Quarterly Update
July 29, 2016
Martha Boschen Porter
The artist and philanthropist in an undated photo.

Every potter needs a kiln, every professional musician a tuxedo. These are basic requirements of the job. But for many artists, the costs to start - and keep - making art can be prohibitive.

Martha Boschen Porter understood this in her bones. An artist and photographer herself, Martha settled with her husband in Salisbury, Conn., in 1959 and lived there until her death five years ago last month. She lived a long and creative life, pursuing twin passions of creating her own work and helping other creative people thrive.

Through a private foundation she established, Martha began supporting artists in the Northwest Corner through individual grants for specific needs, in some 50 acts of generosity. 

In 2007, when she was 92, she turned to Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to help create a legacy that would survive her. She dissolved her foundation and established the Martha Boschen Porter Fund to support artists across the Berkshire Taconic region. 

When Martha died in 2011, the fund received a $1 million bequest from her estate. As a result, regional artists will have a powerful source of support for years to come. Read more
Fresh and Healthy Food for All
Photo: The Sylvia Center

This month, Berkshire Taconic launched Fresh and Healthy Food for All, a five-year, $750,000 initiative that aims to increase access to healthy food among low-income families and seniors in Columbia County, New York.

The initiative was developed after careful consultation with over 80 local community members involved in food-related industries across Columbia County - including farms, food pantries, distributors, food retailers, restauranteurs, community-based organizations, schools and county agencies. 

In its first year of grant funding for collaborative projects, the initiative awarded $75,000 to Hawthorne Valley Association to coordinate local and countywide cross-industry stakeholder networks that will identify areas of need in the food system and forge local solutions together. The Sylvia Center received $50,000 to expand its school-based healthy eating and cooking program, in Hudson and rural districts around the county, while an additional $25,000 will be made available for capacity-building support at food pantries and food banks serving the county's rural communities to help promote their engagement in the initiative. Read more
$10,000 Kapteyn Prize Awarded to William Fenton
Photo: The Hotchkiss School

William Fenton was selected to receive the eighth annual James C. Kapteyn Prize for his outstanding work as an instructor in physics and astronomy, coach and dorm head at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. The prize, which comes with a $10,000 award, was established to recognize high school teachers of exemplary character and integrity who have made a career commitment to teaching and who lead by example. This year, an additional grant of $2,000 will be awarded to the school in Fenton's honor.

"Bill has dedicated his life to serving his students," wrote Peter O'Neill, head of school, in a letter nominating Fenton for the award. "His passion and enthusiasm for all aspects of school life have made him an invaluable member of the Hotchkiss community." Read more
Berkshire Taconic Awards $1.6 Million in Summer Grants
Mass Audubon received 2016 grants from the Eagle and Janet's Fund and Lenox Education Enrichment Fund for its elementary school science programs. Photo: Mass Audubon

This summer, Berkshire Taconic distributed $430,378 in grants to individuals and nonprofits in the four-county region it serves and grants totaling over $1.1 million from donors with charitable funds at the foundation.

Funds with competitive grantmaking during this cycle include: Arts Fund for Region One; Fund for Williamstown; James C. Kapteyn Prize; James and Robert Hardman Fund; New World Fund; Northeast Dutchess Fund; Simple Gifts Fund; eight education enrichment funds; and BTCF's Fresh and Healthy Food for All Initiative (see above). 
Select grant recipients include: Volunteers in Medicine ($5,000) to provide care and interpretation services to immigrant patients; Wassaic Community Farm ($3,000) to support its low-income, accessible farm stand in Dover, NY; Walter B. Howard Elementary School ($1,767) for its Be the Book program; Berkshire County Regional Employment Board ($3,000) to provide training and summer work experience to young people in North Adams, Mass.; and 48 area students to participate in arts programs and sports camps here at home and around the world. 

