News

FOR RELEASE
November 10, 2017
Contact: Liana Toscanini
413 441-9542
GIVING GUIDE CONNECTS NONPROFITS TO DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS

GREAT BARRINGTON — The second edition of “Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires” will be distributed free throughout Berkshire County in November. Published by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires (NPC), the guide includes profiles of over 70 nonprofit organizations and a directory of nearly 1000 Berkshire nonprofits.

Five thousand copies of the guide are delivered to town halls, banks, libraries, businesses, schools, community centers, and popular gathering spots throughout the county. The “Giving Back” guide is made possible by The Dr. Robert C. & Tina Sohn Foundation and local business partners.

The publication is used in diverse ways to make connections between local charities and those who want to support them. Giving Circles pool money to donate and use the book to identify nonprofit recipients; Elder Services of Berkshire County uses the guide to place Federally funded senior employees in nonprofit organizations; Human Service agencies distribute copies to their outreach volunteers; schools and camps use the guide to facilitate community service and after school projects for students; individuals read the guide from cover to cover and use the information to engage in the community.

The “Giving Back” guide is viewable online, and copies may be ordered for the cost of postage and handling at npcberkshires.org.

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Pungl to Host Launch Event on October 5 to Introduce New Online Fundraising Platform

Housatonic-based company helps local organizations expand their opportunities for raising needed funds

Housatonic, MA September 13, 2017: Pungl, a brand-new marketplace that aims to transform online fundraising and charitable giving, invites area nonprofit managers, school administrators, town board members, and others who are interested or involved in charitable fundraising to a launch event on October 5 from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Hotel on North in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. One-on-one sessions will be held from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., with a presentation and Q&A to follow from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, will not only introduce Pungl’s concept to nonprofits, but will give them an up-close look at how they can use Pungl to reach beyond a local donor base to anyone in the country who shares similar values, and raise much-needed funds—plus spread the joy of giving.

Recent studies have found that many Americans, including millennials and young professionals, are no longer satisfied with material objects as gifts; instead, they want to leave their mark. Pungl connects donors with the charitable work that means the most to them, whether in their backyard or halfway across the world. They can use the Pungl marketplace to search for a variety of named giving opportunities, from arts and culture programming to projects that support services in a town or community, or causes that have global impact, like animal welfare and refugee aid. Donors purchase the gift for themselves, or to celebrate a friend or family member’s birthday, anniversary, personal accomplishment, or memory. The gift is named in honor of the donor or gift recipient, allowing them to not only help a worthy cause, but also leave a lasting legacy.

Pungl is the result of a brainstorm by 15-year-old Zachary Goffin, a native of Great Barrington and an avid athlete and eBay shopper. Zach attended the birthday party of a friend, who requested that partygoers not bring gifts. Shortly after, at a sporting event, he spied some bricks outside the stadium with donors’ names engraved on them, and had a lightbulb moment.

“The bricks reminded me of what these people are interested in and what they find meaningful,” Zach explains. “I thought there should be a place, like eBay, where you can shop for charitable gifts you can name after people—rather than things—and where browsing one item might lead you to another and another.” He suggested the name Pungl after a word for “giving” that he found while reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The concept was then refined and transformed into a new online-giving marketplace by Housatonic-based creative director Abby Tovell, who runs the company. “Pungl really can be a game changer for community-based organizations who need to raise funds, reach a broader audience, and create a broader network of partners,” she says. “Our marketplace levels the playing field for small nonprofits and organizations who might not have a large staff or budget to draw from in creating fundraising campaigns, but who want to harness the combined power of their own creative thinking and our innovative technology.”

About Pungl

Pungl, headquartered in the Berkshires, connects nonprofits and donors with the people, places, and pursuits they love through named-giving opportunities. Based on an innovative “double giving” model, Pungl is the world’s first marketplace for the buying and selling of unique gifts that celebrate actions, accomplishments, and milestones; that support meaningful causes; that inspire substantive conversation; and that give back to the donor or recipient. Because the projects featured on Pungl are accessible to people from a range of backgrounds and budgets, Pungl offers us all an equal opportunity to pay tribute to those we love and to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Pungl: where generosity meets joy. To learn more, visit www.pungl.com.

