Barrett Fund Awards $75,000 to Eight Community Groups

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SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announced today that the William J. and Margery S. Barrett Fund for Adams, Cheshire and Savoy recently awarded grants totaling $74,763 to eight nonprofit organizations in those three towns.

"Berkshire Taconic is proud to be the steward of Margery Barrett’s legacy,” said Jennifer Dowley, president of the foundation. “Margery was born in North Adams and spent most of her life as a teacher in Adams. Her dream was to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Adams, Cheshire and Savoy. She would be thrilled today to see the great good it has done over the years."

The Barrett Fund was established in 1995 by Margery Barrett using Pfizer stock inherited from her father and husband. Barrett remained anonymous until she died in 2000, when the remainder of her trust was added to the fund. The fund has since distributed more than $2 million to worthy projects.

The nonprofit groups that received Barrett Fund grants include: Adams Police Department ($10,000) for the Police Athletic League, a program that allows the department to work closely with area youth in a structured athletic setting through basketball; Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School ($7,003) for promoting health and wellness; Berkshire Nursing Families ($10,000) for the North Berkshire Lactation Project, a program that provides comprehensive breastfeeding support services for families in Adams, Cheshire and Savoy; Cheshire PTG ($4,200) for the Berkshire Theatre Festival Residency Program; Child Care of the Berkshires ($7560) to support  science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum; Elder Services of Berkshire County ($8,000) for Meals on Wheels and group meals for seniors; Elizabeth Freeman Center ($10,000) for the Child Safe Child Strong Program; and Youth Center ($18,000) for Community Programs and Outreach.

Child Care of the Berkshires will use its Barrett Fund grant to improve learning opportunities for young children in Adams and Cheshire. Anne Nemetz-Carlson, executive director of Child Care of the Berkshires, said, "Children are avid learners, and STEM will allow them to be involved in fun hands-on math and science activities. The grant we received will also help support the new STEM curriculum so that our children will be ready to enter kindergarten. We are very excited to have the opportunity to start this new project."

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.
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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire County Youths Joined Amplify 2019 Program

Music in Common

Berkshire County youth Darby Taylor, Hailey Peters, Maddy Bronson and Olivia Davis participated in Music In Common's "Amplify" program in Sheffield, Mass., this summer. Amplify is a two-week residential program in which musicians perform songs written by Music In Common youth from around the world. The Amplify group performed three concerts throughout Berkshire County to culminate the program.

Eight musicians, ages 15 to 20, arrived in the Berkshires on July 7 from California, Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts and immersed themselves in a rigorous two-week residential program in which they learned nine songs, culled from more than 50 songs written by youth in previous Music In Common programs. The participants also wrote an original piece, "Shine Through," about staying true to self. They performed the songs at three concerts across the county. All Music In Common’s Youth Produced songs and videos can be viewed on MIC’s YouTube Channel.

This year's participants were selected based on auditions in California, Massachusetts, Georgia and online. The Amplify program is Music In Common's only program that selects participants through auditions. This is the second year in a row that Music In Common produced the Amplify program. "It's heartwarming to empower a new generation of musical talent and leaders," said Todd Mack, executive director at Music In Common. "They believe, as we do, that music offers humanity a common language through which we can realize peace and understanding."

Music In Common is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth against hate through collaborative songwriting, multimedia, and performance. The organization’s mission is to strengthen, empower, and connect communities through the universal language of music. Mack founded Music In Common in 2005 originally as an informal backyard jam called FODfest, inspired by the life of his friend and bandmate Daniel Pearl, the late Wall Street Journal reporter murdered in 2002. Fueled by a resonating belief in music as a universal language, that backyard jam has grown into a global nonprofit organization with innovative community-building programming that serves as a call to action in communities around the world. To date, Music In Common has produced programming in more than 300 communities across the United States, Middle East and Far East and operates multiple programs locally, nationally and internationally.


Support group expansion

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is expanding its Healthy Hearts Support Group to include anyone living with a chronic condition. Meetings are held from 10 to 11 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month on the third floor of the West Wing of the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, 100 Hospital Drive in Bennington, Vt. Free valet parking is available, and signs are hung to direct attendees who enter through the Main Lobby.

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