A full list of regional grants can be found on our website. 
Helping Students Achieve Their College Dreams
Emma Adler (left), a recent graduate of Monument Mountain Regional High School, will attend University of Vermont's College of Agriculture & Life Sciences this fall. She received a scholarship from BTCF's C.M. Owens Scholarship Fund. Photo: The Berkshire Eagle
The generous donors that establish scholarships funds at Berkshire Taconic are committed to finding and funding the most promising students with the greatest financial need. This year, we awarded over 200 scholarships totaling $525,000 to young people with diverse interests who are passionate about continuing their education. View a full list of 2016 scholarship recipients
Save the Date: November 3 Seminar on Collective Impact with John Kania
The first to articulate the concept of collective impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (with Mark Kramer), John Kania will travel to our region on November 3 to lead a seminar on this powerful approach to tackling complex social problems.

You won't want to miss this event, which we're presenting in partnership with Berkshire United Way. Details and registration information to follow.
Quick Links
President's Message
In my April message, I wrote about the importance of leadership in creating social change and I shared several examples of exemplary and courageous leaders I've come across in my first months on the job.

I also shared my view on the role of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation as a leadership organization and how we - as a community of donors, nonprofits, volunteers and civic leaders - can harness our resources, relationships and the foundation's strong reputation to be a visible and effective catalyst for change in our region.

Berkshire Taconic has a track record of doing this through our efforts to address affordable housing and early childhood development. As you'll read in the Leadership Spotlight (left), our most recent initiative, in partnership with two anonymous donors, focuses on access to healthy food in Columbia County. We want to do more of this work in the future, given the opportunities to leverage our region's strengths and assets to address the critical issues facing our communities. 
This year and next, BTCF is building our capacity to be a more effective leadership organization. As a first step, we are conducting a community assessment to deepen our understanding of the issues, trends and the needs of our communities and residents. What we learn from the assessment will become a resource for our donors and nonprofits. It will also sharpen the foundation's strategic focus. Read more
Amy Clampitt Memorial Reading to Feature Billy Collins
Former U.S. poet-laureate Billy Collins will read selections of his work at the annual Amy Clampitt Memorial Reading on September 9 at the Mount at 5:00 p.m.

Called "the most popular poet in America" by the New York Times, Collins has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts and has published 15 collections of poetry while teaching at various universities across the country. He delivers his poetry at sold-out readings and regularly appears on NPR programs.

Collins will be the 20th poet to present at the Amy Clampitt Memorial Reading, an event that celebrates one of America's most distinguished poets. Selected as a MacArthur fellow in 1992, Clampitt used part of her award to purchase a house near Lenox, Mass., where she settled for a short time before cancer claimed her life in 1994. Her husband, Harold Korn, established the Amy Clampitt Fund in her memory, which provides poets and literary scholars a paid six- or twelve-month stay at her former residence, where they can focus exclusively on their work. [Listen to a 2014 NPR story on the Clampitt residency].

Learn more about Amy Clampitt and purchase tickets to the reading.
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Contact Us
Berkshire Taconic
Community Foundation

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

Investment Returns as of 6/30/16 

Q2 2016
YTD 2016
1-Year Return
3-Year Return
5-Year Return
7-Year Return
10-Year Return
Primary Managed Pool*
Managed Pool Benchmark
Socially Responsible Pool
Income Pool
Minimum Risk Pool
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's Managed Portfolio closed the second quarter with a gain of 1.6%, outpacing its benchmark and bringing the year-to-date return to 1.7%. Comparisons to the benchmark are favorable over all periods, including the trailing year ended June 30, 2016, during which the portfolio declined 70 basis points (bps) but outperformed the benchmark (-2.1%) by 140 bps. This indicates that manager performance offset downturns attributed to certain asset classes within the total asset allocation over the course of the year. Since inception in August 1999, the portfolio has generated an annualized return of 6.2%, outperforming a typical global blend of assets (65% MSCI AC World Index/35% Barclays Global Aggregate Index) by approximately 180 bps per year with substantially less volatility. Read more
*Total assets were just under $115 million at June 30, 2016, with a distribution of 58.5% global public equity, 6.2% global private equity, 23.4% flexible capital, 1.2% inflation hedging, 7.55% global fixed income and 3.15% 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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