1Berkshire touts added revenue, increased membership

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1Berkshire generated $1.8 million in total income during fiscal 2019, a roughly 5 percent increase over previous years, according to president and CEO Jonathan Butler, who presented the figures at the strategic alliance's annual meeting Thursday at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.

"Since our merger, there's been a gradual increase every year," Butler said, referring to folding the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and Berkshire Visitors Bureau into the organization in fiscal 2016. 1Berkshire is the region's state-designated economic development agency.

Butler attributed additional fiscal 2019 income to the agency's programming offerings, which include everything from the its annual Guide to the Berkshires, to organization-sponsored events, to initiatives like the Berkshire Leadership Program and the Youth Leadership Program.

1Berkshire held 40 events in fiscal 2019 that attracted 1,500 attendees. Income from programming events totaled $750,983, the highest of 1Berkshire's six revenue streams. Fiscal 2019 ended June 30.

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"All those programs that we do keep getting bigger," Butler said. "It's a significant revenue gain for us."

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The agency finished the fiscal year with nearly 1,000 active members. Membership fees were 1Berkshire's second-highest revenue stream in fiscal 2019, generating $451,883 in total income.

"We're actually pretty level" in membership, Butler said. "We had just over 100 new members, which is the highest number of new members to come into the organization in the last 10 years. But like any business organization, we have a 10 to 15 percent turnover every year."

1Berkshire also received $372,863 in grants in fiscal 2019; $137,599 from investors; $93,155 from events and $80,527 from other sources, according to the agency's figures.

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1Berkshire elected five officers for fiscal 2020: John Bissell, of Greylock Federal Credit Union, was elected chair; Danielle Gonzalez, of Williams College, and Mindi Morin, of Canyon Ranch, were elected co-vice chairs, Lori Gazzillo-Kiely, of the Berkshire Bank Foundation, was elected treasurer, and Attorney Jeffrey Cook, of the Pittsfield law form Cohen Kinne Valicenti Cook, was elected clerk.

Nine board members had their terms renewed for fiscal 2020: Pat Begrowicz, of Onyx Specialty Papers; Brenda Burdick, of General Dynamics Mission Systems; Phil Coleman, of Heirlooms Jewelry; Don Dubendorf, of Dubendorf Law; Tyler Fairbank, of The Fairbank Group; Kat Lockridge, of Classical Tents & Party Goods; Peter Stasiowski, of Interprint; Cook; and Gazzillo-Kiely.

Incoming board members are: Kevin Bechard, of Berkshire Community College; Jordan Brechenser, of The Berkshire Eagle; Richard Pollard, of Guardian Life Insurance; Frank Reynolds, of Berkshire Gas Co.; Anastasia Stanmeyer, of Berkshire Magazine, and Dan Zimmer, of Hotel on North. Departing board members are: Jill Curtis, of Berkshire Community College; Warren Dews, of Dews Management Inc.; Gordon Dinsmore, of Guardian Life Insurance; and Eva Sheridan, of Main Street Hospitality Group.


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