As appeared in the Berkshire Eagle.
Have you ever felt compelled to make changes in your community, but didn’t know how or where to begin? Creating lasting change, right here in the Berkshires, is exactly what Berkshire United Way and our community partners do seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Working throughout Berkshire County, Berkshire United Way ignites the collective power of individuals and organizations to build a stronger community together. We do this by understanding our community – analyzing data, and listening to people, to inform our work—then bringing donors, volunteers, nonprofits and businesses together, combining each dollar, volunteer hour, and voice to make a greater impact.
You may wonder how we invest over $2 million a year to build a stronger community. Gifts made to Berkshire United Way support children and families from cradle-to career, providing early childhood development and education opportunities so children enter school ready to learn. Giving youth the information and support they need to make healthy decisions so they graduate from high school with a college or career plan. And helping working families become financially stable so they can pave the path to success for the next generation.
Real people, just like you, are committed to maximizing your investment. Community volunteers, along with members of our board of directors and staff, spend hundreds of hours determining how and where your gift is invested to ensure that both you and our community realize the greatest return. We monitor those investments and measure the impact, and we can confidently state there is a great return on the investments we make.
For example, a gift of just $1 a day will enable a promising teen to benefit from Flying Cloud’s Young Women in Science program for a year; or it can provide a child with the opportunity to participate in a week-long literacy program such as Pittsfield’s Marilyn Hamilton Sports Literacy Program; or it can enable seven members of our community to receive free tax return preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provided by Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC) and Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity. The average VITA participant receives a $1,625 refund. In 2017, the VITA program resulted in over $1.7 million of additional funds circulating in our community.
Regardless of the amount you’re able to give, you are supporting efforts to build a stronger community. Berkshire United Way combines your gift with thousands of others and invests in over 30 programs and strategies, which work together to achieve our goals in ways that no single program, organization or sector can do alone. We make a greater impact together.
When we provide those in need with tools and resources to succeed, our community thrives. These are just a few success stories:
- “I wasn’t sure when we adopted him if he would have learning issues…He has received therapies in our home, and has shown continued improvements from month to month…I hope to see even more improvements with continued support.” – Parent, Pediatric Development Center
- “I would love to have the experience I had last summer, especially working on a trail at Chesterwood. It truly made me physically stronger, but it also made me mentally stronger too.” – Program Participant, Greenagers
- "Getting Ahead has gotten me ahead; of my finances, my future plans, my over spending, my budgeting and ultimately my best financial track to home ownership.” - Program Graduate, Getting Ahead offered by Habitat for Humanity
Berkshire United Way’s vision is for Berkshire County to be a dynamic, engaged community with opportunities for all. Please join us in making that vision a reality by giving to Berkshire United Way. On behalf of our friends and neighbors here in the Berkshires, we thank you for your support.
To learn more about our community investments or to make a donation, please visit our website at berkshireunitedway.org.