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The Clark Art Institute is now a member of Bank of America's 'Museums on Us' program, providing cardholders with free admission on the first full weekend of each month.

Biz Briefs: Bank of America Offers Free Museum Admission to Members

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Admission's on us

The Clark Art Institute is now a member of Bank of America's "Museums on Us" program, providing cardholders with free admission on the first full weekend of each month.

Each Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or US Trust cardholder is allowed one free general admission to participating institutions on any eligible day. The program applies only to the first full weekend (consecutive Saturday and Sunday) of every month. Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only; guests of the cardholder do not receive free admission. Photo ID is required along with the valid credit or debit card.
Museums on Us is designed to provide a benefit to Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and US Trust customers and increase access to the arts across the United States. Museums on Us offers free general admission to more than 150 museums in some 100 cities. The program brings new audiences and increased attention to participating organizations, which range from some of the nation's most celebrated museums to regional gems and include art, science and history museums, as well as other cultural institutions.


Volunteer tax program

Berkshire United Way has expanded the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program this year to several new locations. Community members with a household income of $54,000 or less are eligible for free tax preparation by IRS-certified VITA volunteers. Berkshire United Way currently supports the VITA program with staff, volunteers and funding to community partners including Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity and the Hilltown Community Development Corporation. VITA helps individuals build financial stability by ensuring those who qualify receive the earned income tax credit.

Since Berkshire United Way began investing in VITA services, millions in additional dollars have been returned to working families in Berkshire County. Last year alone, VITA resulted in more than $1.7 million being returned to local individuals and families which could then be invested in our community. To make an appointment for free tax prep, call: Berkshire United Way, Great Barrington and Lee, 413-442-6948; Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Pittsfield, 413-442-0002; and Hilltown CDC, Dalton and the Hilltowns, 413-296-4536, ext. 100

Residents with a household income in excess of $54,000, but less than $66,000, may complete their taxes for free online.


Money School's in session

Elizabeth Freeman Center will be offering two new series of Money School, its free, award-winning financial independence series for people impacted by domestic or sexual violence. Money School helps participants build their financial futures. It offers one-on-one financial coaching, income resources, help with getting jobs and going back to school, social asset building, credit repair and ongoing individual support. Participants receive a stipend ($125 cash), free dinner and childcare.

EFC is offering a Money School series in English in North Adams on Tuesday evenings from Feb. 27 to March 27 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Another series in English is planned for April in Great Barrington. To register, contact Donna, Money School Facilitator, at Elizabeth Freeman Center at 413-499-2425, ext. 207, or by email.


Applications sought

The Berkshire Life Charitable Foundation is now accepting applications from programs, services and special initiatives that address the many needs of Berkshire County residents with physical or developmental disabilities. The foundation was chartered in 2001 to honor two major corporate milestones that coincided that year: the 150th anniversary of the founding of Berkshire Life Insurance Company and its merger with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Since inception, the foundation has awarded more than 360 grants with a cumulative financial contribution to the community in excess of $1.79 million.

A Board of Trustees composed of Berkshire County residents will review all applications and award grants this summer. In its 2017 funding cycle, the foundation awarded 24 grants totaling more than $124,000 in support of a broad variety of initiatives throughout the Berkshires.

The deadline for grant requests is Friday, March 30. Applicants must be nonprofit agencies with tax-exempt status, i.e., IRS Code Section 501(c)(3), serving Berkshire County residents with disabilities. Contact Travis Crouse, Berkshire Life Charitable Foundation, at 413-395-4890 or by email, to obtain an application.

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