United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region Accepts Two Major Gifts 

NORTHAMPTON — United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region recently accepted two major gifts totaling $176,000, enhancing the power the organization has to impact the lives of people in need across Western Mass. 

A $76,000 bequest was arranged by the late Hale Johnson, an artist from Colrain who passed away in April, and an anonymous donor gifted $100,000. 

“We are thrilled with these incredibly generous donations and the fact that they come so closely together is also meaningful,” said Donor Relations Manager Holly Martineau. “Gifts of this magnitude allow United Way to reach more people and transform more lives. All gifts, in all amounts, help us support people living without ample means, and gifts of this magnitude give us even more power for change. The power of these two gifts alone will impact many for years to come.” 

Johnson and his wife of 55 years, Lorraine Johnson, who passed away in 2016, were community supporters of organizations such as the Colrain Fire and Rescue, Dakin Animal Shelter and the Franklin Land Trust. In tribute to his late wife, Johnson made a sizable donation to the Greenfield Public Library Foundation in 2020, as Lorraine Johnson was a longtime member of the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library. 

Lorraine Johnson was an avid reader, the founder of two floral businesses, and the founder of the Foundation for Fiber Arts in Amherst.  

Hale Johnson’s paintings capture the countryside of the valley as well as coastal Maine and Northwestern England. Done in the American Realist tradition, his work is often compared to that of Andrew Wyeth and Eric Sloan. Johnson was known to be perceptive, compassionate and generous throughout his life. 

The donor of the anonymous $100,000 gift lives in Franklin County. 

“We are grateful to these generous donors, and we will respect and honor their legacies and stewardship,” Martineau said, noting the announcement of the two donations offers the United Way the opportunity to educate people in the Valley about the importance of giving and the various ways to donate.