Monday, July 30, 2018

An intern's insight

Hello!  My name is Charlotte Cahillane and I'm the summer Positive Youth Development Intern here at Berkshire United Way.

Charlotte poses for a photo opp in front of Berkshire United Way's South Street office in Pittsfield.

I grew up in Berkshire County, attending Lenox Public Schools from kindergarten until high school graduation in 2015. After leaving high school, and taking a semester off, I began studying at Middlebury College in Vermont. At school I study French and Global Health while volunteering and working. It’s been over a year and a half since I've spent more than two weeks in the Berkshires and I'm thrilled to be home!

When I was looking for internship positions for the summer months, I became interested in Berkshire United Way because of its commitment to build a dynamic, engaged community. Although I'm focusing on global health at school, I'm very interested in public and community health as well as community building. As a funding source for dozens of non-profits throughout the county, Berkshire United Way seemed a principal source of community-based activity. I particularly wanted to learn more about positive youth development, community health practices, LGBTQ support and community organizing, or the coordination of efforts by local residents to build a stronger community together, in Berkshire United Way’s work.

As a member of the team for the next couple months, I'm supporting several projects, including:

       Supporting the recent positive youth development resource fair where 14 organizations compared programming to determine how they could overlap and strengthen referral networks.
       Researching youth programs in the Berkshires, particularly those that support career or college readiness programs, to aid in a project that strive to connect these resources and promote college and career readiness.
       Overseeing the Humans of the Berkshires Facebook and Instagram pages – I love learning more about the aspirations of local youth.

There's a lot to do and only a few weeks to do it, but I'm glad to have this opportunity to learn and grow with Berkshire United Way!


When you volunteer through United Way, you’re joining 2.9 million people who are giving back so others can get ahead. Join our global community of game changers today! To learn more about volunteer opportunities through our Positive Youth Development Impact Council, please contact Kat Toomey, Coordinator of Positive Youth Development at or 413-442-6948 x15.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Driving Our Community Forward

In case you missed the Pittsfield Parade on the 4th of July, we have some BIG and exciting news for you!  Anyone who Drives Our Community Forward by participating in our 2018 campaign, will be entered into a drawing to win the three-year lease of a 2019 Ford F150 Supercab FTX.

This is the 19th year that The Johnson Dealerships and Greylock Federal Credit Union have generously sponsored the car truck promotion to encourage participation in Berkshire United Way's campaign. The money raised through the campaign impacts more than 15,000 lives in 32 communities throughout Berkshire County in ways that no single person, program or agency can do alone.

Be sure to look for the Berkshire United Way truck at various locations throughout the fall, and check it out. For more information on how you can Drive Our Community Forward, please visit our office at 200 South Street in Pittsfield or give us a call at 413.442.6948.

The actual drawing will take place on May 9, 2019 – make sure you save the date! One lucky winner will be driving this truck.

Development Manager

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Progress on the path to economic prosperity

Emerson works two jobs but is still not earning enough to put food on the table at every meal for herself and her two school-age children. She often has to make difficult decisions between paying for car repairs or purchasing an A/C unit for her asthmatic children. This is an all too common reality here in the Berkshires.

While progress is being made in moving working families out of poverty, there is still much work to be done. More families are low-income families and they are struggling to move into the middle class. In 2016, 28.2% of families in Berkshire County were low-income, up from 22.4% in 2015. The median household income also increased to $52,253 from $49,956 in 2015 – but that is still far below the median household income of $70,954 across the rest of our state. (Source: Berkshire Benchmarks)

This is where our Economic Prosperity Impact Council comes in. EPIC is a cross sector coalition of over 35 members representing 30 organizations. The coalition’s goal is to reduce the number of households with incomes under $75,000. Our dedicated EPIC volunteers are committed to getting more people to work. Our strategies are focused on refining hiring practices of employers, building the skills and talents of job seekers, improving college completion rates, and aligning social services to promote employment. In order to address these strategies, Berkshire United Way invests $105,000 in Berkshire County Regional Employment Board Berkshire recruiter program, and $75,000 in Lever, Inc’s Berkshire Business Interns.

Next steps for EPIC are to build on the opportunities for success, including working with local employers to refine their hiring practices to support employees and promote retention and aligning our existing training/certificate programs with the current job openings. We also need to keep an eye on areas where there are job growth opportunities, like manufacturing and health care.

We would love your input on what is and is not working related to your employment needs – whether you’re an employer with positions to fill or a job seeker who’s looking to add to their resume.

Please contact me via email at or give me a call at
413-442-6948 x32,
if you are interested in helping to build our community through this important work.

Program Manager, Community Impact