Berkshire Nonprofit Awards Breakfast

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, in partnership with The Berkshire Eagle, has announced the names of the 21 finalists for the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards. The winners in each of seven categories will be announced at the first Berkshire Nonprofit Awards Breakfast on Tuesday, May 22, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Country Club of Pittsfield. Purchase tickets here.

“We received 62 nominations,” said Nonprofit Center Founder Liana Toscanini. “The breadth and quality of the nominations are impressive. There are people in the nonprofit sector who have dedicated 40 or more years of their lives to our community. Some volunteers put in over 500 or 1000 hours of service annually. Others step up in extraordinary circumstances to keep their organizations running. I’m glad we’ll be able to shine a light on some of these incredible individuals, their perseverance, and their accomplishments.”

Nominations were solicited throughout February and March. A team of 14 judges from the business sector reviewed and ranked the nominations, choosing the finalists and winners at a meeting yesterday at Berkshire Bank. The finalists are:

Executive Leadership
Gwendolyn Hampton-VanSant (Multicultural BRIDGE)
Kristine Hazzard (Berkshire United Way)
Carolyn Valli (Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity)

Board Leadership
Linda Conway (Berkshire Children & Families)
James Mahon (Berkshire Food Project)
Amy Rudnick (Flying Cloud Institute)

Super Staffer
Darlene Ellis (Berkshire Food Project)
Jesseca Williamson (Berkshire Museum)
June Wolfe (Construct Inc.)

Rising Star
Hye An “Harry” Park (Berkshire Museum)
Kathleen Toomey (Berkshire United Way)
Jay Weintraub and Mark Lefenfeld (Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires)

Amy Guachione (Berkshire Children & Families)
Gary Leveille (Great Barrington Historical Society)
Jean Ryan (Barrington Stage Company)

Unsung Hero
Kelly Akroman (Moments House)
Katie Clarke (Community Access to the Arts)
Maurice “Pops” Peterson

Lifetime Achievement
Francesca Cote (Brien Center)
Deborah Parkington (Elizabeth Freeman Center)
Carole Siegel

The NPC is currently seeking sponsors for this celebratory event. Learn more about sponsorship here. To date, major support comes from The Berkshire Eagle with additional support from Berkshire Bank as well as Adelson & Co., Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Feigenbaum Foundation, Lee Bank, NBT Bank, October Mountain Financial Advisors, Triplex/Beacon Cinemas, and United Personnel.

Tickets for the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards Breakfast are $40 per person. Please let us know exactly who will be attending from your organization! Purchase tickets here.

Founded in 2016, the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires serves as a clearinghouse for information, helping nonprofits connect, learn and grow. The NPC has over 80 members.

Many thanks to our hard-working judges! (BACK ROW Left to Right: Brian Drake/Mountain One Financial, Mike Stoddard/Greylock Federal Credit Union, Bruce Grinnell/Grinnell Partners LLC, Mary Nash/Nash Insights, June Roy Martin/Carr Hardware, Ellen House/Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Leigh Davis/The Berkshire Eagle, Lori Gazzillo/Berkshire Bank, Lauri Klefos/1Berkshire. FRONT ROW left to right: Jordan Wood/Guardian Life, Wendy Healey/Lee Bank, Abby Tovell/Pungl, Becky Cohen/North Adams City Council). Not shown: Don Kuczarski/TD Bank

Eligibility Criteria

Nominee must work or volunteer for a registered Berkshire County 501(c)(3).

Nominees must show evidence of the strength of their work across a broad range of criteria including: strategic thinking, thoughtful execution, support of the culture, growth and strength of the organization, supportive of the population the nonprofit serves, commitment to the community, embodies the mission and vision of the organization. Nominations should provide evidence of significant achievements at his/her organization.

Nominees Are Accepted in Seven Categories

A person can only be nominated in one category.

  1. Executive Leadership Award
    This award honors a nonprofit staff leader (CEO, Executive Director or member of the Executive Team) whose strategic vision, passion, innovation, perseverance, and integrity has led to a strong record of extraordinary organizational results.
  2. Board Leadership Award
    Given to a current or former member of the nonprofit’s board of directors who demonstrates commitment to prudent use of all assets, provides oversight for activities that advance effectiveness and sustainability, ensures compliance with applicable laws and ethical practices, and who serves on committees or task forces and offers to take on special assignments.
  3. Super Staffer Award
    This award is given to nonprofit staff member whose work has had significant impact on an organization. Recognized by peers for exhibiting a can-do attitude, demonstrating a high level of commitment and responsibility, and going above and beyond the job description.
  4. Rising Star Award
    The Rising Star award honors a relative newcomer to the Berkshire Nonprofit sector who has demonstrated the potential of making a significant impact on the community. This individual may be young, new to the Berkshire nonprofit sector, or part of a new nonprofit launched in the last 5 years. This individual has demonstrated remarkable talents at an early stage in their tenure, achieving outstanding accomplishments and significant impact.
  5. Volunteer Award
    Awarded to an individual who has a record of activities that have made a long-lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of people or communities. This award honors the volunteer who has shown outstanding dedication to a nonprofit or multiple nonprofit organizations whose programs serve the Berkshire County community. Active volunteerism can be ongoing or linked to a single project or cause.
  6. Unsung Hero Award
    This award honors the contribution of a nonprofit staff or volunteer member in any area of an organization whose good work has not been publicly recognized in the Berkshire community.
  7. Lifetime Achievement Award
    This award honors an individual who has dedicated his or her life to being a leader and role model. His or her influence has made an enduring and profound difference in his/her community and the lives of those around him/her. Recipients of this award strive toward the highest level of personal and professional accomplishment, excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for others to follow.

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