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FOR RELEASE
July 14, 2017
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires Opens “Satellite” Office Hours in Pittsfield and North Adams

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has partnered with Elder Services of Berkshire County and Massachusetts College of Liberal Art (MCLA) to offer office hours in Central and Northern Berkshire County, beginning in August.

On the second Friday of every month, the Nonprofit Center (NPC) will be on location at Elder Services at 877 South St. in Pittsfield, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. NPC founder Liana Toscanini will offer consultations free of charge by appointment. Toscanini is donating her time and Elder Services is donating space so that nonprofits in the Pittsfield area can gain access to NPC services more easily.

In North Adams, the NPC will take up residence the first Thursday of every month in MCLA’s Design Lab at 49 Main Street next to MCLAGallery 51, through December. According to Zachary Feury, project coordinator of the Feigenbaum MCLA Leads Initiative, the Nonprofit Center’s use of MCLA’s Design Lab as a satellite office is well-aligned with its purpose as a hub for community engagement.

“Liana Toscanini is offering valuable resources to the nonprofit sector in Berkshire County,” said Lisa Donovan, professor of Fine and Performing Arts at MCLA. “By making the services of the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires available in North County on a regular basis, she is providing new opportunities to build our regional capacity.”

Hours in the MCLA Design Lab are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by appointment. Nonprofits can stop by to discuss their needs, learn about available information and services, and make valuable connections.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (413) 441-9542.

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FOR RELEASE
July 11, 2017
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires Launches Magazine for Nonprofits

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires recently launched Connections, a new magazine for the nonprofit sector. Published bi-annually, Connections features nonprofit profiles, columns representing different voices in the community, and articles on topics of interest to nonprofits such as fundraising and marketing.

“The Berkshire nonprofit sector is huge and vibrant, with a big economic impact,” says Liana Toscanini, founder of the Nonprofit Center and publisher of Connections magazine. “We need our own publication to connect with each other and with the community that supports us.”

The magazine is edited by writer, Hannah Van Sickle, and designed by artist, Tina Sotis. “This first issue is focused on human services,” says Van Sickle who wrote all of the profiles. Organizations featured include Berkshire Food Project, Volunteers in Medicine, Moments House, Berkshire HorseWorks, and “new kid on the block,” Berkshire Baby Box.

The inaugural issue is free to the public thanks to the 40 advertisers who underwrote the production of the magazine. Readers can pick up a copy of the glossy, 48-page magazine at the Nonprofit Center on 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, and at various coffee shops and gathering spots throughout the county. The magazine can also be viewed online at npcberkshires.org.

Those wanting to order copies or a subscription can do so online as well. A single copy is $14.95 and a one-year subscription (2 issues) is $25. The next issue of Connections appears in January 2018.

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Nonprofit Awareness Day

On Monday, June 5, at the Massachusetts State House, hundreds of nonprofit and business leaders, along with elected officials, will celebrate the work of the nonprofit sector and raise awareness of causes throughout the state at MNN’s celebration of Nonprofit Awareness Day. Click here for more information: https://www.tfaforms.com/4605328

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Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Please sign if you oppose proposals that would politicize the charitable nonprofit and philanthropic community by repealing or weakening current federal tax law protections that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates. https://www.givevoice.org/community-letter-support-nonprofit-nonpartisanship

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Winter Newsletter

Learn more about the day-to-day work of the Nonprofit Center in the Winter 2016 Newsletter.

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FOR RELEASE
November 2016
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542
Cover artwork available
NONPROFIT CENTER OF THE BERKSHIRES PROVIDES GUIDE TO CHARITABLE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE BERKSHIRES

GREAT BARRINGTON – In this season of holiday giving and giving back, Berkshire County’s nonprofits are often the beneficiaries of our community’s generosity, providing the important funding that helps them carry out their mission all year long. Each of these organizations has a story to tell and specific ways those interested can make a gift or volunteer their time. Sharing that information with potential donors and supporters on behalf of all Berkshire County nonprofits is the goal of the new giving guide from the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires” is published by Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, a new organization founded by Liana Toscanini and committed to facilitating growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable products and services, and creative collaborations.

The 128-page Giving Back guide includes a directory of over 900 Berkshire nonprofits, profiles of 60 nonprofit organizations, and articles geared towards charities and donors. Five thousand copies of the guide are currently being distributed to real estate offices, town halls, banks, libraries, businesses, schools, community centers, and more throughout the county.

