Berkshire Roots has a long history of supporting organizations within our communitiesacross Massachusetts, and beyond 

Check back as we regularly update this section. Scroll down to learn more about all our community activities and how you can participate. 

Berkshire Roots creates monthly charity spotlights through customer change roundups and roll-up programs, matching contributions, in-kind donation drives, and staff volunteers to participate with a wide variety of worthy groups, nonprofits, and community organizations. Learn more about unique educational, fellowship, and mentor programs we participate in such as CultivatED and our hands-on Cannabis practicum with Berkshire Community College.
Last-Prisoner-Project-logo

Sept. 2020, Oct. 2020, Sept. 2021

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 September Total: $ currently donating

2020 September/October= $9077.65

Last Prisoner Project

Berkshire Roots is beyond proud to be part of The Last Prisoner Project. We took part in the “Roll It Up for Justice” campaign in September and October of 2020 and are continuing to support the organization again in 2021. The Last Prisoner Project was formed by a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives, and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry. LPP was founded out of the belief that if anyone can profit and build wealth in the legal cannabis industry, those individuals must also work to release and rebuild the lives of those who have suffered from cannabis criminalization. ⁠⠀
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During thmonth of September and October 2020, we asked our customers to round up their change at check out or roll it up. We at Berkshire Roots matched the first $2,500 donated by our customers for a total of $9,077.65

We are continuing to support The Last Prisoner Project in September 2021 for both our Pittsfield and East Boston locations. Round up your change at checkout for The Last Prisoner Project.

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August Donation Spotlight - Pittsfield

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 August Total: $10,907.63

2020 September $4597

Elizabeth Freeman Center

Register Round-up & Matching Contributions for the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

This month we are rounding up for the Elizabeth Freeman Center’s Rise Together for Safety and Justice Fundraiser. For the past ten years, the Elizabeth Freeman Center (EFC) organized an annual campaign the third Thursday of September called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” This grew to be one of their biggest events, both in fundraising and in friend-raising, to build a community movement to end domestic, dating, and sexual violence. In 2019 and 2020, Berkshire Roots participated in the Elizabeth Freeman Center’s Walk-A-Mile fundraiser to help those affected by domestic and sexual violence. 

Moving forward, the Elizabeth Freeman Center created a new event that best represents their values and our community. They are launching “Rise Together for Safety and Justice! These last 18 months in the pandemic have been difficult, but we Rise Together, as a community because all of us deserve safety and justice. This will be our 3rd year in a row participating in the Elizabeth Freeman Center’s Fundraisers.

We are encouraging donations in-store and by rounding up at the register or donating online to our Berkshire Roots team by clicking here: https://www.pledgereg.com/3975/t/berkshireroots 

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August Donation Spotlight - East Boston

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 August Total: $6,709.75

SquashBusters

Register Round-up & Matching Contributions for SquashBusters

This month’s Community Spotlight in Boston is, SqashBusters which challenges and nurture’s urban youth (Students, AthletesCitizens) so that they can recognize and fulfill their greatest potential in life. Since inception, SquashBusters has served more than 1000 urban youth and has grown its impact to reach young people in Boston, Lawrence and Providence. 

Founded in 1996 by former squash professional Greg Zaff, SquashBusters set out to connect two seemingly different worlds by introducing the sport of squash to young people in urban public schools. By connecting these worlds, SquashBusters provides young people with a bridge to college success, broadens their access to opportunities, and improves their health and fitness. 

More than twenty years later, SquashBusters has developed a replicable model for changing the lives of young people. There are now urban squash programs in more than 20 cities worldwide, including New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oakland, Cleveland, Johannesburg and Toronto. These programs collectively serve 2,500 young people all over the world with the guidance of the Squash and Education Alliance (SEA). 

One of Berkshire Roots core philosophies is giving back to the community that supports us and that is just what we did in Boston even before our dispensary was open to the public! Chanler Hospot, a 25-year-old Boston resident was slated to run the Boston Marathon in April 2020. She was running and raising money on behalf of a special organization in the Boston area, SquashBusters. Berkshire Roots was happy to assist in her goal of not only raising awareness but raising money for the organization. Berkshire Roots Boston is proud to announce that we donated $1,500 to Squash Busters! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the Boston Marathon was canceled and Chanler was unable to run, but she successfully raised $7,100 for SquashBusters! Go Chanler! 

