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As the result of a partnership with Big Y, a family-owned food retail company with stores across Western Massachusetts, schools in Berkshire County received 1,000 new books for school and classroom libraries.

Biz Briefs: Big Y Helps Fund Books for North Adams, Pittsfield Elementary Schools

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Book donations

As the result of a partnership with Big Y, a family-owned food retail company with stores across Western Massachusetts, schools in Berkshire County received 1,000 new books for school and classroom libraries. The six elementary schools benefiting from this generous donation included Silvio O. Conte Community School, Morningside Community School and Crosby Elementary in Pittsfield and Brayton Elementary, Greylock Elementary and Colegrove Park Elementary in North Adams.

"Like schools in the Greater Springfield area, Berkshire County faces challenges increasing reading proficiency at the elementary level. That is why it has long been a goal of ours to expand our programming to towns like Pittsfield and North Adams," said Laurie Flynn, president & CEO of Link to Libraries. "Link to Libraries is incredibly fortunate to have a partner like Big Y that recognizes the life-changing impact books can have on the lives of underserved children. We are grateful for this generous donation. We hope that other local businesses and volunteer readers will consider joining our effort to get books into the hands of children who need them in Berkshire County."

Principal Carolyn Wallace from Brayton Elementary School in North Adams said Big Y and Link to Libraries are "important community partners" for the school. "Students get excited about all of the new books in our library, but the personal connections that happen when Big Y employees visit our classrooms as readers, and the books they give to the students to take home for their home libraries, are priceless. Their message to our students is clear, reading matters," she said.

Link to Libraries relies on three signature programs to inspire young readers, increase children's access to books and enhance the language and literacy skills of children of all cultural backgrounds. Link to Libraries is actively seeking out sponsors and volunteers in Berkshire County to participate in each of these efforts.

First, the Business Book Link Program pairs a local business with a school in need, providing 400 new books to their library each year. As a part of this three-year partnership, employees are also offered the opportunity to participate as classroom readers once a month over the course of the school year. Second, the Read Aloud Program connects volunteer readers with third- and fourth-grade classrooms. Readers are given a set of books from which to read, as well as new books for students to keep at the end of each monthly visit. And third, through the Reading Any Place Program, Link to Libraries collaborates with local agencies, schools and other nonprofits to provide new books to homeless children from birth through grade seven. For information on how to join the Link to Libraries team, contact Laurie Flynn by email or by phone at 413-654-7241.


McDonald's grant

Managers of the Bennington McDonalds Store 22198 joined with leaders of the Learning Tree Child Care Center, part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington, in recognition of the center having received a $4,423 grant for new classroom furniture from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.

Beneficiaries of RMHC grants are local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated an ability to respond to the needs of children and their families in a definitive, hands-on manner, yielding measurable results. The center applied through contacts at the local McDonald's restaurant. New classroom furniture that was acquired through the grant includes a puppet theater and gated play areas.


Winter Farmers Markets

Berkshire Grown's Winter Farmers Market in Great Barrington features the freshest locally grown and produced foods and gifts, including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, breads, preserved foods, plus grilled sausages, egg sandwiches, and lamb kebabs. These events take place on the 3rd Saturday of the month, November through April: Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 16, and April 20. All winter long shoppers can find their favorite farmers, food producers and craft vendors at the Monument Valley Regional Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In Williamstown, Berkshire Grown's Holiday Farmers Market will be housed in two different locations. On Sunday, Nov. 18, the market will fill the gym at the Williamstown Elementary School, 115 Church St.; on Dec. 16, the market will move to the big red barn at Sweetwood of Williamstown, 1611 Cold Spring Road. While the location is different from past years, shoppers will still be able to find their favorite farmers and vendors on each of the Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The winter markets will feature fun activities for kids, food for lunch, and live music. Admission is free and SNAP/EBT is accepted at all markets. Thanks to our supporters at the Berkshire Food Co-op and Mountain One, SNAP dollars will doubled at all of the Berkshire Grown November and December Holiday Farmers Markets.


'Museum Store Sunday'

The Clark Art Institute announces its participation in Museum Store Sunday, an international shopping and cultural campaign created by the Museum Store Association, on Sunday, Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In keeping with this year's theme, "25 on the 25th," visitors receive 25 percent off all purchases made in the Clark's museum store, including jewelry, home decor, gifts, and fine art books.

More than 700 museum stores will offer inspired shopping at museums and cultural institutions. In partnership with the United Kingdom’s Association for Cultural Enterprises and the Museum Shops Association of Australia and New Zealand, MSA's Museum Store Sunday promotes conscientiously supporting museum stores and the missions of associated museums worldwide. For a list of participating institutions and promotions, visit the website.


Woman of Achievement Dinner

Northern Berkshire BPW will host a Woman of Achievement dinner honoring Collen Janz for her work in local museums and civic organizations, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the Williams Inn.  Proceeds from the event will help fund NBBPW's Margaret E. Lanoue Scholarship.  

The cost of the meal will be $30 per person. Meal choices are roasted strip loin of beef with merlot demi-glace or crab meat stuffed sole with red pepper coulis. To make a reservation, contact Pauline Davis at 413-663-7844 by Nov. 21.  Networking begins at 5:30 p.m. and is followed by dinner and the program.


SVMC cardiology certification

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Cardiology has again achieved the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission's  accreditation for adult transthoracic and adult stress echocardiography. SVMC, which includes SVMC Cardiology, is one of only five facilities in the state that is accredited in adult stress echocardiography.

Accreditation by the IAC means that SVMC Cardiology has undergone a thorough review of its operational and technical processes by a panel of experts. The accreditation is granted only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care in compliance with national standards through a comprehensive application process, which includes a detailed case study review.

Physicians and technologists in both SVMC Cardiology and the hospital's echocardiography department submitted their work for evaluation. The process includes meeting quarterly requirements and reapplying every three years. The service was first accredited in 2014. This most recent accreditation will last through 2022.

In addition to being accredited, each of the doctors who read echocardiograms at SVMC are board- certified by the National Board of Echocardiography.


Nonprofit board workshop

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires presents a workshop on board financial management tools led by John Gillespie, a nonprofit and social enterprise practice leader at Charles River CFO.  The workshop will be held at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge on Nov. 28 from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to provide nonprofit leaders and board members with tools and analytic techniques to enhance their knowledge of financial management for nonprofit businesses.

The workshop is appropriate for board chairs, treasurers, executive directors, board bembers, COOs and CFOs.  Topics include understanding financial statements, cash flow management, strategic budgeting, program profitability analysis and operating reserves. The cost is $35 for NPC members and $45 for non-members; register online.

Charles River CFO delivers and manages interim CFO and outsourced accounting services for client engagements in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. Gillespie has been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, NonProfit Times, and The Wall Street Journal among others.

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North Adams Council Passes $41M Budget for Fiscal 2021

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council approved a $41 million budget for fiscal 2021 on Tuesday along with using close to $300,000 in reserve funds despite concerns expressed by several councilors.
The total amount to be raised is $40,939,756, up $134,218, or 0.33 percent, from last year. Some $11,369.776 has already been spent over the past three months through continuing appropriations caused by delays in the state budget because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 
"This is now coming on really six months of a budget process," said Mayor Thomas Bernard. "We typically start talking about the budget with the Finance Committee in March, and this year we had our first conversation in late April because following the shutdown at the state and local levels, there was just so much uncertainty ... it made sense to pursue several months of continuation budgets, with the goal of bringing forward this budget now for you in October."
The budget on its own did not generate much discussion overall but the use of $320,427 in reserve funds to offset the amount to be raised by taxes did.
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