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Berkshire United Way Kicks Off 2020-21 Campaign Year

Launches virtual fundraising efforts, welcomes new workplace campaign 

What do dunk tanks, costume parties and penny jars have in common? They are creative ways in which businesses in the Berkshires are raising money to help those in need.

Berkshire United Way (BUW) provides its 140 workplace campaigns simple and efficient ways for employees to make a difference in the community. While this year looks a little different, the goal to raise money while having fun has stayed the same.

“Many of our workplaces have developed creative ways to engage employees during this time of social distancing, from fire pit raffles to cash calendars to virtual bingo parties,” said Duffy Judge, BUW development manager. “They are putting the fun in fundraising.”

Workplace campaigns are the backbone of BUW’s fundraising efforts and so this year, the organization has modified its processes due to the pandemic, from virtual kickoff celebrations and creative special events to customized campaign web pages that enable employees to virtually make gifts. BUW has also launched a campaign kickoff video to replace in-person gatherings.

Longtime supporter Unistress Corporation kicked off BUW’s fundraising year with a two-week campaign at the beginning of September, reporting a 6 percent increase in participation.

“Here at Unistress we are acutely aware of how important a role Berkshire United Way plays in improving the lives in our community,” said Perri Petricca, Unistress president. “As such, we were pleased to be their first workplace campaign this year, as hundreds of our employees generously made pledges to support BUW.”

To date, all the businesses that ran campaigns last year plan to participate again this year and BUW is excited to announce a new workplace partner in Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, an innovative company in the biotechnology field with 160 employees. Berkshire Sterile recently held its first special event – a socially distant company picnic featuring a dunk tank.

“We are encouraged. The last seven months have been challenging for many families and businesses, but we are overwhelmed by the generosity in our community.,” shared Candace Winkler, president and chief executive officer of BUW. “We recognize the effort it takes to run a campaign during this public health crisis, but we also know the need is great this year. Every gift makes a difference in someone’s life.”

“Charitable giving is a cornerstone of our culture and Guardian fosters it by matching nonprofit donations,” said Larry Hazzard, vice president, head of Disability Income Product, Underwriting and Claims, and president of Berkshire Life. “Our campaign coordinators Matt Cormier and Jacki Alibozek have devised creative fundraisers for our work-from-home reality, such as an online raffle, tequila seminar and drive-in movie night. We’re thankful to be 100 percent functional in our virtual work environment and look forward to a robust campaign.”

In partnership with Miraval Berkshires, BUW is offering a new incentive for participation. Anyone who pledges to this year’s campaign will be entered to win a three-day, two-night wellness getaway to Miraval’s new resort in Lenox.

To learn more about Berkshire United Way’s Annual Campaign, contact Duffy Judge at djudge@berkshireunitedway.org.

For 96 years, Berkshire United Way has been Here For Good to strengthen families and improve the quality of life in the Berkshires. To learn more, visit www.berkshireunitedway.org.

Photos: On this page, the dunk tank fundraiser at Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing's recent barbecue. On the main news page, Gabrielle Vanderpool, employee campaign coordinator at Ray Murray Inc., and Brenda Petell, BUW director of volunteer engagement.

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