Facebook  ~Instagram   

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July Donation Spotlight - Pittsfield

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 July Total: $5,311.00

Barrington Stage

Barrington Stage Company (BSC) is a not-for-profit professional theatre company in the Berkshires (MA) with a three-fold mission: to produce top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to engage our community with vibrant, inclusive educational outreach programs.  

This month our Spotlight will be directed toward the Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP) - which is a theatre program for youth who have stories and things today but may not otherwise see theater as an option. Stipend is paid to those who participate and groups meet once a week from October – April. No experience is necessary, and each group creates and performs and original play based on stories and experiences from their own lives.  

BSC attracts over 60,000 patrons annually and has gained national recognition for its superior-quality productions and comprehensive educational programming, including the award-winning Playwright Mentoring Project, the Musical Theatre Conservatory, Youth Theatre, KidsAct! and other initiatives. The company has become integral to the economic revitalization of downtown Pittsfield. The theatre’s prominence grew with the world premiere of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (BSC 2004; Broadway 2005-2008, winner of two Tony Awards). BSC develops and commissions new work with two programs: PlayWorks, which supports the creation of new plays, and the Musical Theatre Lab, which develops new musicals. Since 1995, BSC has produced 36 new works, 19 of which have moved to New York and major US regional theatres.

Facebook  ~Instagram   

HarborKeepers Organization

July Donation Spotlight - East Boston

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 July Total: $4.605.00

HarborKeepers

This month we are rounding up for the Harborkeepers organization, with local residents, community members, and leaders at the core, who all have the same mission, coastal resiliency, and environmental stewardship. Focusing on ways to bring awareness, education, and understanding of the best programs and everyday interactions and engagements that can ensure environment protection and infrastructure of the island community from increasing climate and environmental impacts.  

Through programs like Vision Chelsea Creek, Education Partnerships; including Climate NaTURE, after-school programs as well as targeted events, the organization spreads awareness. Their Stewardship program, Resilience Programs, and Preparedness initiatives covering multiple resources for the community to put into place, with many tactics to support the neighborhood and create infrastructure for a better future. Check out the site for more information about Harborkeepers and all they do to protect East Boston's coastline, shorelines, waterways, and harbors. 

Thank you for helping us to support this great organization.

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Speak Out Organizations

June Donation Spotlight -  East Boston

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 June Total: $4,803

Speak Out Boston

The nation’s oldest LGBTQIA speaker's bureau was created in 1972, this small non-profit relies on the hard work and dedication of the staff, board of directors, speakers, and other volunteers to keep them driving.  

SpeakOUT Boston provides peer-led training programs to prepare community members to tell their personal stories to create positive and social changes. Through the development of speaking training, program development, and community outreaching, SpeakOUT is working to create a world free of prejudice by telling personal stories. 

Thank you for taking the time to read more about SpeakOut and consider rounding up at your next transaction. Connect on Facebook as well to provide more social support. Thank you. 

Facebook  Meetup   

Berkshire Pride Logo

June Donation Spotlight - Pittsfield

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 June Total: $4,701

Berkshire Pride

Berkshire Pride is a community alliance, created in 2017, Berkshire Pride welcomes over 1,000 members of the LGBTQ+ community and supporters every June to come together and celebrate unityacceptance, and inclusion 

 “Berkshire Pride is a freeform project with the goal of providing a platform for individuals and community organizations who want to make the Berkshires an even better, more inclusive, and more welcoming place to visit and live for all people. Berkshire Pride is not meant as a replacement or additional organization. It is a launching point where already existing and new organizations can come together with non-affiliated community organizers and work together." 

Comprised of individuals who represent diverse organizations and projects, through education, empowering, enhancing equity, and engaging the LGBTQ+ community. 

We thank you for your register round-up and for embracing all. 

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Aspire Asian sisters participating in reaching excellence

May Donation Spotlight - East Boston

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 May Total: $4,900

Aspire

This month is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, in East Boston we are spotlighting the Boston-based nonprofit ASPIRE. Founded in 2001 and entirely run by volunteers whose goal is to support the professional personal growth of Asian American Women. Their mission “to build and empower a community of Asian American women leaders through identity development, mentorship and education.”  Learn more about this organization, how to get involved, and connect on social media as well. Thank you for supporting this organization through our register round-up and connecting directly online. Check back to see at the end of the month what the total tally is. Thank you all again. 

