Phil and Hilary Deely

Phil and Hilary Deely of Stockbridge, MA, have been giving back in one form or another throughout their forty-year marriage. A passion for the Berkshires is in their DNA. Phil traces his ancestry to the Sedgwick family that's been in New England since the 18th century, and Hilary's family had a summer house in Monterey for generations. After meeting at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington in the late 1960s, they have devoted their lives to education, working as teachers and administrators locally and at independent schools in Brooklyn, Michigan, upstate New York and Virginia.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation: The Deely Fund provides professional development to teachers and school administrators."Even though we got teachers' salaries, we had a little bit of family money that we could use to help other teachers," says Phil, who now works as an interim headmaster and not-for-profit board consultant. The Deelys have been champions of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation since its inception, and their names are attached to both a donor-advised fund and a designated fund.

The Deely Professional Development Fund is the older of the two explains Phil. "These micro-grants allow teachers and not-for-profit administrators to attend seminars or professional meetings that can further their careers. As budgets get cut, these grants can really make a difference."  Since it is a donor-advised fund, the Deelys are consulted about all the grants, which generally range from $200 to $1,000. "We like to be involved," says Hilary. "Recently, we were very excited to help send Megan Whilden, the dynamic head of cultural development in Pittsfield, to a conference. It's a small gesture that can have a big impact."

The family also started the Pamela Sayre Deely Adaptive Fitness Fund, which provides support for physical therapy at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Great Barrington, MA. "My cousin Cathy, who is the Chair of Berkshire Creative, and I started this fund to honor her sister, Pamela who has MS and is my first cousin," Phil states.  "She wanted others with disabilities to be able to get help at Berkshire South as she had."

As a consultant and interim headmaster, Phil has witnessed many different not-for-profit boards in action, and he says Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation is exceptionally well-managed and fiscally responsible. Phil sits on the Foundations advisory board for its Center for Nonprofit Excellence "I love the opportunity to recommend ways to support professional development for our nonprofit leaders. Times are tough and our nonprofits need support in learning best practices."

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Photo by John Dolan