Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Let’s Get To Work

In 2015, over 46,000 Berkshire County residents worked less than full time or did not work.*

While connecting families to income boosting benefits such as SNAP, Transitional Assistance and Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) is important in the short term, our belief is that we need to move from short term program interventions to long term, systems strategies that result in increased income and assets gained from employment.  This also supports the workforce development needs we have in our community.

On June 12, 2017, Berkshire United Way took action by engaging the Tamarack Institute to host a Let’s Get To Work: Building a Pathway to Sustainable Incomes Collective Impact workshop.

The 53 individuals in attendance represented a variety of sectors, including corporations, non-profit organizations, education, government, and community members with lived experience.  An overview of local data was presented to attendees and priorities for building employment pathways to economic prosperity for all were identified during the workshop.

One of our strategies is to connect individuals to career pathways so that they can obtain, retain, and advance in their jobs. Next steps include further mapping our existing assets and gaps and engaging directly with employers and potential employees.

We invite you to contact us at or give us a call at 413.442.6948, if you are interested in sharing your time and talent in creating economic prosperity for all.

Program Manager, Community Impact

*16-64 year olds, based on American Community Survey (ACS)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

S.A.Y.-ing It Proud

On Wednesday, May 24, I had the privilege of presenting S.A.Y. It Proud (Supporting and Acknowledging Youth) awards to five amazing students from Reid Middle School. A second ceremony, recognizing two outstanding young members of our community took place during the Gather-In on Saturday, July 22. 

Pittsfield Prevention Partnership Coordinator Rich Johnson and Principal Linda Whitacre pose with Say It Proud Award winners Caitlyn Mayhew, Kileigh McGann, Gianna Arace, Ellianna Christopher,
and Ben Vengalil.

S.A.Y. It Proud is a campaign, which unites young people, parents and community leaders in recognizing youth for their positive contributions to our community and for making healthy choices.

The S.A.Y. It Proud campaign is just one of many strategies used by Pittsfield Prevention Partnership to prevent youth substance use. To nominate a youth for a S.A.Y It Proud award, simply email or call 413-442-6948.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Coordinator of Pittsfield Prevention Partnership

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Let's Talk About Words

Words are important!  In school and in life, much of learning happens through language.  Whether listening to a teacher’s instructions, reading a book or sharing experiences at the dinner table, words will be key to children’s growth and development.  That’s why a rich vocabulary is essential to success in school and beyond! 

Thanks to our community partnerships and volunteers, we are growing a community of young word learners. Here’s how: Words are best learned in hands-on ways, in the places where they are used. The Word Project is helping our community partners to join parents, caregivers and young children in building the vocabulary and experiences that will prepare them for kindergarten!

This month, employees at Carr Hardware on Main Street in Great Barrington, have become Word Coaches.  They are ready for young children to bring their Word Cards to Carr, search for and learn all about TOOLS, then receive a sticker of a tool at the check-out counter for their card.  Together, we can all have a long lasting, far reaching impact on our youngest community members.  To learn about becoming a Word Coach wherever you go, watch this short video and visit our website for the next location kick-off date!

South County Community Liaison

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Who is Duffy?

My name is Duffy Judge and I am excited to introduce myself as the new Development Manager here at Berkshire United Way (BUW). One of my primary responsibilities is to provide support to over 150 Workplace Campaigns that take place at our corporate and business partner locations throughout central and southern Berkshire County. 

These campaigns, which serve as the lifeblood of our organization, play a crucial role in fulfilling our mission of building a stronger community together.  The monies raised support children and families here in the Berkshires from cradle-to career—promoting early childhood literacy and development, giving youth the tools they need to make healthy decisions, and helping families become financially stable.

I am a native of Williamstown, MA and currently reside there with my wife, 2 children and 2 Labrador Retrievers.  I have professional experience as a college administrator, insurance agent and golf pro and I am very energized by this new opportunity at BUW.  I’ve volunteered on many non-profit boards in the past and the prospect of being involved day to day in the effort to spur lasting and meaningful change in Berkshire County is something I consider a privilege.

I look forward to meeting many of you during the 2017 campaign, and thank you all for your support of Berkshire United Way.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Welcome to the official blog of Berkshire United Way!  This is where you will find the latest updates on our countywide initiatives, with content written by the very people behind them.

Berkshire United Way staff gathers for a photo opportunity
at their annual retreat in July, 2017.
Working throughout Berkshire County, from the Vermont border down to the Connecticut line, Berkshire United Way goes beyond temporary fixes to create lasting change in our community.  We bring people and organizations together to find innovative solutions.  We focus on supporting children and families from cradle-to-career, providing early education opportunities so children enter school ready to learn, giving youth the tools they need to make healthy decisions and helping families become financially stable.  Our vision is for Berkshire County to become a dynamic, engaged community with opportunities for all. 

We invite you to visit our blog regularly to learn more about our goals and collaborative efforts. Better yet, enter your email address below to subscribe via email and you’ll never miss an update!

Thank you for visiting.  We look forward to building a stronger community together.

Coordinator of Marketing and Communications