Page 68 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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label design. With their $20 pledge, each participant’s name will be included in the collaboration can label for a future keepsake, and they will also be sent a can for their enjoyment and have exclusivity to purchase more before it is opened up to the general public. NA Brews currently is an e-commerce operation based in Holyoke, offering online retail sales of non-alcoholic beer, spirits, and wine selections, including specialty boxes and subscription services for others to enjoy in the comfort of their own home or any social setting. Bleau also has a manufacturing and full alcohol-free production plan, partnering with independent brew- eries in surrounding communities to produce quality craft non-alcoholic beer.
Berkshire Bank Foundation Supports MCLA’s Summer STEM Academy
NORTH ADAMS — The Berkshire Bank Founda-
tion awarded Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) $20,000 to fund the Berkshire Bank STEM Academy, which accepts up to 20 incoming first- year students enrolled in a STEM major or who
have expressed interest in STEM fields. Designed to introduce incoming students to careers in STEM,
the residential, five-day academy includes opportu- nities to network with STEM faculty, students, and staff in the interest of developing a deeper relation- ship with those involved in STEM careers in the Berkshires. The program’s ultimate goal is to encour- age more students to secure jobs in the Berkshires and remain here after graduation. This summer will mark the ninth year of the Berkshire Bank STEM Academy. Alumni of the program, which was devel- oped to serve low-income and first-generation col- lege students, have gone on to be leaders at MCLA as residential advisors, tutors, and supplemental instructors. Graduates have gone on to have careers at Raytheon, General Dynamics, Edge Pharma, and as public-school teachers. Students are selected based on their responses to surveys taken upon their acceptance to the college. Interested students should e-mail program director Dr. Sara Steele, assistant professor of Psychology, at [email protected] to have their name prioritized in the selection process.
Country Bank Reports $1.3 Million in Community Philanthropy in 2020
WARE — Country Bank reported that its donations and sponsorships for 2020 totaled $1.3 million. Through the bank’s philanthropic efforts, it provided support to local nonprofits throughout the com- munities it serves; in 2020, more than 400 of these organizations received donations. The pandemic
has left businesses and individuals facing continued looming uncertainties. Many nonprofits struggled from the economic fallout, and they looked to com- munity partners like Country Bank for assistance. Country Bank donated more than $500,000 to area hospitals and first-responder housing efforts to pro- vide the financial and tangible emergency resources needed to support their mission during the pan- demic. Organizations receiving support included
the Baystate Health Foundation, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp., Christina’s House, Springfield Rescue Mission, Ronald McDonald House, and Behavioral Health Network Inc. Recog- nizing the importance and overwhelming need to help organizations that address hunger, Country Bank also provided monetary donations to food pro- grams throughout the region that exceeded $100,000. The recipients of these funds included Friends of the Homeless, Rachel’s Table, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and many local food pantries.
Meyers Brothers Kalicka Unveils New Website
HOLYOKE — Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. (MBK) announced a new website,, this week. The primary goal during the redesign process was
to create a more user-friendly and valuable resource for clients and community alike. More specifically, the firm wanted users to easily locate information about accounting services, industries it serves, the firm’s story and team members, career opportunities, and community support. The website also features an active blog with articles about taxation, account- ing, advisory, news, and community. Additionally, the firm offers free newsletters centered around taxation, business, not-for-profits, and healthcare. These newsletters help readers stay informed on recent provisions and guidance, access articles, get invitations to special webinars or podcasts, and gain industry knowledge. You can subscribe to any or all of these newsletters for free by adding your e-mail address into the ‘subscribe’ feature located in the footer of the new website.
