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LEELee Bank Foundation has awarded $64,500 to eight Berkshire area organizations in its second-round of 2021 community grant awards. Recipients were awarded grants ranging from $2,000 to $12,500 to support their local programming.

The following organizations received funding from Lee Bank Foundation:

• Berkshire Bounty;

• Berkshire County Historical Society;

• Berkshire South Regional Community Center;

• Elizabeth Freeman Center Inc.;

• Flying Cloud Institute;

• Music in Common;

• New Stage Performing Arts Center Inc.; and

• Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires

To be considered for grant awards, applicants must be a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on funding organizations that work to bridge  income and opportunity gaps in our region. The next application deadline is Sept. 1. Funding requests should reflect one or more of Lee Bank Foundation’s primary focus areas:

• Education and literacy;

• Food security and nutrition;

• Economic growth and development;

• Health and human services;

• Mentorship, internship and “school to work” initiatives; and

• Arts and culture

Applicants may submit only one application in a 12-month period.

Online applications and information can be found at

https://www.leebank.com/community-impact/donations-sponsorships.html

Lee Bank Foundation was established in 2021 to support Lee Bank’s longstanding mission of community reinvestment on behalf of organizations working to improve the lives of Berkshire region organizations and the people they serve. In 2020, Lee Bank awarded $179,000 in funding to area nonprofits and for Covid-19 relief efforts. In 2021, the foundation projects awarding $250,000 in grants and the Bank expects to award an additional $70,000 in sponsorships.
Daily News

LEE — Lee Bank is amplifying its longstanding community-reinvestment efforts with the creation of the Lee Bank Foundation, after a record year of contributions to the Berkshire nonprofit community.

In 2021, Lee Bank projects it will distribute $250,000 through the foundation, a more formal entity for community donations. In 2020, Lee Bank awarded $179,000 to community organizations, following several years of steady growth in funding.

“Lee Bank’s community contributions stretch back to its origins in 1852, but establishing Lee Bank Foundation sharpens our focus even further,” said Chuck Leach, the bank’s president. “The foundation also simplifies the application process for organizations doing meaningful work to support our Berkshire community.”

The foundation has its home at Marble House, a former residential property at 102 West Park St. in Lee. Purchased by Lee Bank in 2018, the building was recently renovated by Allegrone Construction. The property offers gathering spaces for community groups, bank staff, board meetings, and special events, and will also be home to a new financial-wellness service, for which hiring is under way.

In recent years, Lee Bank has typically set aside at least 5% of its annual net income for the support of area nonprofits. This giving has been on the rise: in 2020, the bank contributed nearly $179,000 to community nonprofits; in 2019, $145,000; and in 2018, $120,000. Last year, Lee Bank’s distributions included $50,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County.

The bank has supported more than 200 programs and organizations in recent years, including Greenagers, Community Access to the Arts, Berkshire Humane Society, Berkshire Immigrant Center, and others.

The foundation will be funded at $5 million by Berkshire Financial Services (Lee Bank’s parent company), with the goal of providing $250,000 in grants annually to nonprofits.

“The timing for creation of the Lee Bank Foundation could not be better,” said Jake McCandless, a foundation board member. “After a year of turmoil and uncertainty with COVID-19, nonprofits supporting our community and our neighbors will benefit from a streamlined process that supports their vital missions now and into the future.”

In addition to a 2021 grant goal of $250,000, Lee Bank’s employee-driven, branch-based sponsorships will continue as in the past, with a $70,000 projection this year. “In addition to foundation funding, our branch-based sponsorship awards are recommended by employees based on their awareness of local needs and activities in their branch communities,” Leach said.

Daily News

LEE — As Massachusetts continues its phased reopening plan, Lee Bank is targeting Monday, July 6 as the date it will reopen all bank lobbies for walk-in services. It will continue to post updated guidelines and information on its social-media accounts and website.

In the meantime, lobbies will remain open by appointment only, while other customers are encouraged to use drive-ups (in Lee, Lenox, and Stockbridge), ATMs, and online and mobile banking. Business hours for all branches are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Lenox drive-up is open on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

To schedule an appointment or speak to staff at any branch, call (413) 528-5531 in Great Barrington, (413) 243-0117 in Lee, (413) 499-9922 in Lenox, (413) 445-7270 in Pittsfield, or (413) 298-3611 in Stockbridge.

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