County Fare: Haddad Subaru shares the love with Hometown Charity

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A local Subaru dealership embraced the automotive brand's "Share the Love," charitable campaign on Tuesday, in the form of handing over a giant check to a local youth mentoring and violence prevention agency.

Subaru USA and Subaru New England have donated a portion of vehicle sales — $250 per car purchased or leased — to charities through the campaign over the past 7 years. The campaign runs November through January, and customers have been able to choose to donate to one of Subaru's national beneficiaries: the ASPCA, Make-A-Wish Foundation, National Park Foundation and Meals on Wheels.

Last year, Subaru offered its national dealerships the option to choose a local "Hometown Charity" to receive donations. Haddad Subaru's first recipient was the Berkshire Humane Society, which was given more than $18,000.

This year, Haddad Subaru, located on East Street in Pittsfield, designated Pittsfield Community Connection as its Hometown Charity, handing over a check for $20,086.

"Their program works directly for the community." said Chris Kramek, general sales manager for Haddad Subaru. "The Connection helps our younger generation develop the skills needed to contribute to a healthy and prosperous environment. The donation directly impacts our community and we are confident that the PCC will use the funds to the best of its ability right here in Berkshire County."

Pittsfield Community Connection was created through the city's Shannon Grant program to address the underlying issues that lead youth to become involved in criminal and gang activity. PCC offers youth mentoring and community projects, and works with young people in schools, neighborhoods and those already involved with the criminal justice system.

Back in February, Jon Schnauber was named the organization's new executive director, replacing inaugural program leader, Adam Hinds, and interim director, Scott Murray. In addition, Eddie Taylor was named this year as community liaison/program coordinator for the organization. All four were on hand for Tuesday's check presentation, along with PCC associates, Haddad Subaru staff members, dealership owner, George Haddad, and general manager, Mike Coggins.

Son carries father's legacy in journalism

ProPublica investigative and political reporter Alec MacGillis — son of 40-year journalism veteran Don MacGillis of Pittsfield — continues a rich family legacy of working in the news, as the recent recipient of the prestigious Toner Prize, presented by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Don MacGillis worked at The Berkshire Eagle for some 20 years, eventually becoming executive editor and editorial page editor, before moving on to the editorial board of the Boston Globe.

Alec MacGillis is a Pittsfield native who has gone on to write for a number of national media outlets, including Slate, The New Republic, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. He began his journalism career at several small newspapers in New England and got his start covering politics at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire.

The announcement of Alec MacGillis as the sixth winner of the $5,000 Toner Prize was made on March 28 in Washington, D.C., at a celebration dinner where President Barack Obama was the featured speaker.

He won for "The Breakdown," a collection of stories that, among other issues, revealed the influence of the oil industry and other corporations on public policy; examined the reasons that some voters make political choices that many analysts consider against those voters' own interests; and showed that many assumptions about politics and governance no longer hold true.

Judge Maralee Schwartz called MacGillis' reporting "breathtaking."

"It defines what everyone wants to know: what happened to our system of politics and governance," said Toner Prize judge Tom Brokaw.

The award honors the late Robin Toner, a 1976 summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University with dual degrees in journalism and political science. She was the first woman to be national political correspondent of The New York Times.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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