PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kim and James Taylor have donated $350,000 to Berkshire Medical Center to bolster the hospital's efforts in fighting the ongoing battle to stop COVID-19.
The gift, announced Monday by BMC, will be the inaugural donation establishing the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Berkshire Health Systems, which will be used by BHS to fight the rapidly escalating public health crisis.
''My wife, Kim, and I have both pursued careers that have included a good deal of global travel. While we also spend a good deal of time in Boston, our favorite place to live our lives is Berkshire County," James Taylor said in a statement for both. "We are so lucky and grateful to have found a home here. In this time of great uncertainty and dire threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all called upon to support our heroic health-care providers. Their contribution and sacrifice cannot be over-stated."
The Taylors' gift to the COVID-19 Relief Fund will support BMC's emergency operations and ongoing efforts to care for the Berkshire County community during the pandemic.
"The generosity of Kim and James Taylor during this time of crisis is just one more example of their tremendous kindness and their love for the Berkshires," said David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems.
The Taylors both have a long history with the Berkshires. An award-winning singer/songwriter, James has performed most of Tanglewood's July 4 concerts since 1974.
He has recorded his albums "October Road," "Before This World," and most recently, "American Standard" at his Berkshire studio, The Barn. The Barn was also where he recorded "Break Shot" — his recently released Audible Original audio book detailing his first 21 years. His "One Man Band" album and PBS Special was recorded and filmed at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield in 2007.
Kim is currently a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and began her work with the BSO at Tanglewood in 1980. She worked closely with Seiji Ozawa and John Williams during her tenure, having been hired by Peter Gelb, then working for the BSO and now the Metropolitan Opera's general manager. With Gelb and Ozawa, Kim worked on establishing Ozawa's Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan, patterned after Tanglewood and the Salzburg Festival.
"Their support of BMC is truly a gift to our community, which depends on the hospital to rise to the occasion and provide the healthcare we need, especially at this critical moment." Phelps said. "We share the Taylors' admiration for our doctors, nurses, and all our staff who are on the front lines of this fight. The COVID-19 Relief Fund will help us to continue our efforts to provide healthcare workers with the resources they need to treat and contain the novel coronavirus."
Berkshire Medical Center, an affiliate of Berkshire Health Systems, is a 298-bed community teaching hospital serving the residents of Berkshire County and the neighboring areas. As the region's leading health-care provider, Berkshire Health Systems' mission is to improve the health of all people in the Berkshires and surrounding communities, regardless of their ability to pay.
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Berkshire Immigrant Center Celebrates National Immigrant Heritage Month
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Beginning June 1, the Berkshire Immigrant Center invites the community to honor the more than 10,000 immigrants in the Berkshires and by joining the annual observance of national Immigrant Heritage Month and helping to launch a $10,000 fundraising campaign for the center.
"During Immigrant Heritage Month, we proudly honor the many ways immigrants make the Berkshires a better place," said BIC Executive Director Michelle Lopez. "This year we are especially grateful for the hundreds of foreign-born doctors, medical technicians, nurses and staff who are caring for people at Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital, and nursing homes, and for local immigrants who are essential workers at our grocery stores, restaurants and farms."
Since March 20, BIC has raised more than $70,000 for a COVID-19 Relief Fund. Through this fund, BIC has helped more than 140 clients and their families pay for basic needs like rent and utilities.
"We know that so many local people are hurting, both our clients and our supporters, yet even during this crisis people are asking us how they can help," Lopez said.
While 100 percent of emergency relief has been passed through to clients, donations to the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign help ensure that BIC can serve the local immigrant community in crisis and beyond, including helping immigrants become US citizens. In this year of the U.S. Census count, BIC has also worked diligently to make sure that immigrants are counted and that Berkshire communities thus receive every dollar of federal aid that they should get.
Tax-deductible donations of any amount are welcome online. Contributions can also be made by check made out to Berkshire Immigrant Center and mailed to BIC, 67 East Street, Pittsfield MA 01201.
The center remains the only program in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on meeting the unique challenges of a continuously growing immigrant and refugee population. In 2018 BIC was named "Best Small Nonprofit" in the state by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
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