Berkshire Organizations Partner to Launch New Website to Help Grant Seekers

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Funding Focus (BFF), a new initiative established to support Berkshire County entities seeking federal and state funds for pandemic-related recovery and rebuilding, launched its website in November.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and several partner agencies joined to form BFF in response to a need for a clearinghouse focused on the investment of COVID-19 recovery dollars into the region, to improve the well-being of community members. The initiative provides support for four core groups of potential grant seekers: non-profits, municipalities, school districts, and entrepreneurs.
According to a press release, Berkshire County needs financial resources to recover, rebuild, and revive. An unprecedented amount of federal and state dollars are available, beginning with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), and continuing through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Berkshire Funding Focus is here to serve the region as a clearinghouse that:
  • Curates state and federal funding announcements
  • Builds capacity by offering regular training programs for potential applicants
  • Convenes potential partners to explore collaborative and competitive proposals
  • Consults with organizations seeking assistance to help answer questions and navigate applications
"Berkshire Funding Focus is already providing benefits," said Karen Pelto, Recovery Grant Specialist. "We've been able to convene groups to partner on grant applications that will be more competitive and more impactful for the region."
The Berkshire Funding Focus website launched on Nov. 1, immediately offering a suite of resources to small businesses, entrepreneurs, cities or towns, school districts, colleges, and non-profits across the Berkshires. A full calendar of workshops and webinars to help grant seekers create stronger applications and be better prepared to manage funds can be found on the website, along with a resource library containing guidance on grant writing, including glossaries to help decipher terminology used by grant makers. In the "opportunities" section, a curated list of currently available grants can be sorted by category (what type of work the grant will fund) topics (what the funders want to support) and audience (who is eligible to receive the funding.)
Members of the initiative's Advisory Committee include Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, which serves as the host agency, along with 1Berkshire, BERK-12, Berkshire Bank Foundation, Berkshire Black Economic Council, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Berkshire United Way, Health Resources in Action, Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, and Volunteers in Medicine.

Tags: BRPC,   COVID-19,   

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Pittsfield ZBA Grants Casella Permit for Waste Transfer Facility

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals calls Casella's planned redevelopment of the former trash incinerator an improvement to the site.

Last week, the panel approved a special permit to allow a waste transfer facility at the site on 500 Hubbard Ave. Casella Waste Management purchased the waste transfer facility on Hubbard Avenue from Community Eco Power LLC, which filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and has demolished it for redevelopment into a waste transfer station.

The owners say the trash will be brought to the facility and transferred away daily. Concerns that were voiced about the project include odor and impacts to the surrounding area but Casella says the new operation will be less of an impact than the former.

"I think this is going to be a vast improvement based upon the facility that was there previously. I know that sometimes you would get a sight of the other one, they used to dump the waste and it was laying like a floating pond," board member John Fitzgerald said.

"And since the trash is not going to be there, it's going to be in and out, I think the odor will be reduced and I think the vermin will be reduced."

It was also pointed out that the site has handled trash for 40 years.

"I think a lot of the odor before was related to burning," board member Esther Anderson "And there's not going to be burning so it it's going to be greatly reducing the amount of odor and if it's not sitting there is no place for vermin to be."

The former incinerator, including a 118-foot tall stack, has already been demolished a fabric structure is being used temporarily for waste handling.

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