Bridging Divides, Healing Communities

Bridging Divides, Healing Communities Grant Program 

“In this region, we have a heritage of pulling together in the face of challenges. The high levels of cooperation and compassion that characterize our communities are evident in the large number of organizations and initiatives formed over time to achieve shared goals that advance the common good. This inherent strength can bridge differences, build trust and promote reconciliation at the local level. We need to turn toward each other and build off things that draw us together."

Peter Taylor, President
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

GRANT GUIDELINES

WHO CAN APPLY

Nonprofit organizations, schools, municipalities and local government, and faith-based organizations (for non-religious activities) in Berkshire, Columbia, northeast Dutchess and northwest Litchfield counties. Proposals from informal groups acting through fiscal sponsorship relationships with eligible organizations are also encouraged to apply.

GRANT INFORMATION

The grant program supports activities sponsored by organizations and groups that bring together residents for the purpose of building and strengthening relationships, especially among people who may hold different views or come from different backgrounds. While challenges due to the need for social distancing during the pandemic remain, residents will continue find creative and meaningful ways to come together. 

The grant program will support new and compelling community-building ideas. Examples of potential activities include:

  • Virtual forums that allow people to explore issues through different points of view
  • Activities that bring a community together around arts and culture, given the restorative and community-building dimensions of the arts and creative process
  • Service projects that allow a group of people to come together to address an immediate community need

Priority will be given to projects serving marginalized, underserved and under-resourced populations, including communities of color, low-income, geographically isolated, LGBTQIA+, individuals with disabilities, refugees, and immigrants. We believe in projects that develop and maintain community connections and look for organizations that incorporate diverse cultures, philosophies and experiences across their programming.

While there is a preference to support new activities, existing programs that can be focused to address the aims of this grant program are eligible. Activities and events that are the result of collaborations between and among community-based organizations—especially partnerships that seek to diversify those who organize and participate in projects—are particularly encouraged to apply. 

This program is not intended to be source of funds for activities that promote a particular political position or singular viewpoints on issues that may be divisive.

View a list of first-round grantees

ELIGIBILITY

Applicants must:

  • Be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization or operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) organization, or be a local government, public school or faith-based organization
  • Be based in and serve residents of Berkshire, Columbia, northeast Dutchess or northwest Litchfield counties 
  • Not include in its by-laws or practice discrimination against a person or group on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief.

AWARDS

Grant awards will range up to $3,000 per organization.

DEADLINE

Applications are due October 15, 2021.

REVIEW CRITERIA

Volunteers with local knowledge and perspectives, along with foundation staff, will review applications. They will review the following:

  • The proposed activity or program and how it is aligned with the goals of this grant program, such as but not limited to: 
    • Creating new and/or strengthening existing relationships among people of different backgrounds, experiences or beliefs (e.g., neighborhood discussions, forums)
    • Forging connections around a shared experience through which participants can explore different points of view (e.g., arts and creative process)
    • Coming together to pursue a common goal regardless of differences that may exist among the group (e.g., service project)  
  • Brief background on the sponsoring organization(s) and organization type (nonprofit organization, local government, public school, or faith-based organization)
  • The amount requested, a brief description of how the resources will be used, and the total budget for the project

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BRIDGING DIVIDES, HEALING COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE

  • Young people ages 14 to 24 who live or attend school in Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's four-county region are invited to enter the new Bridging Divides, Healing Communities Youth Film Challenge to make their voices heard and compete for $3,500 in cash prizes. Participants may submit up to 6-minute films by Nov. 1 that explore divisions and inequities in society, and how they are tackling challenges in their families, schools and communities. Learn more and apply at www.YouthFilmChallenge.com. The Youth Film Challenge is a partnership of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative and the Civic Life Project.
  • View recordings of the four-part Bridging Divides, Healing Communities Speaker Series. Noted speakers discussed race, social cohesion, the media’s role in polarized times and promising local engagement efforts. The series was hosted by by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, The Berkshire Eagle and Berkshire Bank.