• Nominee must work or volunteer for a registered Berkshire County 501(c)(3).
  • Nominees must show evidence of the strength of their work across a broad range of criteria including: strategic thinking, thoughtful execution, support of the culture, growth and strength of the organization, supportive of the population the nonprofit serves, commitment to the community, embodies the mission and vision of the organization. Nominations should provide evidence of significant achievements at his/her organization.
  • A person may be nominated in only one category.
  • Nominations will be accepted for individuals only; any nomination form used to co-nominate will not be accepted.


Deadline for submissions is March 13, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Nominations are accepted in 7 categories. Click the category title to access the nomination forms. If you would like to see the form questions before completing the form, there will be a link after each award description below.


  1. Executive Leadership Award
    This award honors a nonprofit staff leader (CEO, Executive Director or member of the Executive Team) whose strategic vision, passion, innovation, perseverance, and integrity has led to a strong record of extraordinary organizational results. (view form questions)
  2. Board Leadership Award
    Given to a current or former member of the nonprofit’s board of directors who demonstrates commitment to prudent use of all assets, provides oversight for activities that advance effectiveness and sustainability, ensures compliance with applicable laws and ethical practices, and serves on committees or task forces and offers to take on special assignments. (view form questions)
  3. Rock Star Award
    This award is given to nonprofit staff member whose work has had significant impact on an organization. Recognized by peers for exhibiting a can-do attitude, demonstrating a high level of commitment and responsibility, and going above and beyond the job description. (view form questions)
  4. Volunteer Award
    Awarded to an individual who has a record of activities that have made a long-lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of people or communities. This award honors the volunteer who has shown outstanding dedication to a nonprofit or multiple nonprofit organizations whose programs serve the Berkshire County community. Active volunteerism can be ongoing or linked to a single project or cause. (view form questions)
  5. Unsung Hero Award
    This award honors the contribution of a nonprofit staff or volunteer member in any area of an organization whose good work has not been publicly recognized in the Berkshire community. (view form questions)
  6. Lifetime Achievement Award
    This award honors an individual who has dedicated his or her life to being a leader and role model. His or her influence has made an enduring and profound difference in his/her community and the lives of those around him/her. Recipients of this award strive toward the highest level of personal and professional accomplishment, excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for others to follow. (view form questions)
  7. Samya Rose Stumo Youth Leadership Award
    This award acknowledges an individual aged 16-24 who has contributed meaningfully to the Berkshire Nonprofit sector either through volunteer or paid work.  This individual has demonstrated passion and dedication to one or more causes and/or organizations, made a difference in the lives of people in our community, and achieved outstanding accomplishments early in life.  Nominations should be accompanied by at least one letter of recommendation. Note: Awardee will receive a $250 mini-grant to use to further the mission(s) they care about most. (view form questions)

Those seeking tips on how to create a good nomination can find suggestions below as well as two samples of winning nominations. Additionally, one-on-one writing assistance with creating a nomination is available.  Call Liana at (413) 441-9542 to schedule.


Tips to Make Your [Nonprofit Sector] Nominee Shine

Once a nonprofit sector colleague, constituent or community member captures your attention — and you decide to nominate them for the 7th Annual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards — crafting a nomination that stands out from the crowd is key. Writing a compelling nomination requires rich detail and effective communication. Read on for tips on how to tackle the task:


Understand the Criteria:

  • Review the award criteria carefully and thoroughly in order to understand (and provide) what the judges are requesting.
  • Address each individual criteria with specific qualities and achievements that bring your nominee (and their contributions to the nonprofit sector) to life.


Tell a Compelling Story:

  • Show the nominee in action rather than tell the judges how wonderful they are.
  • Use detailed anecdotes and real-life examples to illustrate the nominee’s impact in their field and the community at large.


Emphasize Impact Over Achievements:

  • Underscore the how and why of a nominee’s achievements as opposed to simply what it was.
  • Spotlight the nominee partnering and/or collaborating with others if this is integral to their work.


Employ Multiple Voices:

  • Include testimonials and letters of support from those adjacent to the nominee in order to provide a robust sense of their impact.
  • Utilize personal experiences in order to add credibility and depth to the nomination.


Address Challenges and Solutions:

  • Be transparent about challenges the nominee may have faced and emphasize how they were overcome.
  • Discuss the nominee’s adaptability and resilience in the face of obstacles.


Stay on Task

  • Answer each question using clear, concise and persuasive language.
  • Avoid overly complex language that may be difficult to understand.


Proofread and Edit:

  • Ensure all information is accurate and up-to-date; seek feedback when needed, especially if you are having trouble answering any of the questions.
  • Employ a colleague to proofread your nomination to eliminate errors and improve clarity.