“I’ve been approached on many occasions by second home owners or people who haven’t lived here that long, asking for advice on where to volunteer or donate. They simply didn’t have the information they needed to make those decisions. I hope Giving Back helps make those connections for people,” says Toscanini, NCP’s founder.

Those interested can pick up a free copy at the Nonprofit Center’s office at 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington or at any number of locations throughout Berkshire County. The guide will also be made available online at npcberkshires.org.

Giving Back is made possible by the generous support of Sponsors Kate & Joel Millonzi, Dr. Robert C. & Tina Sohn Foundation, Qualprint, and many local business advertisers. For more information call (413) 645-3151 or visit npcberkshires.org.

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FOR RELEASE
August 17, 2016
Contact: Liana Toscanini
(413) 441-9542
Images of presenters available
NPC LAUNCHES FALL WORKSHOP SERIES FOR NONPROFITS

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is offering 6 practical workshops geared to nonprofits with topics ranging from grant writing to starting an endowment.

Nonprofit Center founder Liana Toscanini said, “We’re featuring local experts because in the end, it’s all about connections. Our teachers are not only sharing their knowledge but also their passion for helping nonprofits succeed.” Toscanini identified areas of interest to nonprofits and then sought out experienced leaders she felt would enjoy educating and connecting with nonprofits.

On September 7 and 14, grant writer Ruth Dinerman leads a workshop series focusing on foundations and crafting a strong grant proposal. On September 27, Mary Nash will educate participants in using surveys for program evaluation. Consultant, Laurie Werner, will present “Grant Funding for Arts & Culture Organizations” on October 5th. Lee Bank is sponsoring a “Lunch and Learn” on November 2nd on the topic of starting an endowment. Presenters include Lee Bank CEO Chuck Leach and Gary Schiff of October Mountain Financial Advisors. Ruth Pearce will lead a two-part series on November 15 and 29 on “Strengths Training for Nonprofits.”

Workshops take place in a variety of locations including Berkshire Community College’s Great Barrington facility, Lee Bank, and 1Berkshire. Most workshops are $25 for NPC members, $35 for non-members. For detailed information or to register for a workshop, visit npcberkshires.org.

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FOR RELEASE
June 22, 2016
Contact: Liana Toscanini/Executive Director
Cell: (413) 441-9542

NONPROFIT CENTER LAUNCHES PRACTICAL WORKSHOP SERIES

GREAT BARRINGTON – The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has launched a workshop series geared towards nonprofits. Each class features topical issues and a local presenter excited to share his or her expertise to help Berkshire nonprofits grow. The emphasis is on practical knowledge and hands-on assistance, with many presenters available to help beyond the workshop experience.

On June 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Berkshire Community College’s South County campus in Great Barrington Bill Tighe will present “HR for Nonprofits.”   Liana Toscanini, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center explained, “Many nonprofits have no staff with Human Resources experience. As a result, nonprofit employees often don’t have job descriptions, annual reviews, contracts, or written policies they can refer to. As an HR professional with 37 years of experience, Bill is happy to share best practices and tips for implementation.”

Other workshops scheduled through the fall include “Creating Your Narrative” led by Anastasia Stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine; Bringing a Product to Market featuring Jayne Church, former Buyer for the Red Lion Inn Boutique; “Intro to Grant Writing” led by Ruth Dinerman; “The Use of Surveys in Program Evaluation” taught by Mary Nash; and “Starting an Endowment: Lunch & Learn” led by Chuck Leach, President/CEO of Lee Bank.

Toscanini hopes to have local business sponsors for many of the workshops so that the fees for participation remain affordable, even for smaller nonprofits. Most workshops will cost $25 for Nonprofit Center members, and $35 for non-members. For more information, call (413) 645-3151 or visit npcberkshires.org.

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FOR RELEASE
June 15, 2016
Contact: Liana Toscanini/Executive Director
Cell: (413) 441-9542
NEW ORGANIZATION FORMED TO MEET NEEDS OF NONPROFITS
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires Focuses on Practical Solutions

GREAT BARRINGTON – Nonprofits seeking help with everything from marketing to fundraising, manpower and professional development can turn to a new entity called the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. Founded by Liana Toscanini, former Development & Marketing Director for Community Access to the Arts, the Nonprofit Center (NPC) is located at 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington.