Facebook  Instagram   

Garbage Trail Walk for Huntington's Disease

May Donation Spotlight - Pittsfield

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 May Total: $5,116

Garbage Trail Walk - End Huntington’s Disease

This month is Huntington's Disease (HD) Awareness month, we are spotlighting the Garbage Trail Walk, a local non-profit that began 20 years to support those affected by Huntington's Disease. Every May folks gather to walk the 6 miles of the Garbage Trail which connects the key sites in Arlo Guthrie’s “Alices’ Restaurant Massacree” s song. Supporters receive pledges to help fund other charities that care for HD families as well as a MA-based research foundation that works to advance science in the quest for a cure.  

Read more from Lisa Guthrie hereSupport this month by rounding up at the register. Due to Covid, there will not be an in-person walk this year like the Facebook page to stay up to date and learn more. Thank you for your continued support of our monthly donation Spotlights. 

Roots

April Donation Spotlight - Pittsfield

Register Round-Up & Matching

2021 April Total $4875

Roots Rising

Register Round-up & Matching Contributions

2021 March Participation  Total $4875

  • PF register round-up $4125
  • BR contribution $2500

In April we spotlighted the amazing group Roots Rising, a local Berkshire organization that does so much to enrich the community. Some of their initiatives include the Youth Crews program which hires Pittsfield teens to work on farms and in food pantries throughout the region as well as their very own farmer's market. Providing a fantastic opportunity to not only gain more experience and refine skills but doing so through meaningful work.  

The Pittsfield Farmers Market, founded in 2013 is the first teen-run market in the region, from operations, vendor relations to activities and customer service, the team does it all. Visit the Farmers Market Saturdays and learn more online about social distancing and guidance. Roots Rising also run several food injustice initiatives to make the market more affordable to all – including Market Match which doubles the value of senior benefitsSNAP and WIC 

We thank you for your support!

Boston Women's Fund Logo

April Donation Spotlight - Boston

2021 April Participation Total $4875 

2021 March Participation  Total $4875

  • EB register round-up $4125
  • BR contribution $750

In April we spotlighted the Boston Women’s Fund. Founded in 1984 by a progressive group of women, Boston Women’s Fund (BWFhas provided over $6.3 million to over 335 grassroots organizations to focus on marginalized women in girls in the pursuit of racial, social, and economic Justice. One of the oldest women’s foundations and the first in Massachusetts, the mission, seeking grants especially for low-income women and women of color.  

Research has shown that national funding for women and girls among traditional foundations and public institutions is less than 7.5% of grants awarded.* 

" We believe that change begins with women and girls in their own communities and that with the necessary resources these women and girls are able to implement their ideas. We believe that women and girls can and must be leaders within all movements if the progressive change is to occur. 

*Women’s Funding Network, Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The Role of Women’s Funds, 2009. Washington, D.C., Foundation Center. 

Where arts and activism meet - Wam Theater logo

March 2021 Donation Spotlight - Pittsfield

2021 March - $5880

Register Round-up & Matching Contributions

2021 March Participation  Total $5880

  • PF register round-up $4380
  • BR contribution $1500

WAM Theatre

In March, Berkshire Roots was supporting WAM, which is the first time we have worked with the organization during this year's National women's month. WAM stands for ‘Where Arts and Activism Meet’. Through our monthly spotlight and register round-up at our Pittsfield location as well as our matching contributions, we were able to bring not only more awareness to the group but much-needed funds. 

Learn more about WAM and upcoming virtual events by clicking here.  

“WAM’s vision is to create opportunity for women and girls, and we do that through our mission of theatre as philanthropy. As we grow, we realize that we are also a civic institution that creates theatre for gender equity. As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is ongoing personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board.” 

East Boston Main Streets logo

March 2021 Donation Spotlight - Boston

2021 March - $4195

2021 March Participation  Total $4195

  • EB register round-up $3695
  • BR contribution $500

East Boston Main Streets (EBMS) - Eastie Strong

East Boston Main Streets is a wonderful neighborhood organization we are proud to support. Lead by executor director Gladys Oliveros and supported by a volunteer Board of Directors, the organization is committed to fostering inclusion, growth, and the well-being of the small business community and residents of East Boston.  