Follow Submission Guidelines:

  • Adhere to submission guidelines provided by the awarding organization.
  • Ensure that you submit all required materials prior to the advertised deadline.
Stellar Examples to Guide You


What creative or innovative strategies are employed to overcome obstacles?

[The nominee’s] response to the pandemic was particularly inspiring. When it became apparent that young people were experiencing higher levels of food insecurity as a result of lack of access to free school lunch, [the nominee] adapted the [organization’s] culinary apprenticeship to include weekly deliveries of fresh groceries to each participant. [The nominee] also stocked the pantry at Drop-in with free, accessible food. Further, as substance use rates and mental health issues grew as a result of the pandemic, [the nominee] created new programs to serve youth — including securing a $1 million+ federal grant from HRSA to create a Rural Recovery Center in Great Barrington.


How does this individual demonstrate commitment and dedication to the organization and its mission?

For years, [the nominee’s] desk was the first one every [nonprofit] artist, faculty, partner, and community member encountered as they entered our office and shop. [The nominee] was quite literally the face of [the nonprofit], and [the nominee] greeted every person warmly, welcoming them and answering every question in [the nominee’s] perfect friendly way that encapsulates [the nonprofit’s] core value of inclusion and tells every person, “You matter here!” Now, in our new building, our office configuration has shifted but [the nominee] continues to bring this deep connection to [the nonprofit’s] mission to every dimension of [the nominee’s] job. CATA artists seek [the nominee] out, knowing [the nominee] will always laugh at a joke, listen to a story, and ask about their weekends. In every staff meeting and strategic planning session, [the nominee] asks critical strategic questions to ensure we are staying true to our core values of inclusion and access. And [the nominee’s] deep dedication to our mission sings in her 16-year commitment to upholding the highest financial standards and planning for [the nonprofit].


Why does this person’s work and attitude deserve to be recognized?

At 80-something years old and working more volunteer hours than most of us with a full-time job, [the nominee] does not stop. As the oldest and longest-serving core volunteer at [the nonprofit], [the nominee], begs for projects and is constantly looking for ways to make someone’s life better by offering information, gathering financial or material donations, and informing them of their rights and civic duties. [The nominee] does it not for personal advancement or public recognition, but because [the nominee] has made that journey themselves and cares with a fierce spirit for others following on that path.


What are the nominee’s personal and professional qualities?

[The nominee] is an expert at managing the details. [The nominee’s] long history with [the nonprofit] provides an institutional memory that is unheard of in the modern world. [The nominee] is fiercely committed to advocacy for the disability community in both her personal and professional life. [The nominee] probably should have been a teacher herself, because she is incredibly invested in the success of every student she meets. She is a mentor, officially and unofficially, to other [nonprofit chapters] around the country. She stepped into the role of interim executive director when needed, and then just as willingly stepped away from it when a permanent executive director was identified. She fills in all the cracks without having to be asked to do so; it’s just her nature to keep things moving forward.


How does this individual demonstrate that young people have the power to make a difference?

[The nominee] always brings social justice to the forefront of her conversations. Even while soft spoken, she asserts herself as an expert in her own experience, and this is essential in changemaking work. [The nominee] values youth input and creates ways for youth to access the power she’s cultivated over the years with persistence and consistency. She does not shy away from the hard work but dives into the deeper conversations that we are all seeking — without necessarily the words or vision to bring it all together. [The nominee] does, with creativity and insight, bring forth her voice to be heard — and she inspires other youth to do the same.


How does the nominee nurture and inspire staff, board, donors and community partners?

I’ve never met a more dedicated, passionate and motivated individual. [The nominee] leads a staff of over 30 and makes it a point to interact and get to know each and every one of them on a personal and professional level. She is engaging and dedicated to the success of the organization, and you will always see her at all events. Behind the scenes she takes action to get the job done. Over this past winter we had a horrific snowfall that almost halted us from opening our [nonprofit event] until [the nominee] took action, grabbed a shovel and worked tirelessly for hours to get the property cleared and safe for the public.


How does this individual demonstrate commitment and dedication to the organization and its mission?

[The nominee] is very responsive and returns emails, calls and texts in a timely manner; even if she is not able to complete the actual task, she lets us know what her time frame is. She also does grant fulfillment and will take on small organizational tasks that are not necessarily in her job description. She is always sending our board and staff information about opportunities for grants and education. She attends board meetings and will often stay for the duration, serving also in the capacity as an advisor to the board. Her love for the [mission] and joy of working with us is clear. She is an invaluable member of our [nonprofit] community.