PITTSFIELD, Mass. - After months of getting community feedback on how to spend millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding, the city of Pittsfield announced the first round of grants on Thursday.

See list below: 18 nonprofits and cultural groups receiving grants

“We felt moved by the stories you told in your applications,” Mayor Linda Tyer said, addressing grant recipients at a press conference Thursday morning. “And it’s our great honor to support your work with today’s awards.”  

What You Need To Know

  • Pittsfield announced its first round of ARPA grants on Thursday
  • 18 nonprofits and cultural groups are receiving a combined $5.9 million
  • Much of the money will go towards developing new programs and resuming normal operations
  • Other organizations have until May 1 to apply for grants from the remaining ARPA funds

A total of $5.9 million is being given to 18 different nonprofits and cultural groups.

One of the biggest grants went to the Berkshire Black Economic Council, which will use the money to develop programs to support local Black business owners.

“We’ve been working for almost three years as a volunteer-based organization,” said A.J. Enchill, the council’s president and executive director. “And now that we have this capital, we can really begin to look into our future.”

For groups hit especially hard by the pandemic, the funds will help them get their operations back to normal.

Volunteers in Medicine is receiving $200,000 to provide health care services for under-resourced Pittsfield residents.

“Being a health care organization, we were very impacted by Covid,” said Gail Belmuth, director of advancement for V.I.M. “And it was critical for us that we could be here for our patients to during this difficult time.”

The IS 183 Art School is getting $80,000, which will go towards art programs at the Pittsfield Public Schools.

“We have a small budget and we’re a nonprofit, and it’s a great gift to us,” said Lucie Castaldo, executive director. “But the biggest meaning is the city of Pittsfield is recognizing local artists and appreciating their value.”

There are some ARPA funds still available, and any interested organizations have until May 1 to submit their applications to the city.


The recipients of the ARPA Community Awards include the following community partners:

• Arts in Recovery for Youth (AIRY): $50,000 – for an arts and skills-based suicide prevention program targeted toward Pittsfield youth ages 13-24.

• Barrington Stage Company: $125,000 – for the replacement and upgrades of the HVAC system at the St. Germain Stage and Boyd-Quinson orchestra pit to provide healthy spaces for one of Pittsfield’s most visited performing arts theater.

• Berkshire Black Economic Council (BBEC): $700,000 – to establish organizational operations and capacity for BBEC to offer technical assistance, educational workshops, and networking sessions for Pittsfield’s black entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses.

• Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC): $500,000 – to increase capacity of BCAC’s Weatherization Remediation Assistance Program (WRAP) by assisting under-resourced Pittsfield residents with home weatherization and heating system needs.

• Berkshire County Head Start: $700,000 – to provide free transportation and full-day childcare and early education for Pittsfield families deemed ineligible for state-subsidized daycare.

• Berkshire Family YMCA: $250,000 – for the renovation and expansion of childcare facilities.

• Berkshire Immigrant Center: $80,000 – for the expansion of legal and educational services for immigrants living in Pittsfield.

• Berkshire Museum: $250,000 – to create mobile museum units to offer classroom-based portable programming in the Pittsfield Public Schools.

• Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires: $500,000 – for the installation of a new HVAC system for youth and families to enjoy healthy recreational spaces.

• Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity: $800,000 – for the expansion of the navigator network and to provide resources to support Pittsfield residents, households and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

• George B. Crane Memorial Center: $90,000 – to offer recovery programs, support, and life skills for people struggling with substance use disorders.

• Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires: $200,000 – for the roof replacement at the Tyler Street headquarters where workforce training and support services are offered to Pittsfield residents.

• IS183 Art School: $80,000 – for a multi-pronged approach to bolster and sustain artists in after school, summer and in-school art classes at the Pittsfield Public Schools.

• MassMoCA/Assets for Artists: $100,000 – to establish and deploy a Pittsfield-based Asset for Artists program.

• Rites of Passage & Empowerment Program: $550,000 – to increase organizational capacity and expand programs for young women of color ages 12 to 18 to access college tours, travel opportunities, scholar stipends, and advancement of skills and professional development.

• Second Street Second Chances: $700,000 – a collaborative one-stop facility to support successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated Pittsfield residents into the community and the workforce.

• South Community Food Pantry: $50,000 - to address a systemic gap in food insecurity by renovating the food distribution space and expand the home delivery program.

• Volunteers in Medicine: $200,000 – to respond and support the medical needs of under-resourced Pittsfield residents.