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Balance Rock purchased the White Horse Inn, located at 378 South Street in Pittsfield, in the spring of 2018, and set forth to both preserve and transform the beautiful historic building into a welcoming space better suited to meet the growing needs of clients and employees.

Biz Briefs: Balance Rock Investment Group Celebrates 20 Years With Move

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Happy anniversary

Balance Rock Investment Group closed out 2018 with after celebrating the firm's 20th anniversary and move to its new office space on South Street in Pittsfield. Formerly known as Colt Investment Services, Balance Rock Investment Group was founded by David Milligan in 1998. Specializing in developing retirement income strategies built on the best interests of each client and designed to promote clarity across all chapters of life, the firm’s personalized approach has attributed to its 20 years of growth and success.

In early 2011, in conjunction with its rebranding, Balance Rock Investment Group moved to new offices on Elm Street. Since that time, the firm's client base and assets under management have nearly doubled, as its focus on asset management and retirement income planning proved to be greatly needed in this marketplace. To support this growth, Balance Rock purchased the White Horse Inn, located at 378 South Street in Pittsfield, in the spring of 2018, and set forth to both preserve and transform the beautiful historic building into a welcoming space better suited to meet the growing needs of clients and employees. Renovations and improvements were finished and the entire staffed moved in in late July.

"This is an exciting time for Balance Rock Investment Group," Milligan said. "This anniversary and move are both a testament to the trust that our clients have placed in us, and to the strong future that we will have together."


Bank fundraising

The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank collected $16,200 during fundraising efforts for its 2017-18 Berkshire United Way Campaign. Soon after all employee contributions had been tabulated, the bank's board of directors announced that it would match the staff's donation, thus bringing the campaign's total to $32,400.

"The bank's commitment to the Berkshires spans 130 years and we are proud of the significant impact that we continue to have on the community.  And, the fact that we maintain a relatively small staff makes the amount raised all that more impressive," said J. Jay Anderson, president and CEO of the Pittsfield Co-op. "One-hundred percent of our workforce made a financial contribution in support of the campaign helping achieve the Pinnacle Award Criteria for workplace campaign excellence. This level of participation says a lot about the people who work here, especially Janice Acklin and Vicky Kolodziej – the employee coordinators this year."

Kristine Hazzard, president and CEO of Berkshire United Way, expressed her gratitude to the bank for its donation. "“In addition to funding local programs, we also do the research to ensure donors'  contributions are invested where they are needed most, and build community partnerships to promote pathways for individuals and families to thrive."


Bank scholarships

Berkshire Bank's 2019 NeXt Gen Scholars scholarship awards program offers individuals planning to attend a two or four-year college or technical school in the fall of 2019 the opportunity to receive one of 40 scholarships. A total of $100,000 in scholarship money will be awarded by the Berkshire Bank Foundation to those who live or attend school where Berkshire Bank has a presence in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The NeXt Gen Scholar recipients will embody academic excellence while sharing Berkshire Bank's commitment to community service and volunteerism. Applications will be evaluated based on the individual's record of volunteer service, academic success, and financial need. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 and a household income under $100,000 (or individual income of $50,000) to be eligible to apply. Each NeXt Gen Scholar will receive $2,500 in funding to support their education efforts. A team of more than 200 Berkshire Bank employee volunteers will review the applications and select the 2019 recipients. To be considered, all applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 31.


Greylock statement

As part of its mission, Greylock Federal Credit Union pledges to partner with its members and lead with compassion and creativity. That is what has driven CEO John Bissell to initiate solutions to help local members who have been impacted by the partial shutdown of the federal government.

"We have identified a number of members that have potentially been affected," Bissell said. "We are reaching out to them to see where we can help." Though the needs of each individual will be unique, Bissell expects that opportunities for support will include the resources of Greylock's financial coaching team and possible adjustments in fees or payments.

"As the shutdown continues, we may find these members in need of short-term financing solutions. Nothing is off the table," according to Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Jodi Rathbun-Briggs. "Our team is reaching out to those we are able to identify. As a Community Development Financial Institution, we are committed to helping our community thrive and will work with those families as much as possible."

If you know of a furloughed federal employee that is struggling due to the government shutdown, invite them to call 413-236-4000.


Donor research workshop

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is offering a workshop titled "The Value of Donor Research" on Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.  The fee is $25 for NPC members and $35 for non-members. Register online or call 413-645-3151.

If you have ever wondered whether you are asking a potential donor for the right amount or if a donor can give more than what he or she has given in the past, you will learn how to get a more complete picture of a donor in this workshop which covers both free, do-it-yourself web-based research and the use of paid "wealth screening" databases. Participants will discover how the components of such research fit into the formulation of a wealth capacity rating and overall prospect profile.

Ten research components will be explored, including real estate valuation, charitable donations, political donations, earnings and more. Samples of free Web and fee-based products will be demonstrated and the pros and cons of each will be examined. Presenter Roger Magnus and provide a list of free and subscription resources and show how they work together. Magnus operates a research consulting firm that helps nonprofits locate donors and foundation funding.

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NAMI Berkshire County Celebrates 36 Years

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Berkshire County celebrated 36 years of providing support, advocacy, and education programs at their virtual annual meeting held on Sept. 16.
The Eunice Zorbo Award recipients were Amy Alexander, Member of the Year, and Lorraine Scapin, Citizen of the Year. The Silver Ribbon was awarded to Brenda Butler. 
The Member of the Year award recognizes a member who contributes enthusiastically to NAMI Berkshire County’s activities in support of its mission to help families whose lives are affected by mental illness. 
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