Pandemic spurs cancellation of 2 UNICO National fundraisers

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PITTSFIELD — A leading Berkshire civic organization is canceling its two biggest annual fundraisers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pittsfield chapter of UNICO National has called off next month's golf tournament and a rescheduled wine-tasting event.

"As you may know UNICO hosts these two signature fundraisers each year to assist in the charitable work we do in our community," Fran Marinaro, a Pittsfield UNICO board member, wrote in an email to The Eagle.

"Out of respect for so many individuals that have lost jobs, businesses that have been shut down and members of our UNICO family and friends that have fallen victim to the COVID-19 virus we are suspending this year's events."

Proceeds from the fundraisers support Berkshire County residents who are facing challenges, nonprofit organizations needing support, and scholarships for deserving local students planning to pursue post-high school training and other educational opportunities.

In a letter to UNICO members and supporters, President Frank Dignard says the wine-tasting event had been postponed until the fall. But, the current situation with COVID-19 and event sponsors facing financial pressures resulting from the pandemic forced UNICO to try again in 2021.

As for the August golf tournament, Dignard says money also was an issue in focusing on plans instead for the 2021 fundraiser.

"While we believe one may be able to play golf in August we have concluded that asking financial support of our sponsors at this time is not appropriate as we appreciate the financial challenges many of our supporters are experiencing," he wrote.

He urged UNICO members and supporters "to make an extra effort to go out and support the individuals and organizations that have been so supportive of UNICO in the past."

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