18 Degrees President and CEO To Resign

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — 18 Degrees President and CEO Colleen Holmes, has resigned to accept another opportunity in the nonprofit sector in Springfield.  
 
"That I have loved serving 18 Degrees' mission and people over the past three years made this a tough decision," Holmes said. "It's been life-changing to be a part of our communities and this amazing 18 Degrees team and to work with all of you to advance 18 Degrees' vision of welcome, inclusion, growth, and social justice change. What we have accomplished together makes me very grateful and unabashedly proud." 
 
Holmes will leave the organization as of Oct. 30, 2020.
 
"For the past three years, our organization has been uplifted and transformed by our President and CEO, Colleen Holmes, for which we are very thankful," Chris King, chair of the board of directors for 18 Degrees said. "When the board of directors began their search for a new President and CEO in 2017, we sought to ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance, administration, fundraising, and communications.  We got all that with Colleen and more."
 
Stephanie Steed, vice president of programs, will step up to serve as the Interim Executive Director. 
 
Steed, who has a master's degree in education and is a licensed social worker, began her career with 18 Degrees fifteen years ago. She oversees a range of programs in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley, including Foster Care, Adoption, Child and Family Support in the Pioneer Valley, Family Networks, Young Woman's Initiative, and RAP Inc, and is well acquainted with state funding sources.
 
The board has begun a search for Holmes' successor.
 
18 Degrees, formerly Berkshire Children and Families, promotes the well-being and strengths of children, youth, adults and families to build better communities in Western Massachusetts.  We provide education, parenting skills and support, prevention and intervention, advocacy, and life skills across a spectrum of program serving young people, adults, and families in four areas: early education and care; foster care and adoption; child and family well-being; youth and community development.
 
"This organization has a 133-year history of helping children, youth, and families thrive in Western Massachusetts, and we have the utmost confidence this will continue. We are fortunate to have five highly capable Senior Directors who will work with Steed through the transition," King said.
 

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Mayor Tyer Reviving 'At Home in Pittsfield' Program

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a year after it was rejected by the City Council, Mayor Linda Tyer has revived her At Home housing renovation program.
 
The initiative was referred on Tuesday to the subcommittee of Economic and Community Development. Tyer is asking for appropriation of $500,000 from the Pittsfield Economic Development Fund for the residential Exterior Home Improvement Loan Program.
 
The mayor pitched this program in February 2019 to help eligible residents improve their homes. This program would will provide zero-interest loans to residents for undertaking certain home improvement projects in an effort to improve the housing stock in the city.
 
Tyer originally asked for $250,000 from the General Electric account to kickstart the program so that homeowners could then get loans of up to 10 percent of the appraised value after renovations or a maximum of $20,000.
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