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Biz Briefs: Nonprofit Center Report Addresses Sharing of Services

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The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has released the results of a report titled "Sharing Nonprofit Services in Berkshire County." Authored by Erin Sullivan, who works for a Berkshire nonprofit and initiated the research as part of a requirement for a master's degree in public administration, the four-page summary details findings on which nonprofits are willing to participate in shared services, what levels of shared services are of interest or seem most beneficial, the plusses and barriers to sharing services, and the need for more structure and support for these endeavors.

Sullivan collected both quantitative and qualitative data in the forms of an email survey, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews. Forty-eight individuals participated from 48 organizations, representing a diversity of size, type, budget, and experience of nonprofit leaders. Respondents were primarily executive directors, senior administrators and a few board members. South, central and northern Berkshire County were represented.

The study shows that most Berkshire nonprofits are involved in some form of informal collaboration. Nonprofits believe that shared services can help increase efficiencies and advance their mission. There is frustration, however, over the lack of a unifying voice for nonprofits and the support required to enter into shared services.  

No matter the size of the organization, nonprofit leaders realize they all face similar challenges, and addressing those together will bring the community together to serve clients best.  Participants discussed possible and realized benefits when considering shared services: obtaining more and bigger funding opportunities, taking advantage of all resources available, expanding the reach of their impact, and providing more comprehensive services for clients. In small nonprofits, staff must be skilled in many areas -- shared resources could build the capacity for them to meet their mission more fully. Leaders felt that this could lead to more authentic program creation as opposed to funding-driven program development.

The report can be found in the January issue of Connections Magazine, published by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. The magazine is distributed in community spaces throughout the county and is also available for purchase online.

 

In memory of

Adams Community Bank recently presented two local nonprofit organizations with $5,000 donations in memory of former trustees who passed away during 2017.

Bank president Charles O'Brien presented Janis Broderick, executive director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, with a $5,000 check in memory of Trustee Steve Nelson. The Elizabeth Freeman Center, an organization that Nelson strongly supported, offers help to all who experience and are affected by domestic and sexual violence through free and accessible services in Berkshire County. The center promotes social justice and aims to end all forms of violence.

Larry Clairmont, director of the Saint John Paul Charity Center, was presented with a $5,000 check by O’Brien and bank officer Kathy Luczynski in memory of former Board Chair John I. Curtin. The Saint John Paul Charity Center, an organization that Curtin supported,  provides assistance to those who are in need of food, clothing and baby products throughout the Adams, Cheshire and Savoy communities at no cost to families in need.

 

Giving back

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the parent of Berkshire Bank, has announced additional investments in its employees and communities following the recent passage of federal tax reform legislation.

These investments include raising Berkshire's minimum wage to $15 per hour and providing a special, one-time bonus of $1,000 to more than 1,000 employees. This grant benefits all full time employees below a certain compensation threshold, covering over 70 percent of the Bank's workforce and augments the special $500 holiday bonus these colleagues received in the fourth quarter.

The investments also include enhancing Berkshire’s investment in employee development and training programs to benefit its employees and bolster its current offering at America's Most Exciting Bank University and contributing $2 million to the Berkshire Bank Foundation, which supports charitable organizations, scholarships, and volunteerism across Berkshire’s local communities. This will bolster the foundation's endowment and allow for increased local giving.  Last year Berkshire Bank provided more than $2 million to our local communities, complementing its employee volunteer program, which helps its employees contribute over 40,000 hours of volunteer service each year. 

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