PITTSFIELD — The Berkshire Bank Foundation announced that, due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has contributed more than $1 million to collaborative efforts supporting nonprofit organizations responding to community-based needs. Guided by the foundation’s mission of investing in those living and working in its local communities, the total relief provided represents an additional $1 million over the foundation’s $3 million total annual grant budget.
The organizations supported in the Pioneer Valley through Berkshire Bank Foundation’s contributions include the Mental Health Assoc. Inc., YMCA of Greater Springfield, the SCORE Foundation – Western Massachusetts SCORE, and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, among others.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our local communities in ways that no one could have predicted, and the economic impact has created significant challenges for organizations who help so many every day,” said Jim Hickson, Berkshire Bank’s Pioneer Valley regional president. “All of us at Berkshire Bank are proud that our foundation can provide philanthropic support to help struggling families and businesses, not only here in Massachusetts, but across our entire footprint.”
The foundation’s grants this year have supported community-based organizations to help local families in the areas of affordable and safe housing, food security, health supplies, students in distress, and assistance to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The foundation has also allowed nonprofits to utilize funds given for specific programs to help cover general operating costs and extended requirements and/or reporting deadlines where needed.
“At Berkshire, we understand our responsibility to do our part to help the most vulnerable that are being economically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Sean Gray, the bank’s acting president and CEO, who also serves as president of the foundation board. “Our response has been guided by our ‘be first’ values and by our caring for those families and small businesses in the communities where we work and live who need help now.”