November 2015 Freeman Flash

There’s all sorts of exciting news in this month’s Freeman Flash.  Click on the image below for updates on:

  • Berkshire Medical Center is now a “SANE site”!  This is huge news.  Find out what it means for Berkshire County and how you can help
  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visits Elizabeth Freeman Center
  • EFC is hiring a Shelter Children’s Advocate
  • how – and why – we marked October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month this year
  • and more.

November Freeman Flash, page 1

iBerkshires, Oct. 23: Berkshire Bank Foundation awards grant to Elizabeth Freeman Center

Berkshire Bank Foundation Awards More Than $200,000 To County Nonprofits

Berkshire Bank

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Berkshire Bank Foundation has awarded $202,416 in grants and pledges to 41 non-profit organizations in Berkshire County during its third quarter grants cycle.

Some of the organizations receiving support include the Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield Public Schools, Literacy Network of Southern Berkshire, The Christian Center, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Railroad Street Youth Project, the Dalton CRA and Construct Inc.

· Elizabeth Freeman Center based in Pittsfield  received a grant to support their annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event and Money School program.

“We are proud to support these non-profit organizations in the important work that they are doing to contribute to the economic and educational vitality of the communities that we serve,” Lori Gazzillo, vice president and Foundation director. said. “We are proud to play a small role in all of their efforts and look forward to working together to make our communities stronger.”

In addition to financial support, the XTEAM, the Bank’s nationally acclaimed Employee Volunteer Program, provides employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours. In 2014, over 70 percent of Berkshire Bank’s employees provided more than 40,000 hours of service to benefit community organizations across the bank’s service area. The volunteer program is another way for the bank to give back to the communities where it does business. In recognition of their work in the community, Berkshire Bank has received more than two dozen awards and accolades, most recently being named by the Boston Business Journal as one of Massachusetts Most Charitable Companies for the third consecutive year.

iBerkshires, Oct. 22: Verizon gives Hopeline grant to Elizabeth Freeman Center

Verizon’s Hopeline Program Protects Domestic Abuse Victims

By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff

Verizon Hopeline Program

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With today’s technology it can be pretty easy to track someone down. When it comes to domestic abuse victims, Verizon wants to make sure that isn’t the case.

Each year, Verizon donates boxes of secure cell phones to the Elizabeth Freeman Center to give to victims — getting them off the family plan and onto a secured line.

“The Hopeline gives us a safe phone to give folks so they can call for help or call for services,” Elizabeth Freeman Center Executive Director Janis Broderick.

“They really do save lives. We give out at least 100 phones per year.”

The phones given to the center is part of the company’s ‘Hopeline’ program. On Thursday, District Attorney David Capeless turned over hundreds of old cell phones to the company. Verizon will now recycle the parts and use the proceeds to send new phones and a cash donation to the Freeman Center. The new phones are all stocked with minutes and texts for victims to use.

We couldn’t do these grants or Hopeline phones without the community’s help,” said Verizon spokesman Mike Murphy. “Through the revenues we generate fro this program we can give grants to our partners.”

In its 10th year, Verizon gifted the Freeman Center a $5,000 check. Broderick says that’ll go to support the organization’s 24-hour emergency services. That response gives families whatever emergency needs the family has at the time. Broderick said the needs vary on a case by case basis.

“We’re confident our resources are being put to good use,” Murphy said.

The money is generated from Capeless’ collections in which hundreds of old cell phones are collected and shipped to the company. Capeless said the partnership among the three agencies isn’t just finances but the collection process sheds light on the problem of domestic abuse.

“It reminds them that this is an ongoing issue,” Capeless said.

He credited Verizon with putting in the effort to make it happen because “for Verizon this is not simply a public relations event” but a program requiring a significant amount of work.

“This is such a great program,” the district attorney said.

Broderick said the Elizabeth Freeman Center operates on a “bare bones” budget so it relies on community partners like Verizon and the district attorney’s office.

“I think our partnerships in Berkshire County make our work more effective,” she said.

October 2015 Freeman Flash

With the fall foliage comes our October Freeman Flash!  Curl up with some hot cider and click on the image below to catch up on all the latest:

  • one of our Money School graduates just launched a business
  • Walk a Mile was a whopping success
  • we welcome our new immigrant and refugee advocate, Ceci
  • seeking volunteers for our Holiday Project
  • standing with Planned Parenthood
  • updates on Berktoberfest, RiverBend Cafe’s purple smoothie campaign, Dalton Rotary Club’s backpack donations
  • and more!

October 2015 Freeman Flash, page 1