Community Comes Through to Help Amherst Survival Center Families
AMHERST — Hannah Rechtschaffen, director of Placemaking for the Mill District, and Andy Haase
of Cowls Building Supply recently delivered more than 400 games purchased by W.D. Cowls Inc. to
the Amherst Survival Center, augmenting dozens of community donations already collected and deliv- ered from North Amherst Motors, the Toy Box, North Square Apartments in the Mill District, and Cowls Building Supply. In December, Lev Ben-Ezra, execu- tive director of the Amherst Survival Center, outlined to Cinda Jones, president of W.D. Cowls, how the community could help her cause this winter. Ben- Ezra explained that the center was looking for ways to brighten the winter for families stuck at home, including craft kits, valentines, and other fun activi- ties. Her hope for February was to distribute more than 400 games and puzzles to local families, and she asked the Mill District for help generating donations. Now, with more than 500 games donated in Janu- ary, the Amherst Survival Center is providing families with games and activities along with groceries in February. Community members who want to help the Amherst Survival Center serve more families can donate online at
WNEU Offers Free Graduate Courses to Current Students
SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University announced that all current students (class of 2021 to class of 2024) will be offered two graduate courses free of charge with acceptance to a WNEU master’s- degree program upon completion of their bachelor’s degree. “As our undergraduates consider next steps, especially with the current economic climate, we want to help provide them with the opportunity
to advance their credentials in what could prove
to be a difficult time as the nation returns to post- COVID normalcy,” said Matt Fox, executive direc-
tor of Graduate Admissions. According to the NACE Job Outlook Survey, 2021 hiring will be “more posi- tive than expected given that the pandemic shut down the economy, plummeted the stock market, and raised the unemployment rate.” Nearly 17% of organizations responding to the NACE survey plan to increase their hiring levels of 2021 graduates, compared to 2020 graduates, and about 53% plan to maintain their level of hiring. Fox outlined the many benefits this opportunity offers, including improving employment and future advancement opportunities,
deferred undergraduate loan payment, and what essentially equates to a 20% reduction in graduate tuition. For more information, visit admissions/graduate/two-grad-courses.cfm.
Ludlow Elks Supports Program at Scantic Valley YMCA
LUDLOW — The Ludlow Elks awarded the Scantic Valley YMCA a $2,000 Beacon Grant from the Elks National Foundation to help the Y launch MOVE- 2Function, a movement-disorder fitness program. The Ludlow Elks have provided financial and in-per- son support for the Scantic Valley YMCA’s healthful- living programs. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA supports those impacted by cancer. The latest program to receive the Ludlow Elks support is MOVE2Function, offering those impacted by movement disorders evidence-based functional fitness programming to support them in making changes to support and improve all aspects of their health. Movement dis- orders include Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystro- phy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and essential tremor. In 2019 and 2020, the Ludlow Elks supported the Interactive Health Fair at the Scantic Valley YMCA, which was open to the public. With previous funding, the Ludlow Elks provided the food along with prepar- ing and serving it. Attendees enjoyed a healthy meal while interacting with company representatives, YMCA staff, and college students to learn about such topics as nutrition, heart health, fitness, balance pro- gramming, blood pressure, and eye screenings.
UMassFive Directs $4,000 to Local Survival Centers
HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced it has directed $4,000 in donations to local survival centers in Amherst and Northampton. The donations were made possible thanks to UMass- Five winning a Credit Union Give Back Sweepstakes held by its credit-card servicer, PSCU. This sweep- stakes selected 25 credit unions from across the country to receive $4,000 to donate to local charita- ble organizations of their choice. UMassFive chose to direct donations of $2,000 each to the Amherst Sur- vival Center and the Northampton Survival Center
in support of the extra cost burden that 2020 placed on the organizations. Both organizations had to pivot operations quickly to meet the most pressing needs of their communities throughout the COVID-19 pan- demic, and have seen more need than ever before.
Country Bank Supports Quaboag Valley CDC
WARE — Country Bank announced a $25,000 dona- tion to the Quaboag Valley Community Develop- ment Corp. (QVCDC) to support various programs
to help local communities in the region. A portion of the donation will be used toward a matching grant for a senior-citizen outreach program. This project was funded through the U.S. Department of Hous- ing and Community Development, Massachusetts CDBG Program. Projects are developed and admin- istered by local officials with the assistance of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Services for the outreach program include grocery shopping and prescription pickups for low-income seniors in Ware, Hardwick, Belchertown, and Warren. The QVCDC also offers various programs to assist businesses in the region with navigating these unchartered times. One of the latest programs includes companies with up to five employees that could be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in grant funding through a Microenter- prise Assistance Grant.
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