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Berkshire Women's Club Endows Two Funds
03:24PM / Monday, February 11, 2013
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SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The Women's Club of the Berkshires will continue its mission to support education and recreation programs that foster and improve the welfare of all women in Berkshire County through two newly established non-profit funds.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announced on Monday it will administer the Women's Club of the Berkshires Scholarship Fund and the Women's Club of the Berkshires Fund. The funds are endowments that will continue in perpetuity and are currently overseen by an advisory committee made up of former club board members.

The assets for these funds come from the sale of the Thomas Colt House in Pittsfield. The Italianate villa was constructed in 1865 by Thomas Colt, an 1842 Williams College graduate. In 1937, local businessman Simon England Sr. purchased the 15-room Civil War-era home from Miss Ruth Mill's Private School, and deeded the home to the Women's Club as a memorial to his late wife. The club was incorporated in 1954, and renamed the Women's Club of the Berkshires to reflect the growth and diversity of its members who live throughout the Berkshires and neighboring states.

The house was sold in 2011 for $250,000 to the Wally O. Fritz Nominee and the Raymond T. Kushi Jr. trusts. The trusts have since osld the building at 42 Wendell Ave. to Lisa Whitney, who hopes to reopen it as a center for visual and performing artists and organizations.

"The board of directors of the Women's Club was saddened by having to sell our magnificent home in the Thomas Colt House two years ago. It had been our home since 1937," said Isabel O'Brien, former president of the Women's Club of the Berkshires Inc., in a statement. "However, to now have the funds to carry out the club's mission of 'improving the welfare of women in all phases of their lives' gives us great joy.

"We are so proud to be associated with Berkshire Taconic and look forward to working with them in the area of providing scholarships and grants to women as well as organizations that support women and girls throughout Berkshire County."

BTCF President Jennifer Dowley said, "there are many creative ways to give through your community foundation and this is a wonderful example. The funds are now invested and the advisory committee will work this year on putting together parameters for the first grants from the fund which we look forward to announcing in 2014."

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