Litchfield Gains Two Education Nonprofits

Litchfield Gains Two Education Nonprofits

In a sign of their extraordinary success, two of Berkshire Taconic’s education enrichment funds in Northwest Connecticut have struck out on their own as independent nonprofit organizations this year. 

The 21st Century Fund for Housatonic Valley Regional High School and Salisbury Central School’s SOAR (Seek, Originate, Aim and Reach) Fund have begun operating independently after a respective 17 and 15 years of growth as funds of Berkshire Taconic’s. 

Conceived by the late Salisbury entrepreneur and academic Zenas Block, SOAR offers a range of enrichment activities to children in grades one through eight. Fencing, farming, art, computer coding and fitness have all been in the programming mix in recent years. Nearly two-thirds of students enrolled at Salisbury Central participate in activities funded by SOAR, which has made grants totaling over $479,000 since its inception.

“Students who have more opportunities are better prepared for school and community life,” said Keith Marks, the chair of SOAR’s board. “That means well-rounded community members in the future, strong employees for our community and enriched lives for the students.”

The 21st Century Fund supports “high-impact learning opportunities” for students of Housatonic Valley Regional High School. 

In addition to supporting Housy’s award-winning Envirothon and robotics teams, the fund’s board raised over $500,000 to help launch the Mahoney-Hewat Science and Technology Center, where students can prepare for careers in the growing fields of green energy and technology. Through programs at the center, students are encouraged to collaborate with one another, and with teachers and visiting mentors, engaging in real-world problem-solving during and after school, on weekends and throughout the summer.

We congratulate the 21st Century Fund and SOAR on their success and look forward to continuing to support them as two of Litchfield County’s newest nonprofits. You can, too! Visit soarenrichment.org and 21stcenturyfund.net.