Abby Pratt’s New World Fund

Inspired by her time living in Africa and getting to know Burmese refugees and to honor her father’s strong beliefs in justice and civil rights, Abby established The New World Fund for recent immigrants.

Abby Pratt established The New World Fund to help recent immigrants.Abby Pratt established the New World Fund in 2000 in memory of her father, Gerald Dickler. Abby’s father was a successful attorney who shared his passion for justice and civil rights with his eldest daughter. Shaped by the sacrifice of his own parents, who had struggled as poor immigrants from Eastern Europe, Dickler always cared for the underdog. When she inherited a small life insurance policy from her father’s estate, Abby decided to do “something that would honor him, something that would make my father proud.”

With help from Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Abby established the New World Fund, whose mission is to “provide support to newly arrived immigrants to the Berkshires and to organizations that assist them.” To date, the fund has awarded over $80,000 in grants, ranging from scholarships for new immigrants attending Berkshire Community College to payments to individuals for snow tires, warm clothes, schoolbooks, or a much-needed rent deposit.

Although Abby has lived in the Berkshires for 45 years, she has seen poverty close up: as a young Peace Corps bride in Malawi, traveling to remote health clinics in Ecuador, and working closely with the democracy movement in Burma. As a reporter for The Berkshire Eagle, Abby also saw how immigrants here in the Berkshires struggle to gain a foothold in their new homeland.

“The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation was extraordinary in helping me establish my fund,” says Abby. “They were fully engaged in the mission, always ready to offer advice and guidance.  Most importantly, under their good stewardship and with donations from friends and family, the fund has grown its endowment, which  means this good work will continue forever.”

Gerald Dickler would be proud, indeed.