Berkshire Funding Focus was established to support Berkshire County entities seeking federal and state funds for pandemic-related recovery and rebuilding and building organizational and sector capacity for the long term.
To support its goals with respect to its four key stakeholder groups – non-profits, municipalities, school districts, and entrepreneurs – Berkshire Funding Focus includes the following key functions:
Structure and organization.
We consolidate and organize information about available grants on a web-based platform with sections dedicated to nonprofits, municipalities, businesses, and public schools.
We identify and vet high-value funding opportunities, synthesize guidelines and applicant requirements, and make efforts to publicize these high-value opportunities to stakeholders through partners.
We offer regular training programs to help potential applicants develop grant writing skills, assess and build internal capacity to administer a federal grant, and develop systems for reporting and compliance responsibilities.
We provide technical assistance through consultations to help potential applicants determine whether their proposed project and capacities are in alignment with grant program requirements.
Berkshire Benchmarks: Indicators and Data
Berkshire Benchmarks provides insights in two different ways. Tracking indicators helps define what’s most important to communities across sectors, while following and highlighting improvements. Alongside those indicators, we source local, state, and national data, working to ensure it’s reliable for leaders, providers, and others who need it to inform their work.
Our Operating Principles
In serving the community, Berkshire Funding Focus and its steering committee will operate with these shared values:
Ensuring a “level playing field” for all as well as an equitable distribution of resources.
Actively engaging and ensuring access to information and support for all interested parties – especially those representing residents historically marginalized or excluded from funding processes.
Explaining and openly sharing processes related to applying, receiving, and reporting on federal stimulus grants.
Being impartial to all stakeholders in brokering access to information and funding sources, fostering collegiality over competitiveness, and protecting against any real or perceived favoritism or conflicts of interest.
Fostering inter-agency partnerships and collaborative proposals/applications, and learning together through knowledge-sharing and convening.
Providing complimentary technical assistance and administrative capacities to agencies around prospecting, grant writing and reporting, etc.
Adding strength and building capacities for organizations and sectors that yield sustainable benefits beyond grantmaking periods.
Berkshire Funding Focus is housed at Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, with close involvement and support from community partners. This “hub and spoke” model ensures involvement from each of our four core stakeholder audiences, working collaboratively to provide sector-specific coordination and technical assistance to support specific stakeholders with whom they have established relationships.
The Berkshire Funding Focus website is intentionally connected to the recently expanded Berkshire Benchmarks website, allowing grant applicants to access information on data and trends in the region while preparing applications.
Berkshire Funding Focus is staffed by a Recovery Grants Specialist and supported by consultant services, to ensure all audiences are connected with technical assistance appropriate to their needs – grant management, partnership building, organizational capacity, and ongoing support to address the needs and challenges specific to their size and scope.
Our Partners and Supporters
Roles and Oversight
The Berkshire Funding Focus steering committee will convene regularly to:
- Set goals and priorities in conjunction with staff and collaborating organizations
- Provide input on strategy development to staff and collaborating organizations
- Ensure core values of equity and transparency are embedded in strategy development
- Serve as an ambassador for initiative by connecting stakeholders to clearinghouse resources, helping communicate impact, and cultivating new relationships that can help advance initiative goals, strategies, and funding sources
- Monitor and oversee progress toward clearinghouse goals
- Determine if clearinghouse functions should be sustained after the initial implementation period, and develop a plan based on that decision for the next phase of work or to unwind operations
- Be responsive to requests for assistance, guidance, and input from staff and collaborating organizations