March 31 Regional Housing Symposium for Rural Communities

March 31 Regional Housing Symposium for Rural Communities

Sheffield, Mass. – Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation announced today that HousingUs, the foundation’s affordable housing initiative, will co-host a regional symposium titled, “Investing in Community: Housing Strategies for Economic Development in the Tri-Corner Region” on Tuesday, March 31 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at Crissey Farm in Great Barrington, Mass. The symposium will gather business leaders, policymakers, town planners and other community partners to examine how affordable housing can serve as a boon to economic development.

“A healthy community is home to people of wide-ranging talents, backgrounds and ages,” said David Rich, chair of the board of HousingUs. “We look forward to convening regional and local leaders to share success stories and best practices that can help our region attract and sustain the families and businesses that together will shape the future of our beloved communities.”

The first session, “The Housing/Jobs Conundrum: Solving for Economic Growth and Stability,” will examine connections between housing and business needs and regional economic stability. The panel, to be moderated by Patricia Mullins, senior planner and project manager of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, will include Chris Brooks, general manager of White Hart Inn and Tavern; Jonathan Butler, vice president and chief operating officer of 1Berkshire and president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; Michael Harney, vice president of Harney & Sons Fine Teas; Mark Maloy, IT/DATA/GIS manager of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission; and Jennifer Tabakin, town manager of Great Barrington, Mass.

The second session, “Bespoke Community: Model Solutions on a Rural Scale,” will present models of housing and economic development that demonstrate the benefits of custom-tailored solutions for rural towns and communities. The panel will be moderated by Rikki SaNogueira, associate project manager of CDC South Berkshire, and will include Billie Best, executive director of Community Land Trust of the Southern Berkshires; Elizabeth Druback-Celaya, director of organizational development of Hudson River Housing; Tim Geller, executive director of CDC of South Berkshire; and Carolyn Valli, executive director of Central Habitat for Humanity.

The luncheon keynote, “How to Cultivate a Culture of Community Investment and Philanthropy,” will be delivered by Philippe Jordi, executive director, developer and manager of Island Housing Trust on Martha’s Vineyard, who will also participate in the second panel. His presentation will be followed by a discussion of the capacity for different forms of ‘Slow Money’ investment in the tri-corner region, and a lively Q&A session about rural communities’ long-term stewardship of these investments.

Tickets, which include breakfast and lunch, are $35 per person. The first 25 registrants are eligible to receive a $25 “early bird” price. To register, visit

The symposium is presented in partnership with Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire, Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. HousingUs, an initiative of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, is a tri-state collaborative effort of nonprofit organizations and community leaders organized to promote broad-based affordable housing options in towns throughout the northwest Litchfield County, Conn., northeast Dutchess and Columbia Counties, NY, and southern Berkshire County, Mass.

About Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

For over 27 years, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has built stronger communities and helped donors make a difference through charitable giving in northwest Litchfield County, CT; Berkshire County, MA; and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY. Each year, the foundation distributes over $8 million through grants and scholarships to nonprofits and individuals in the arts and education, health and human services and environmental protection. Berkshire Taconic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. You can make a difference. We can help.

Author: Harlem Valley News