd on the topic of starting an endowment. Presenters include Lee Bank CEO Chuck Leach and Gary Schiff of October Mountain Financial Advisors. Ruth Pearce will lead a two-part series on November 15 and 29 on “Strengths Training for Nonprofits.”

 

Workshops take place in a variety of locations including Berkshire Community College’s Great Barrington facility, Lee Bank, and 1Berkshire. Most workshops are $25 for NPC members, $35 for non-members. For detailed information or to register for a workshop, visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

FOR RELEASE
JUNE 22, 2016
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
CELL: (413) 441-9542

 

NONPROFIT CENTER LAUNCHES PRACTICAL WORKSHOP SERIES

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has launched a workshop series geared towards nonprofits. Each class features topical issues and a local presenter excited to share his or her expertise to help Berkshire nonprofits grow. The emphasis is on practical knowledge and hands-on assistance, with many presenters available to help beyond the workshop experience.

 

On June 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Berkshire Community College’s South County campus in Great Barrington Bill Tighe will present “HR for Nonprofits.”   Liana Toscanini, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center explained, “Many nonprofits have no staff with Human Resources experience. As a result, nonprofit employees often don’t have job descriptions, annual reviews, contracts, or written policies they can refer to. As an HR professional with 37 years of experience, Bill is happy to share best practices and tips for implementation.”

 

Other workshops scheduled through the fall include “Creating Your Narrative” led by Anastasia Stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine; Bringing a Product to Market featuring Jayne Church, former Buyer for the Red Lion Inn Boutique; “Intro to Grant Writing” led by Ruth Dinerman; “The Use of Surveys in Program Evaluation” taught by Mary Nash; and “Starting an Endowment: Lunch & Learn” led by Chuck Leach, President/CEO of Lee Bank.

 

Toscanini hopes to have local business sponsors for many of the workshops so that the fees for participation remain affordable, even for smaller nonprofits. Most workshops will cost $25 for Nonprofit Center members, and $35 for non-members. For more information, call (413) 645-3151 or visit npcberkshires.org.

 

###

 

FOR RELEASE
JUNE 15, 2016
CONTACT: LIANA TOSCANINI/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
CELL: (413) 441-9542
NEW ORGANIZATION FORMED TO MEET NEEDS OF NONPROFITS
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires Focuses on Practical Solutions

 

GREAT BARRINGTON – Nonprofits seeking help with everything from marketing to fundraising, manpower and professional development can turn to a new entity called the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. Founded by Liana Toscanini, former Development & Marketing Director for Community Access to the Arts, the Nonprofit Center (NPC) is located at 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington.

 

The mission of the NPC is to facilitate growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable products and services, and creative collaborations. “Many nonprofits need assistance getting to the next level. I enjoy connecting people in our community and using my corporate and nonprofit background to help organizations grow,” explains Toscanini.

 

Initially, services include a practical workshop series featuring local experts and a Giving Guide publication to connect nonprofits to community members interested in getting involved and learning more about local organizations. Toscanini is also coordinating interns and volunteers to assist nonprofits with their work.

 

“The NPC is structured similarly to a chamber of commerce,” said Toscanini. Membership dues are affordable ($75 for nonprofits with annual revenue under $200,000), and benefits include discounts on all products and services as well as some freebies such as a one-hour consultation and one free workshop from the nonprofit workshop series.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is itself a nonprofit organization with a board of directors including: Betsy Andrus, Ronald Bernard, Maxine Carter-Lome, Rachel Louchen, Melissa Lydon, Matt Syrett, and Abbbie von Schlegell as well as an Advisory Board whose members include: Rich Aldrich, Anthony Blair, Alice Boyd, Brittany Brouker, John Katz, Joel Millonzi, J. Scott Rote, Barry Shapiro, and Richard Stanley.

 

For more information about the Nonprofit Center or to become a member call (413) 645-3151 or visit www.npcberkshires.org

 

###

AUGUST 7, 2016
BY TONY DOBROWOLSKI FOR THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
TDOBROWOLSKI@BERKSHIREEAGLE.COM
@TONYDOBROW ON TWITTER
NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES AIMS FOR SHARED GROWTH AMONG CHARITABLE GROUPS

 

GREAT BARRINGTON — Liana Toscanini is a great-granddaughter of renowned Italian classical music conductor Arturo Toscanini.

 

But unlike that Toscanini, music isn’t this Toscanini’s forte.

 

“I like to say that I conduct business,” she said.

 

A transplanted New Yorker with 20 years of experience in the Berkshire nonprofit sector, the South County resident recently formed the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, an entity designed to facilitate growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable services and creative collaborations.

 

Tosacanini’s organization joins 1Berkshire’s Nonprofit Business Network, formed in 2012, to provide services to the county’s nonprofit sector, which provides an economic impact of $2.2 billion to the Berkshire economy, according to a 2012 report released by the North Adams-based Center for Community Development.

 

Toscanini, who has served on many boards and worked full-time for the Great Barrington-based Community Access to the Arts, is still setting up her organization, which officially launched in June. The center is located at 40 Railroad St.

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has so far held three workshops featuring local speakers on subjects of interest to nonprofits. Toscanini is also compiling a 200-page “Giving Guide,” a periodical that will include profiles of Berkshire nonprofits ranked by category, “to make it easier for someone who wants to help or get involved,” she said.

 

Toscanini expects to release her guide, which she claims is the first of its kind in the Berkshires, this fall.

 

“I don’t know why anybody’s never done it,” she said.

 

Since relocating to the Berkshires from the New York City area in 1996, Toscanini has volunteered for several nonprofit organizations, including helping to raise funds for the restoration of the Sandisfield Arts Center building, which received a preservation award from the state.

 

She has also edited newsletters, chaired a local cultural council, assisted nonprofits with marketing, served on many boards, and owned a small business in Great Barrington. It was a “combination of things” that led Toscanini to form the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

 

“I’ve done so much volunteering that I became the go-to person for every little nonprofit,” Toscanini said. “One week four different people came up to me and asked me for help. So that was kind of the catalyst.

 

“I have a marketing background,” Toscanini said. She spent a decade as the vice president of marketing for a slipcover firm in New York City before coming to the Berkshires. “Helping people tell their story is something I’ve been doing for a long time. Around here the little guys certainly struggle getting the work out and some of the larger organizations, too.”

 

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshire currently has 15 members. “I haven’t actively solicited members yet,” she said.

 

The organization’s board of directors includes Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Betsy Andrus and local businessman Richard Stanley, who owns the Triplex and Beacon cinemas.

 

Membership fees are $75 annually for nonprofits with yearly revenues under $200,000; $125 for organizations with budgets between $250,000 and $750,000; and $195 for those with budgets over $750,000.

 

Membership is not required to attend a workshop — the cost is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.

 

“The mission of the nonprofit center is to have affordable services,” she said.

 

For more information about the nonprofit center call 413 645-3151, or visit www.npcberkshires.org