The Birth of the Nonprofit Center
The idea for the Nonprofit Center evolved over a period of ten years, sprouting from my involvement in the many small civic and nonprofit groups in Sandisfield. Every group needed help planning and implementing, promoting and publicizing, administering and pursuing community outreach. I thought if the need were this great in one community, a true full-time position could be created by serving a group of communities. I never moved forward with that idea, instead opening a retail store (but that’s another story), and then joining Community Access to the Arts as Development & Marketing Director.
After meetings with professionals from both the nonprofit and business worlds, a structure for the Nonprofit Center emerged. As a central clearing house for information and services for nonprofits, the Nonprofit Center has become a vital resource for the community. In its first year, the NPC launched a web site with a “resource” section, an educational workshop series, and a giving guide connecting nonprofits with community members wishing to get more involved. The NPC also fields calls for information and referrals, meets individually with nonprofits, coaches boards and management, and represents the Berkshires on the Board of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
In its second year, the NPC launched a benefits survey, a unique magazine for the Berkshire nonprofit sector called “Connections,” and a ListServe to facilitate cross-county communication. 2018 promises to be another exciting year of initiatives with more networking events, a nonprofit awards breakfast, and the creation of a philanthropy curriculum for the schools.
About Liana Toscanini
Liana Toscanini has lived in the Berkshires for 20 years. During that time she volunteered for several nonprofit organizations, started a few, consulted for some, served on many boards, and worked full-time for Community Access to the Arts. She has lectured on marketing for nonprofits, and is regularly approached for advice and assistance by small nonprofits and businesses of all kinds.
Prior to her longtime association with CATA, she owned and operated LT HOME, a retail linen & gift store in Great Barrington. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Marketing for Sure Fit Slipcovers in New York City for ten years. She also owned a marketing consulting practice, a menswear company, and worked in the cosmetics and publishing industries.
After relocating to the Berkshires from New York City in 1996, Liana became an active volunteer, helping to raise funds for restoration of the historic Sandisfield Arts Center building and winning a preservation award from the Commonwealth as well as placement on the National Register of Historic Places. She has edited town newsletters, chaired a local cultural council, and assisted the town of Sandisfield with park planning, a 250th town birthday celebration and history book. She currently serves on the Board of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. She was recognized as an Unsung Heroine in 2006 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
Liana’s passions include community building, historic restoration, place-making, and local government.
More about the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires
The mission of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires (NPC) is to facilitate growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable services, and creative collaborations.
The Berkshire region is home to hundreds of nonprofits and civic groups, some of which lack basic expertise in management, marketing, and fundraising, and many of which need extra help or specialized services from time to time. The Nonprofit Center assists nonprofits in several ways:
- Facilitates connections to resources: Just call (413) 645-3151 and we’ll connect you to the experts, web sites, collaborators, or services you need
- Offers affordable Technical Assistance in the form of coaching, referrals to specialists, and access to tools such as Grant Station and Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Fills gaps in the sector by producing a giving guide to connect donors and nonprofits, creating a magazine just for the sector, offering workshops led by local experts willing to share their knowledge, serving as the central clearing house for information, creating a ListServe to facilitate county-wide connections
- Works hard to make all services affordable for nonprofits. Membership Dues are low and member benefits provide a major return on investment including reduced fees on all products and services, free one hour consultation, unlimited referrals, one free workshop, social media support & more.
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