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Edward Noel and his daughter Kim, son Kirby and wife Judy in this provided photo.

BAAMS Receives $10K Donation from Noel Family

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies Inc. (BAAMS) has recently garnered significant support from the family of the late Edward J. Noel Jr. 

This backing came in the form of a $10,000 donation awarded in April, facilitated by Kirby Noel, son of the late North Adams educator, through NexPoint Philanthropies of Dallas, Texas, an auxiliary of the Dallas Foundation.

"We were thrilled and delighted, and it came as a pleasant shock that the Noel family would choose to donate that level of sponsorship. In the world of nonprofit arts education fundraising, we hear a lot of nos and our requests may even be ignored — so when you have a family take an avid interest in what your organization is doing, and give of their time, attention, they're curious about it, it's a real breath of fresh air," said BAAMS Director of Development and Communications Jane Forrestal.

Forrestal said BAAMS, a nonprofit music educational institution based in Western Gateway Heritage State Park, was not expecting such a donation. She said Noel and his wife, Judy, had attended many BAAMS events and were supporters of the academy.

After Noel passed away in September 2023, the family discussed making a contribution in his honor.

"At the time of Ed's passing, BAAMS was something Judy and Ed saw as a positive for thecCity and region, and had attended some of our events over the years, so they urged mourners to donate to BAAMS in his memory," Forrestal said. "It was astonishing to receive the support we did back then from so many people whose lives were touched by Ed Noel, from as far away as California, Georgia, Texas. We really had no idea they would continue this legacy of giving in this way."

Kirby Noel explained the motivation behind the gift. 

"This gift is made in memory of Ed Noel — always teacher and coach," he said. "He would do anything for anyone, at any time. He just wanted to help kids get better at whatever they were doing — math, baseball, basketball, rabbit care, building doll houses, etc. It didn't matter what it was, he just wanted to help."

Judy Noel added that her husband had a passion for working with young people and this sentiment fit with BAAMS' mission.  

"Eddie loved working with kids of all ages, and always just pushed them a little to get them to work harder towards their goal." she said. "The first time we heard the BAAMS group perform, we were just totally excited and so happy they would be staying in North Adams. We knew we would be back to listen to them often. BAAMS is a wonderful gift to North Adams and our surrounding area."

Kim Noel emphasized her father's dedication to shaping young futures. 

"My dad was at his happiest when he was having a positive impact on a young person's future," she said. "I know that he would be so happy to be a part of supporting BAAMS in its mission."

Richard Boulger, the executive director of BAAMS, expressed pride in the substantial backing received from the Noel family.

"We're proud to announce tremendous support from the family of Edward J. Noel Jr., who became 'Marquee' level supporters during the month of April," said Boulger. "None of these programs offered at BAAMS would be possible without generous support from private donors such as the Noels, and from grant-making organizations and businesses."

Forrestal added that the money will help continue to support BAAMS after-school instruction and monthly workshops. She added that the funding will also support the Summer Jazz Band Day Camp.

Tags: memorial donations,   music school,   

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North Adams Council OKs $49M Budget for Fiscal 2025

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday approved a $48,891,455 fiscal 2025 budget, up $1,481,385 or 3.12 percent over this year. 
The budget includes a school budget of $20,357,096, up $302,744 or 1.51 percent over this year. 
The major drivers are the general increases in the cost of supplies, utilities and insurance; a 2 percent cost of living raise for nonunion employees; upgrades in software and equipment; reclassifications of several positions and additional clerical staff. 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey provided the city budget, school budget, compensation and classification plan and capital improvement plan in a bound document with summaries and graphs explaining expenditures. 
Finance Committee members recommended the total to the full City Council, calling it "fiscally responsible."
Councilor Keith Bona, Finance chair, said committee members did raise objections or concerns during deliberations, particularly Councilor Andrew Fitch over the lack of a city planner and Councilor Ashley Shade over the need for more building maintenance. Shade voted against the public safety budget Tuesday over that issue.
"The majority did support each department recommending it to the council and again, there were some some minor changes between the draft budget and what's in front of us," he said. 
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