Quarterly Update
April 29, 2016
BTCF Scholars Become Leaders

With over 50 scholarship funds to choose from - each made possible by our generous donors - a record-breaking 265 high school seniors across the region applied for BTCF scholarships this year.
In coming weeks, dozens of committee members with strong ties to their local communities will convene to review these applications. In the meantime, we caught up with three 2015 scholarship recipients who are pursuing their college dreams.

Nicole Chaves
Pittsfield, MA
Read her story
Cristian Umana
Lakeville, CT
Read his story
Kiana Estime
Otis, MA
Read her story
Early Childhood Development 

Two-year-old Nevaeh Trong (above, far right) is making significant progress. She is gaining language skills and becoming more expressive. She is starting to enjoy books.

That's exactly what her mother, Sabrina Beagle (above, center), was hoping for when she enrolled in the Parent-Child Home Program at Community Health Programs, her local health center. 

Nevaeh and Sabrina are just two of dozens of participants in this intensive, two-year program funded by Berkshire Taconic that aims to increase school readiness among young children from families who face multiple obstacles to educational and economic success, such as poverty, low literacy, limited education and language barriers. Read more
Prevention Network Gets Grant for Anti-Drug Initiative
Staff of Housatonic Youth Service Bureau, a key partner in a new initiative to address drug use in the Northwest Corner.

While communities across the country grapple with the growing opioid epidemic, a promising effort to prevent substance use and misuse in young people is taking shape in Northwest Connecticut.

Berkshire Taconic's Northwest Corner Fund and the Foundation for Community Health are together investing in an evidence-based approach to substance abuse prevention that will mobilize the local coalition of school staff, health and human service providers, and community members known as the Northwest Corner Prevention Network. Read more
$1.8 Million Awarded to Local Nonprofits, Schools and Students
Hudson Opera House, a center for the arts that is undergoing extensive restoration, received funding for its hip-hop classes and Bindlestiff Family Cirkus workshops.

In our first cycle of 2016 grantmaking, Berkshire Taconic awarded $1.8 million in grants: $319,245 to individuals and nonprofits in the four-county region we serve, and grants totaling nearly $1.5 million from donors with charitable funds at the foundation.

Funds with competitive grantmaking during this cycle include: Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund/Youth World Awareness Program; Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund; Fund for Columbia County; Madeleine B. Wildes Fund; Margaret Derwin "Blue Sky" Scholarship Fund; Northwest Corner Fund; Quailwood Fund; Webutuck Quest for Excellence Fund; and six education enrichment funds.

Select grantees include: High and Mighty Therapeutic Riding and Driving Center ($1,920) to provide therapy for children in foster care; Geer Foundation ($1,000) to provide its Dial-a-Ride program in response to the growing need for transportation in Litchfield County; Lanesborough Elementary School ($400) to purchase drumming equipment; and Dover Middle School ($400) to support a science competition.

A full list of grants and grant recipients can be found at www.berkshiretaconic.org/springgrants.  

Quick Links
President's Message
Being new on the job, I have been focused on getting out into our communities - meeting people, listening and lots of learning, which I love. I've met so many engaged, visionary people with provocative ideas about how to strengthen this region and its people. 

Senator and two-term Governor of Maine Angus King once remarked that the single most important ingredient for building thriving communities is leadership: the ability to mobilize people and resources to achieve shared goals, to work collaboratively to seize opportunities and adapt in the face of changing conditions. This X factor makes positive things happen in communities. Read more
A Generous Act Forever Shapes Towns
Adams, Mass., has changed a lot since teacher and philanthropist Margery Barrett lived there. Yet through her generosity, the future of Adams, Cheshire and Savoy is a bright one. Board member and BCC President Ellen Kennedy reflects on this legacy in a recent Op-Ed. Read more
Upcoming Grant Deadlines
2016 Planned Giving Webinar Series
Negotiating Difficult Conversations
Thursday, May 26, 1-2:30 p.m.

Lead Trusts - What To Do And
Not To Do

Thursday, July 28, 1-2:30 p.m.

Bequests and Simple Bequest Alternatives
Thursday, November 17, 1-2:30 p.m.

Full descriptions of the webinar series can be found here

For questions or to RSVP, contact Director of Philanthropic Services
Jill Cancellieri.
Contact Us
Berkshire Taconic
Community Foundation

800 N Main Street, PO Box 400
Sheffield, MA 01257-0400
t: 413.229.0370
f: 413.229.0329

Investment Returns as of 3/31/16
1-Year Return
3-Year Return
5-Year Return
10-Year Return
Managed Pool*
- 1.4
Managed Pool Benchmark
- 2.4
Income Pool
Money Market
Socially Responsible Investment Pool
- 0.1
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's Managed Pool portfolio gained 0.1% in the first quarter of 2016, just below its policy benchmark but still showing strong performance above the benchmark over the long run. Endowment transfers required in the first quarter necessitated a larger than normal cash position that contributed to the variance, and a strong 3.9% return in March helped erase early losses in January and February.

Since inception in August 1999, the portfolio has generated an annualized return of 6.2%, outperforming a traditional global blend of assets (65% MSCI AC World Index/35% Barclays Global Aggregate Index) by approximately 180 basis points per year with substantially less volatility. The foundation's portfolio is highly diversified and is built for a variety of market conditions in an effort to generate long-term growth in excess of inflation and spending needs. Our investment committee remains committed to the long-term, strategic management of portfolio assets, making only modest adjustments to the asset allocation within board-approved ranges and selecting high-performing managers to maximize results.

In the past year, the committee has engaged four new private equity managers as it builds toward a 10% allocation in this asset class and as original investments begin to term out. They are: TA Associates, Warburg Pincus, Madison Dearborn and Cinven Partners. Over $6 million in total has been committed to this group in recent months. The foundation has also made its first investment in the Parnassus Core Equity Institutional Fund as it begins to shift some of its indexed holdings to active managers. Parnassus, a pioneer in the environmental, social and government (ESG) sphere with consistent high performance, received funding from both the managed and socially responsible pools. 

The portfolio is somewhat underweight in international equities and the committee has looked toward engaging managers, such as Causeway Global Value, that are operating on a more global scale. This will allow opportunities to be more readily identified by those working in both domestic and international environments until the international markets regain strength more broadly. 

The flexible capital - or hedge fund - segment continues to be a source of relative outperformance for Berkshire Taconic. Hedge funds in general, represented by the HFRI Fund Weighted Index, were negative for the trailing year (-5.1%) as compared with a gain of 0.1% for the foundation's managers. Relative to equity markets, hedge funds performed as expected, providing downside protection and helping to mute volatility.   

*Assets exceeded $112.6 million at March 31, 2016, and the portfolio distribution was 57.5% global public equity, 6.5% global private equity, 23.4% flexible capital, 1.2% inflation hedging, 7.5% global fixed income and 3.9% liquid capital. 

For more information on the foundation's investment performance and managers, please visit our website or contact Vice President for Finance and Administration A. J. Pietrantone by email or at 413.229.0370.
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