PITTSFIELD — Although it was forced to cancel several of its signature events this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1Berkshire generated $1.4 million in revenue during fiscal 2020, President and CEO Jonathan Butler said Thursday, during the organization’s annual meeting.
Because of the pandemic, annual revenue at the county’s state-designated economic development agency is about $400,000 to $500,000 less than it was during the past couple of years, Butler said. But, he said 1Berkshire has worked hard to diversify its revenue streams since the agency officially was formed four years ago, so that it is not solely reliant on contributions from members.
“In 2020, it really helped us,” he said.
Butler said that, in fiscal 2021, which began July 1, 1Berkshire is operating in “about the same footprint,” which is giving us “some flexibility and allowing us to do the work that we need to do.”
1Berkshire is hoping to expand its programming and bandwidth in fiscal 2021, Butler said. Program revenue, money generated via initiatives on 1Berkshire’s website, was $336,932 in fiscal 2020. Also, 1Berkshire received $365,932 in grants, through its roles as Berkshire County’s regional tourism council and state-designated regional economic development agency. The money 1Berkshire receives from the state Office of Travel and Tourism allows the agency to market the county to outsiders.
“That’s money spent in the New York market, the Boston market, even some international dollars,” Butler said. “That’s how we get people to come here to the Berkshires, and spend money and support our businesses.”
1Berkshire also received $411,805 in membership fees from the organization’s 900-plus members, despite discounting the annual rate to help its members after the pandemic hit. The agency also received $52,975 in event revenue, even though the pandemic forced most of those activities to be canceled after March.
Canceled events included the annual Fall Foliage Parade in North Adams, monthly chamber night events, the Berkshire Leadership Program and the annual Celebrate the Berkshires event that includes the Trendsetter Award competition. He said 1Berkshire hopes to bring back all those events next year.
In 2021, 1Berkshire also plans to focus on diversity, equity and inclusions issue, a Berkshire housing agenda and to provide a COVID addendum to Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, a document first released in 2019 that is required to be updated each year.
In other business, Danielle Gonzalez, director of human resources at Williams College, was elected to a three-year term as chairperson of 1Berkshire’s board of directors, replacing Greylock Federal Credit Union President and CEO John Bissell, whose three-year term has expired. Gonzalez is the first Latina and first woman of color to chair the 1Berkshire board. The South Florida native came to the Berkshires 17 years ago.
Over 100 people viewed the annual meeting, which was held virtually for the first time.