Investing In What Can Be
At Berkshire Bank, we’re committed to investing in the success and vibrancy of our local communities. By providing financial support, it’s our goal to transform possibilities into a brighter reality for the people and places we serve. The following guidelines are intended to inform prospective applicants about the Foundation's mission, focus areas, priorities and application procedure. We invite your interest in our work, and welcome your participation and partnership.
The mission of the Bank’s charitable Foundation is to strengthen and improve the quality of life in communities served by Berkshire Bank and/or its affiliates. The Foundation prioritizes requests that fall within one of its focus areas outlined below, with a specific emphasis on programs that serve a majority of low-moderate income individuals and families or underrepresented groups.
- Programs that provide access to resources to become college, career and job ready to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.
- Programs that work to ensure children are reading at grade-level by grade three
- Programs that provide financial education to ensure individuals have the tools they need to overcome hardships and pursue their dreams
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
- Programs that work to ensure neighborhoods are safe, free of blight, and thriving places to work and live
- Programs that provide access to quality affordable housing options that meet the evolving needs of our communities
- Programs that promote and support small business growth and entrepreneurship
Within these focus areas, the Foundation gives priority to the following types of requests:
- Programs that build bridges of understanding and cooperation across cultures within communities
- Programs that ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and parity in access to information and resources for all
- Programs that support the economic, psychological and cultural adjustment of those who are new to our nation as they work to become active community participants
- Programs and projects that benefit more than 51% low-moderate income individuals
- Programs and projects that offer Berkshire Bank employees opportunities to be involved through volunteer efforts and board service
- Programs and projects with a demonstrated, tangible record of success
To be considered for grant funding organizations must:
- Be recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Organizations that are not 501©3 are not eligible.
- Apply for a program or project that meets one of the Foundation’s focus areas.
- Submit a completed Foundation Grant Application through our online system and provide such other documentation as may be requested. Berkshire Bank Foundation will not respond to written inquiries seeking financial support.
Be located in or primarily serve one of the following communities (and/or its affiliates):
- Berkshire County, MA
- Hampden County, MA
- Hampshire County, MA
- Franklin County, MA
- Worcester County, MA
- Middlesex County, MA
- Essex County, MA
- Suffolk County, MA
- Norfolk County, MA
- Albany County, NY
- Schenectady County, NY
- Saratoga County, NY
- Washington County, NY
- Columbia County, NY
- Warren County, NY
- Rensselaer County, NY
- Fulton County, NY
- Montgomery County, NY
- Onondaga County, NY
- Oneida County, NY
- Herkimer County, NY
- Hartford County, CT
- Tolland County, CT
- Bennington County, VT
- Rutland County, VT
- Windsor County, VT
- Mercer County, NJ
- Middlesex County, NJ
- Bucks County, PA
- Montgomery County, PA
INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS & REQUESTS
Berkshire Bank Foundation does not support the following types of organizations and requests, even if the applicant meets all other eligibility criteria outlined above:
Any organization that has received either a charitable grant OR bank sponsorship within the current calendar year is not eligible for another contribution until the following calendar year.
- Fraternal, labor and political organizations, including fraternal orders of police and firefighters
- Lobbying Groups
- Athletic teams or social groups
- Private Foundations
- Intermediary organizations that raise and distribute funds in their own name
- Annual memberships and annual appeals
- Fundraising events (e.g. golf tournaments, galas)
- Underwriting support for conferences or seminars
- Scholarship Programs/Funds
- General operating support
- National Health Organizations
- Capital Campaigns
- K-12 Public or Private Schools
- Public or Private Colleges & Universities
The Foundation has three deadlines for grant applications. These requests are due by the dates listed below. Decisions are made by Foundation staff with input from Regional Foundation Grant Committees. Large grants, although rare, may also require approval of the Foundation's Board of Directors. It is recommended to submit applications well in advance of the deadline so Foundation staff can reach out to discuss proposals further.
April 2 - May 30
July 2 - August 30
October 2 - November 30
Please note that after October 1st we do not accept any applications for our regular grant programs until the following year.
OTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Community Building Grants: Invitation Only
Community Building grants are proactive contributions identified by local business unit leaders and Foundation staff to support a variety of programs that may fall outside our defined funding strategy. These grants support local business and community objectives. Applications are by invitation only, and only a small pool of funds are available. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited inquiries for these funds.
Requests For Proposals (RFPs):
The Foundation will offer one or more Requests for Proposals (RFPs) throughout the year to address various issues in our community. Additional information on these opportunities including due dates and application criteria will be announced in advance.
Funding decisions are based on a variety of factors including available resources and the degree to which proposals meet Berkshire Bank Foundation's charitable giving focus areas. We also look closely at employee involvement when considering requests.
HOW TO APPLY
For your convenience, Berkshire Bank Foundation is excited to offer an online request process, which will help determine if you meet basic eligibility requirements and collect all the information that we need to make a timely decision.
The first time an organization applies to Berkshire Bank Foundation for support using this system they will be required to create a user name and password. This will allow organizations the enhanced functionality of being able to track past applications, funding decisions, complete follow up reports as well as monitor their submission. After your initial account is created, all subsequent times you visit the site you can simply login.
Our online application process has the following stages:
1. Page 1 Eligibility Quiz: Applicants are required to complete an eligibility quiz to determine if their request meets basic eligibility requirements for support from the Foundation.
2. Page 2 Organization Information: Applicants are required to complete basic organizational information including the official organization name, address, website, tax id number and provide information about the people your organization serves.
3. Page 3 Contact Information: Applicants are required to submit full contact information for the primary request contact as well as the President/CEO/Executive Director of the organization.
4. Page 4 Project/Program Information: Applicants are required to submit information about the program or project they are applying for including a brief program summary, budget, and other supporting information.
5. Page 5 Attachments: Applicants may be required to submit the following attachments as part of any funding request: 501c3 IRS determination letter, Line Item Project Budget, Latest Audit/Copy of Recent Financial Statements, and a Board of Directors List. Applicants also have the option of submitting other material that they feel may help Foundation staff in the review process. Attachments must be submitted in one of the following formats: .doc, .dox, or PDF.
IMPORTANT APPLICATION INFORMATION
Applicants will have the option to save and finish their work at any time. After completing the application and submitting it successfully, applicants will receive a thank you email sent to the address they provided.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly and notify applicants in the most efficient manner, Berkshire Bank Foundation uses electronic communications to notify applicants that their application was received, processed, and if it was ultimately approved or declined. The Foundation also requests that any correspondence or acknowledgement regarding grant funding be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
SAVED APPLICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS
To access a "saved" application, complete a grant requirement or to access your Grant Applicant Account please click here.