They do this through several services: 

  • Providing technical assistance, workshops, and one-on-one support 
  • Keeping the neighborhood beautiful through storefront renovations, signage improvements, and community clean-up events 
  • Bringing the community together and promoting East Boston’s businesses through local events 
  • Advocating for policies that support East Boston business owners and residents 

 

Eastie Strong was a program created to support businesses like restaurants and others who have been through the immediate shocks of the pandemic and focuses on jumpstarting the East Boston economy. 

  •  Adopt A Patio –provides direct funds for restaurants for patio furniture, umbrellas, heaters, and other items required to adapt and reopen 
Multicultural bridge-logo-

February Donation Spotlight

2021 February = $7755

2020 February = $2000

Register Round-up & Matching Contributions

2021 February Total $ 7755

  • EB register round-up $2697
  • PF register round-up $4058
  • BR contribution $1000

2020 February

  • BR contribution $2000

Multicultural Bridge

This past February as well as 2020choose to spotlight the grassroots run, Berkshire local, Multicultural BRIDGE. Through our monthly spotlight and matching contributions, we were able to raise over $7000 dollars! Thank you to everyone who round-up at the register to participate!  

Multicultural BRIDGE is a minority, and women, non-profit supporting, Criminal Justice Reform through financial assistance to individuals who do not have the money to cover legal expenses. Certified competencies include training, education, language access, and multicultural awareness. 

Founded in 2007BRIDGE (dba Multicultural BRIDGE) acts as a catalyst for change, through collaboration, education, training, dialogue, fellowship, and advocacy. Dedicated to advancing equity and justice reform, by promoting cultural competence, positive psychology, and mutual understanding and acceptance. 

Thank you again to everyone who participated!  

NAACP

January Donation Spotlight

2021 January = $6737
2020 June = $5000

2021 January Total $ 6737

  • EB register round-up $2737
  • BR contribution $4000

2020 June $5000

  • BR contribution

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People  (NAACP)

This past January and in prior years, we have been in support of the NACCP and restorative justice and through register round-up donations and matching contributions. Justice Reform provides financial assistance to individuals who do not have the money to cover legal expenses regarding their defense of criminal justice issues. Through our donations, we intend to help the NAACP take action with an intentional focus on the NAACP “game changers” in order to build community at their local chapters in both the Berkshires and Boston. 

  • Economic sustainability  
  • Education  
  • Health  
  • Public safety and criminal justice  
  • Voting rights and political representation  
  • Expanded youth and young adult engagement  
  • Climate justice  
  • Housing 

Advocate/defend/protect the equality of rights for all persons in the Berkshires Area. 

Advocate for progressive change through collection of data, dissemination. of information, influencing policy, and being timely in our response to major issues of injustice in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and the country.  

Support and advocate for individuals who experience specific incidents of discrimination.  

Advocate that systems, structures, and policies be in place to help create equal opportunity for all persons by using legal instruments, written and verbal advocacy, moral authority, and direct action when necessary, to challenge those in positions of power in the community. 

Berskshire Community Action

December Donation Spotlight

2020 December= $2097

Register Round-up Total = $2,097.55 

2020 Participation 

Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC)

The Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC) incorporated in 1966 as a non-profit human service organization was designated the anti-poverty Community Action Agency for Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The administrative office is located at 1531 East Street, Pittsfield, with a satellite office at 85 Main Street, North Adams. The role of BCAC is to assist low-income residents of Berkshire County towards achieving sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Berkshire Roots sponsored a winter clothing drive to support BCAC’s “Elf Warm Clothing Program”. The BCAC Warm Winter Clothing Program provides children age 12 and under with brand-new warm coats, boots, hats, mittens, and scarves. This year more than ever they needed extra help. In 2019, the BCAC served over 2,000 children in the Berkshires and it’s all thanks to the community coming together. Thank you for your Register Round Up funds that helped us raise money to purchase winter clothing for the families we have sponsored.

Berkshire Roots team volunteer at 2020 Thanksgiving Angels turkey drive.

November Donation Spotlight

Register Round-up, Matching Contributions, Volunteering at Drive

Participation

2020 November $3505

2019 November

Thanksgiving Angels

At the beginning of November 2019, we started a new annual tradition here at Berkshire Roots. We like to assist this local Pittsfield organization, supporting families with much-needed meals and volunteered for this year’s Thanksgiving Angels food drive as well as round-up at the register. 

