Pittsfield – The Berkshire Immigrant Center has announced that the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) will take over as its fiscal sponsor beginning July 1. For over 25 years, MIRA has been committed to promoting the rights, opportunities, and well-being of immigrant and refugee communities.
The partnership between MIRA and The Berkshire Immigrant Center creates a natural synergy between two agencies with closely aligned missions. This change will also allow the Center’s former partner, Berkshire Community Action Council, to continue realigning its programs to focus more on the low-income, elderly and working-poor of Berkshire County.
Eva Millona, Executive Director of MIRA, said, “ Since its founding, The Berkshire Immigrant Center has been a wonderful partner and member of the MIRA Coalition. We appreciate their outstanding work for the widespread immigrant communities in the Berkshires, and we are happy to serve as their fiscal sponsor and to stand with them through this transition.”
The highly respected non-profit MIRA is the largest immigrant organization in New England serving one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, and strategic communications.
“Many people think the Berkshire Immigrant Center is a 501(c)3 agency, but we have not taken this organizational step because of our small size and the need to focus our staff on providing direct services to the Berkshires’ fastest growing population”, explained director Hilary Greene. “We are thrilled to enter into this new relationship with MIRA and feel confident that this affiliation will strengthen and increase our organizational capacity and future sustainability.”
The Berkshire Immigrant Center is the only agency west of Springfield that provides comprehensive support to the region’s estimated 10,000 immigrants. The Center was instrumental in developing the Welcoming Communities initiative in the Berkshires, where immigrants have become key contributors to the region’s cultural and economic diversity.
“Our operating budget is quite small, but with continued cuts in state and federal funding, we are increasingly dependent on fundraising activities and are looking for community support to maintain and expand critical services in our communities”, said Greene. As part of its fundraising efforts, the agency will be holding a major event on August 6, with music, art and wine from around the world.
Last year, the Berkshire Immigrant Center helped more than 800 individuals from 72 countries who came to the Berkshires seeking a better life. Often escaping from poverty, war, religious or political persecution, many do not speak English and face multiple economic, psychological and cultural challenges in a new land.
For more information about the Berkshire Immigrant Center, please call: (413) 445-4881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tax deductible donations may be made to the Berkshire Immigrant Center, 88 South Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 or online at www.berkshireic.com