Berkshire Bank Foundation Grant

Berkshire Bank Foundation, Inc.


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Connecticut: Hartford County, Tolland County, Counties in Massachusetts: Berkshire County, Essex County, Franklin County Expand all

Location of residency: Counties in Connecticut: Hartford County, Tolland County, Counties in Massachusetts: Berkshire County, Essex County, Franklin County Expand all

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Overview:

Berkshire Bank Foundation, Inc.

Berkshire Bank’s charitable foundation is committed to making a difference in communities where Berkshire Bank does business through our philanthropic investments in a variety of non-profit organizations. Through our Foundation, we award $2 million to non-profit organizations across the bank's footprint each year. The following Guidelines are intended to inform prospective applicants about the Foundation's mission, focus areas, priorities and application procedure. We invite your interest in our work, and welcome your participation and partnership.

Mission

The mission of the bank's charitable Foundation is to strengthen and improve the quality of life in communities where Berkshire Bank or its affiliates have offices by supporting important programs that will enhance opportunities for children and adults. Berkshire Bank Foundation, Inc. provides support in the following geographic areas in cities & towns where Berkshire Bank or its affiliates have an office (see above counties). 

Grant Programs

The charitable Foundation offers four (4) grant programs, each with their own guidelines, programmatic criteria and desired outcomes. Only requests that fall within one of the grant programs and achieve one or more of the desired outcomes will be considered. 

1. Education

Our vision is that all individuals have access to resources to become college, career and job ready to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

Desired Outcomes:  

  • All children read at grade-level by grade three
  • All individuals have a basic understanding of their finances and have the tools they need to overcome hardships and pursue their dreams
  • All individuals have access to post-secondary education opportunities, professional training, skills development programs and real-world experience to pursue a successful career
  • All at-risk students have access to quality after-school and summer programs that enhance educational opportunities

To achieve these desired outcomes, we seek to support specific programs that address one or more of the following:

  • Reading Success: Programs that help provide access, engage students & families and ultimately change behaviors that result in increases in reading proficiency by the third grade
  • Financial Capabilities: Programs that empower individuals with tools, support and coaching to learn better money habits including the importance of building credit and understanding banking basics which will help lead to short & long term economic success
  • Job Readiness: Programs that provide soft and hard skill development coupled with opportunities for career exposure including service and community engagement opportunities, internships and apprenticeships
  • Workforce Development: Programs that provide training or retraining, including support services for individuals facing challenges entering or reentering the work force. Support services include career counseling, interview skills, resume-building, etc.
  • Student Support: Programs that connect youth to adult or peer mentors for structured soft and hard skill development or programs that provide additional tutoring/educational support after school or during the summer months

2. Community & Economic Development

Our vision is that all communities served by Berkshire Bank or its affiliates are strong thriving places to live, work, and raise a family.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Individuals have access to quality affordable housing options that meet the evolving needs of our communities
  • Individuals have access to quality supportive services that enable homeownership and address housing sustainability
  • Neighborhoods are safe, free of blight, welcoming and thriving 
  • Communities are prosperous and able to support small business growth and entrepreneurship

To achieve these desired outcomes, we seek to support specific programs that address one or more of the following:

  • Affordable Housing: Programs that preserve, construct and increase access to affordable housing including the creation of new single and multi-family units or programs that help homeowners remain in their homes
  • Homebuyer Education: Programs that provide housing counseling focused on the pre and post home purchase process as well as access to down payment assistance
  • Small Business: Programs that help create, expand and sustain small businesses including efforts to build capacity, access capital and create new jobs while encouraging entrepreneurship
  • Neighborhood Revitalization: Programs that support the rehabilitation of blighted properties, revitalization of low-income corridors, foster innovation through public/private partnerships that spur economic opportunity, encourage property owner improvements and incentivize private development
  • Economic Development: Programs that spur business growth, address community challenges such as population decline, attract, engage and retain qualified professionals and support key economic drivers.

3. Rotating RFP: 2017 Basic Needs

Each year our Foundation will extend an RFP to address a third issue area that impacts the communities where we live and work. In 2017, we’ll solicit proposals that address basic needs. Grants for this RFP will be up to a maximum of $2,500.

Basic Needs –Our vision is that all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and economic standing have access to food, shelter and basic health care.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Individuals have access to food are fed and no one goes hungry
  • Individuals have access to safe temporary or transitional housing
  • Individuals can address their basic health needs including mental health
  • Individuals facing addiction receive quality treatment
  • To achieve these desired outcomes, we seek to support specific programs that address one or more of the following:

Food Access: Programs that increase awareness and connect individuals facing food insecurity to available resources

  • Feeding Programs: Programs that provide free, nutritious meals or food to individuals in need including local food banks, feeding programs, soup kitchens and nutrition programs
  • Temporary Shelter: Programs that provide free short term emergency shelter to those in need
  • Transitional Housing: Programs that provide affordable housing that are not permanent and serve as a stepping stone to long term options for vulnerable individuals 
  • Quality Healthcare: Programs that provide basic quality healthcare services to low-income or homeless individuals including mental health
  • Addiction Treatment: Programs that provide counseling, supportive services and treatment to those battling addiction

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • To be considered for grant funding organizations must:
    • Be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 
    • Be located in or primarily provide service in a community where Berkshire Bank or its affiliates are located.
    • Apply for a program or project that meets one of the Foundation’s focus areas.
    • Submit a completed Foundation Grant Application through our online system and provide such other documentation as may be requested.

Preferences:

  • The Foundation looks to support requests that fall within one of its grant programs. In addition to achieving the desired outcomes associated with each program, the Foundation also gives priority to the following types of requests:
    • Programs and projects that benefit more than 51% low-moderate income individuals
    • Programs and projects that have Berkshire Bank employee and customer involvement
    • Programs and projects that offer Berkshire Bank employees opportunities to be involved through volunteer efforts and board service.
    • Programs and projects with a demonstrated, tangible records of success

Ineligibility:

  • Organizations that are not 501©3 are not eligible. 
  • The Foundation has the following limitations to their funding:
    • The Foundations will not consider more than one application per 12 month period from any single non-profit organization. 
    • Organizations that have received a charitable grant or corporate community sponsorship are not eligible for another donation for 12 months from the date on the award notice.
  • The foundations do not support the following types of organizations and requests even if an applicant meets all other eligibility criteria outlined above:
    • Fraternal, labor and political organizations, including fraternal orders of police and firefighters
    • Lobbying groups
    • Religious organizations
    • Private foundations
    • Intermediary organizations that raise and distribute funds in their own name
    • Annual memberships and annual appeals
    • Endowments
    • Underwriting support for conferences or seminars
    • Scholarship Programs/Funds
    • Camperships
    • National health related organizations
    • General operating support
    • Staff Costs/Internship Salaries
    • Individuals
    • Capital Campaigns
    • K-12 Public or Private Schools
    • Public or Private Colleges & Universities 


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