November 23, 2020, marked the ninth annual “Thanksgiving Angels” community days of sharing in Pittsfield. Sponsored by a collaboration of 19 food pantries, organizations, and faith communities, Thanksgiving Angels addresses local food insufficiency by providing more than 1,450 families with uncooked turkeys and the fixings to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving meal in their own homes. Last year, more than 350 volunteers assisted with the distributions. Thank you to all who round-up at the register and donated, we were able to provide $1000 to the non-profit. We will be volunteering next year and doing this once again. The non-profit manager and distribution site are on South Church, 110 South Street, Pittsfield, MA, 01201. 

We are looking forward to doing even more next year.

Berkshire Immigrant Center logo

October Donation Spotlight

Register Round-up

Participation

2020 October $2753

Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC)

Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) a local center providing advice, information, advocacy, referral, and support for immigrants on issues related to immigration, employment, citizenship, housing, and social services. 

Last fall the BIC put together a COVID-19 relief fund and were looking to raisadditional funds for their familiesBerkshire Roots was honored to assist and with your help, we were able to surpass the amount anticipated and applied the additional proceeds to the other service provided at BIC. 

The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center is to assist individuals and families in making the economic, psychological, and cultural adjustment to a new land, not only by meeting basic needs but also by helping them to become active participants in our community. The Center also aims to build bridges of understanding and cooperation across cultures, to fight racism and discrimination in all forms, and to advocate for the rights of immigrants from all backgrounds. The Center offers comprehensive services for individuals from more than 80 countries to promote civic engagement, facilitate cultural integration, and assist in navigating the complex U.S. immigration system. 

soldier on

November Donation Spotlight

Participation: Register Round up & Match

2020 December $4608

Soldier On

This year Berkshire Roots sponsored a winter clothing and essential item drive for Solider On. Your Register Round-Up Funds helped us raise money to purchase winter clothing and essential items for our cherished veteran community! Soldier On is a nonprofit organization committed to ending veteran homelessness. They have a 71-bed transitional living facility in Pittsfield, MA, and the first of its kind, award-winning 39-unit housing cooperative Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community in Pittsfield. The treatment program is focused on building social skills, creating an enhanced sense of togetherness, and providing motivation for residents to spend their free time serving others instead of themselves.
This year Berkshire Roots sponsored a winter clothing and essential item drive for Solider On. Your Register Round-Up Funds helped us raise money to purchase winter clothing and essential items for our cherished veteran community!

BCC & Berkshire Roots Cannabis Practicum

Berkshire Community College (BCC) in partnership with Berkshire Roots created a Cannabis Curriculum, in which 2 full semesters have been completed and we hired over 6 students who are now part of the team. 

Working directly with the BCC, we initiated this partnership in January 2019 as a unique opportunity for students to gain a holistic and practical understanding of the cannabis industry. Maya Richards, Berkshire Roots’ Community Outreach Senior Manager, and Matt Culkin, Berkshire Roots’ Production Director, offered guidance on the courses to include in the curriculum and were also guest lectured throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. George Ambriz, Director of Academic and Career Advising, and Dr. Frank Schikor, Interim Dean of STEM and Allied Health collaborated with Richards and Culkin to shape the required courses that matched the necessary skill set needed to work in a cannabis facility and dispensary.  Ambriz and Schikor approached the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education back in 2019 to receive permission to make the course a full certificate offering; the program is now fully accredited. 

The curriculum is a unique combination of expert Professors teaching in the classroom, lab-style instruction, and hands-on experience through the partnership with Berkshire Roots. 

According to BCC’s Frank Schikor “Berkshire Roots offered us the real key to enhancing an already strong curriculum.  No other program in the state provides students course credit and an amazing learning opportunity working side-by-side with experts in the cannabis industry.  Our students are being trained for a job in the industry with direct experience inside a grow operation and working in a dispensary, they get immersed in the business and have a much better appreciation of the type of job that best suits them.” 

For Berkshire Roots, partnering with the BCC offered two great opportunities.  According to Richards, “When BCC determined they would like to collaborate with us, we jumped at the opportunity.  Cannabis is still such a nascent business we are always looking for opportunities to educate people about the plant itself as well as the business and all the related opportunities.

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