The mission of the NPC is to facilitate growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable products and services, and creative collaborations. “Many nonprofits need assistance getting to the next level. I enjoy connecting people in our community and using my corporate and nonprofit background to help organizations grow,” explains Toscanini.

Initially, services include a practical workshop series featuring local experts and a Giving Guide publication to connect nonprofits to community members interested in getting involved and learning more about local organizations. Toscanini is also coordinating interns and volunteers to assist nonprofits with their work.

“The NPC is structured similarly to a chamber of commerce,” said Toscanini. Membership dues are affordable ($75 for nonprofits with annual revenue under $200,000), and benefits include discounts on all products and services as well as some freebies such as a one-hour consultation and one free workshop from the nonprofit workshop series.

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires is itself a nonprofit organization with a board of directors including: Betsy Andrus, Ronald Bernard, Maxine Carter-Lome, Rachel Louchen, Melissa Lydon, Matt Syrett, and Abbbie von Schlegell as well as an Advisory Board whose members include: Rich Aldrich, Anthony Blair, Alice Boyd, Brittany Brouker, John Katz, Joel Millonzi, J. Scott Rote, Barry Shapiro, and Richard Stanley.

For more information about the Nonprofit Center or to become a member call (413) 645-3151 or visit www.npcberkshires.org

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August 7, 2016
By Tony Dobrowolski for The Berkshire Eagle
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com
@TonyDobrow on Twitter
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires aims for shared growth among charitable groups

GREAT BARRINGTON — Liana Toscanini is a great-granddaughter of renowned Italian classical music conductor Arturo Toscanini.

But unlike that Toscanini, music isn’t this Toscanini’s forte.

“I like to say that I conduct business,” she said.

A transplanted New Yorker with 20 years of experience in the Berkshire nonprofit sector, the South County resident recently formed the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, an entity designed to facilitate growth for charitable organizations through shared resources, affordable services and creative collaborations.

Tosacanini’s organization joins 1Berkshire’s Nonprofit Business Network, formed in 2012, to provide services to the county’s nonprofit sector, which provides an economic impact of $2.2 billion to the Berkshire economy, according to a 2012 report released by the North Adams-based Center for Community Development.

Toscanini, who has served on many boards and worked full-time for the Great Barrington-based Community Access to the Arts, is still setting up her organization, which officially launched in June. The center is located at 40 Railroad St.

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has so far held three workshops featuring local speakers on subjects of interest to nonprofits. Toscanini is also compiling a 200-page “Giving Guide,” a periodical that will include profiles of Berkshire nonprofits ranked by category, “to make it easier for someone who wants to help or get involved,” she said.

Toscanini expects to release her guide, which she claims is the first of its kind in the Berkshires, this fall.

“I don’t know why anybody’s never done it,” she said.

Since relocating to the Berkshires from the New York City area in 1996, Toscanini has volunteered for several nonprofit organizations, including helping to raise funds for the restoration of the Sandisfield Arts Center building, which received a preservation award from the state.

She has also edited newsletters, chaired a local cultural council, assisted nonprofits with marketing, served on many boards, and owned a small business in Great Barrington. It was a “combination of things” that led Toscanini to form the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

“I’ve done so much volunteering that I became the go-to person for every little nonprofit,” Toscanini said. “One week four different people came up to me and asked me for help. So that was kind of the catalyst.

“I have a marketing background,” Toscanini said. She spent a decade as the vice president of marketing for a slipcover firm in New York City before coming to the Berkshires. “Helping people tell their story is something I’ve been doing for a long time. Around here the little guys certainly struggle getting the work out and some of the larger organizations, too.”

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshire currently has 15 members. “I haven’t actively solicited members yet,” she said.

The organization’s board of directors includes Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Betsy Andrus and local businessman Richard Stanley, who owns the Triplex and Beacon cinemas.

Membership fees are $75 annually for nonprofits with yearly revenues under $200,000; $125 for organizations with budgets between $250,000 and $750,000; and $195 for those with budgets over $750,000.

Membership is not required to attend a workshop — the cost is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers.

“The mission of the nonprofit center is to have affordable services,” she said.

For more information about the nonprofit center call 413 645-3151, or visit www.npcberkshires.org