BEHOLD! New Lebanon receives J.M. Kaplan Prize

BEHOLD! New Lebanon, the nation's first living museum of contemporary American rural life, has been chosen to receive the J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize.

A new initiative of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a New York-based family foundation that champions social, environmental and cultural causes, the $175,000 prize supports inter-disciplinary innovation in the fields of cultural heritage, human rights, the built environment, and the natural environment.

The award honors the leadership and innovation of museum founder Ruth J. Abram of New Lebanon, a social activist and historian, who was founding president of the Lower East Side Tenement Association in New York City.

Berkshire Theatre Group adds five to board

Five new members have joined the Berkshire Theatre Group's Board of Trustees, CEO Kate Maguire and board president Ruth Blodgett have announced.

Benjamin R. Barber, Bruce Birenboim, Hilary Somers Deely, Kenneth A. Stark, and Linda M. Ruberto are the new board members.

Barber is a senior research scholar at The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, The City University of New York. Birenboim is a partner with the law firm Paul/Weiss.


Deely, a Stockbridge resident, is a BTG emeritus board member who is returning to the board of trustees. Stark is an adjunct lecturer at City College of New York, who was school psychologist for the Department of education in New York City. Ruberto, a Pittsfield resident, is a former Massachusetts State Board President and worked in the Pittsfield public school system as a science teacher for 37 years.

Smith named chairman of AIER board at meeting

J, Eric Smith, a longtime nonprofit leader, has been elected chairman of the board of the American Institute for Economic Research.

A native of South Carolina, Smith is president and CEO of the Chicago-based TREE Fund, the research and education wing of the United States tree care industry.

Smith, who lives in Chicago, joined AIER as director of operations and development in 2007. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.