Berkshire United Way was founded in 1924 as the local Community Fund organization. Until 2008, it was structured as a federated fundraiser with member agencies. Funds were invested in local health and human service organizations because of their Berkshire United Way membership.
Today, Berkshire United Way invests in initiatives and programs based on a competitive grant process that targets specific community conditions and outcomes. The outcomes relate to those areas identified by the community as top priorities: education and employment. As a result, Berkshire United Way is making investments in programs in early education and care, family literacy, drop-out prevention, mentoring, support services for pregnant/parenting teens, youth substance abuse prevention, job skills/apprenticeships and financial literacy – just to name some examples.
And to ensure that a short-term safety net is in place for those in need, we continue to invest in the areas of emergency housing/shelter, elder intervention and nutrition and food pantry support. Outcomes are measured here as well to ensure that programs provide the needed support along with referrals to other critical services – all with the aim of assisting individuals and families toward self sufficiency.