Berkshire Bank Foundation Gives $20K to SIOGA Club

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Bank has awarded SIOGA Club of Berkshire County with $20,000 grant to help complete interior work at its George B. Crane Memorial Center at 81 Linden St.

The funding from Berkshire Bank Foundation and the foundation's Legacy Region will help complete the second-floor renovations, while a fundraising campaign is under way to raise the remaining funds needed.

SIOGA Club of Berkshire County, a non-profit organization established in 1977, provided a home base for a recovering, addicted community until 2004, when its rented quarters were destroyed by fire. Since then, with loans, donations and dedicated volunteers, SIOGA purchased and renovated the abandoned house on Linden Street to create its own space.

The first floor of offices and meeting rooms was opened in November 2010 and, in its first year, has served more than 18,000 people struggling with addiction recovery and other life-altering issues. The mission of the Crane Center also encompasses the needs of support groups.

"We are very pleased to support this important organization addressing a critical need in our community," said Peter J. Lafayette, executive director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. "The George B. Crane Memorial Center not only directly assists those recovering from alcohol and substance abuse as well as other addictions, but provides a great space for other positive reinforcement group meetings, events and activities. We look for forward to seeing the organization continue to grow and expand its mission to serve an even wider community."   

The second floor requires an elevator for handicapped accessibility and will include spaces that could be used by local service agencies and for more private meetings with counselors.

Last September, the club's new home was renamed to better reflect its expanded, more diversified mission and to honor the late attorney George B. Crane, one of its founders. The center currently serves as a meeting place for nine individual recovery and three support groups. Programs are being planned that will target first-time offenders and at-risk youth, programs that are unduplicated anywhere regionally.

The center is currently undertaking a fundraising effort to cover the costs of completing the second floor of its building to serve a growing need. Donations may be sent to George B. Crane Memorial Center, 81 Linden St., Pittsfield, Mass. For more information, call Douglas Malins at 413-281-7407.

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