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Brenda Petell, director of volunteer engagement at Berkshire United Way, right, hands over pledge forms to Gabrielle Vanderpool, employee campaign coordinator at Ray Murray Inc., during the company’s recent workplace campaign kickoff event.

Berkshire United Way Starts Campaign Year

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire United Way kicked off its 2020 to 2021 campaign year with virtual fundraising efforts
 
This year will look different for Berkshire United Way's 140 workplace campaigns, but the goal to raise money while having fun remains the same.
 
"These campaigns are the backbone of our fundraising efforts, so this year we have modified our processes due to the pandemic, from virtual kickoffs and creative special events to customized campaign web pages that enable employees to virtually make gifts," Duffy Judge, BUW development manager said. "We have also launched a campaign kickoff video to replace in-person gatherings."
 
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 in 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," Perri Petricca, Unistress president said. "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 welcomed a new workplace partner Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing. 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," Candace Winkler, president and chief executive officer of BUW said. "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."
 
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.
 

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District Attorney Launches 'High-Risk' Team to Address Domestic Violence

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Cathy Felix talks about her daughter, Julie Shade, a victim of domestic violence who was murdered by her husband. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has launched a new effort to address domestic and sexual abuse in the region.
 
District Attorney Andrea Harrington, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, on Thursday introduced a Domestic Violence High Risk Team designed to bring multiple disciplines together to strengthen social service and law enforcement responses to domestic violence. The DA's office has also created a new position of a domestic violence coordinator who will work with the team and develop intervention plans.
 
The initiative continues a campaign promise Harrington made to prioritize domestic violence and develop a team of made up of representatives across several disciplines to create a coordinated response. 
 
"We are using our power to dismantle a culture of violence against women and girls," she said. "Being the first female district attorney [in Berkshire County], being the first anything, being a woman in power in particular, and we have a lot of powerful women standing here behind me today, that in and of its self is meaningless unless we use that power to bring equity and human rights and justice to our community."
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