Announcing: BerkShares Ambassadors Program


For immediate release: July 5, 2017

Contact: Rachel Moriarty, [email protected] or (413) 528-1737



GREAT BARRINGTON – BerkShares, Inc. has received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund of Newmarket, NH to launch a new initiative called BerkShares Ambassadors. The 10-month-long program will engage young people from around Berkshire County in a local economy learning experience that will generate both personal and community benefits. These BerkShares Ambassadors will become spokespeople for the local currency program, harnessing their local knowledge and connections to catalyze BerkShares activity and to help create a more self-reliant Berkshire economy. 


Executive Director Alice Maggio and Program Assistant Rachel Moriarty have shaped this new program with assistance from Michael Tesoro, member of the board of BerkShares, Inc. and co-owner of local marinara sauce company Ooma Tesoro’s. Moriarty emphasizes the dual purposes of the BerkShares Ambassadors program: “This is an opportunity for young people to experience both personal and professional growth while also serving their community.”


Maggio points out that BerkShares Ambassadors will build on the momentum created by Entry to Entrepreneurship, BerkShares Inc.’s locally focused business planning program for young people. “This is an exciting new initiative where we can apply a lot of what we have learned over the past three years of Entry to Entrepreneurship, while also exploring new territory.”


The BerkShares Ambassadors program will include a dynamic mix of economics, history, organizing skills, and professional development. Participants will play an active role in each workshop, helping to provide local context, inform content, and initiate activities. BerkShares Ambassadors will grow into “community economists” who can expand awareness and usage of BerkShares and who are empowered to build relationships with their peers, community leaders, community banks and more than four hundred local businesses that participate in BerkShares.


The ideal BerkShares Ambassadors candidate is between 16 and 30 years old, open to collaboration, enthusiastic about engaging with their community, and interested in learning more about our local economy.


BerkShares, Inc. is accepting applications through August 11. Monthly workshops will begin in September. BerkShares, Inc. encourages community members to nominate outstanding young people who could benefit from this program by visiting Young people may also apply directly through the form found at Candidates must have access to a vehicle.


BerkShares Inc. will be hosting information sessions regarding BerkShares Ambassadors throughout the application period on the following dates from 4 to 6pm: Wednesday, July 12 @ Mason Library in Great Barrington, Wednesday, July 26 @ Dottie’s Coffee Lounge in Pittsfield, Thursday, August 3 @ North Adams Public Library. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, or for more information please contact (413) 528-1737 or [email protected].

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About BerkShares, Inc. - BerkShares, Inc. is a membership-directed non-profit organization focused on responsible economic development in the Berkshire region.  BerkShares, Inc. has worked in partnership with local businesses and community banks to issue BerkShares, a local currency for the Berkshire Region. BerkShares help to build regional identity, raise awareness about the importance of local ownership, and empower community-based economic decision-making. Learn more at


About the New England Grassroots Environment Fund - The New England Grassroots Environment Fund (Grassroots Fund) energizes and nurtures long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and sustainable communities using stories, tools and dollars to fuel local activism and social change. Since 1996, the Grassroots Fund’s core grantmaking program continues to fund nearly 150 grants annually, giving more than $4 million in 20 years to initiatives by better than 1,700 community groups covering more than 60 percent of New England’s cities and towns.


New England Grassroots Environment Fund awards help solve the problems and realize the promises in addressing climate change and energy action, local food, environmental health and justice, land and water and local economies.

For more information, please visit or call 603-905-9915