Berkshire United Way Appoints Tom Bernard as President, CEO
Tom Bernard
Tom Bernard

January 15, 2022 — Berkshire United Way, a nonprofit based in Pittsfield that looks to strengthen the greater community through grant-funded support of nonprofit organizations, this week announced that Tom Bernard, who recently completed two terms as mayor of North Adams, has been appointed president and chief executive officer.

Bernard starts his new position Jan. 24, succeeding Candace Winkler, who served as president and CEO of Berkshire United Way (BUW) for two years, before stepping down in August to become chief development and strategy officer for Zero to Three in Washington, DC. BUW board member Laurie Gallagher has been serving as interim president and CEO

“Tom’s proven leadership experience and dedication to the community will serve him well as head of Berkshire United Way” said Michael Stoddard, chairman of the BUW board. “He has worked with multiple stakeholders, is familiar with federal and state granting agencies and processes, and has experience in community and economic development, and strategic planning.

“His leadership and response to the needs of his constituents during COVID-19 also shows his ability to quickly adapt and address emerging and critical needs. His passion for public service, commitment to being an advocate and voice for change, and willingness to collaborate with others to build a stronger community align with Berkshire United Way’s mission and vision.”

Bernard said, “I’m thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career as part of the Berkshire United Way team. The organization’s mission is clear and critical, and the board, staff, partner agencies, and individuals we serve are laser-focused on building a stronger and more resilient community throughout the Berkshires.

“Our work has been a cornerstone of supporting individuals and strengthening families for nearly a century, and our role will continue to evolve and our impact magnify as we work together to address the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.”

Bernard decided to step down as mayor last February, to focus on recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. “It was COVID, it was looking at the political environment, it was just a sense that this was the right moment,” he told The Berkshire Eagle.

Bernard earlier served as development officer at Mass Museum of Contemporary Art, followed by nearly 10 years at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts as director of corporate, foundation, and government relations, then executive assistant to the president, and eventually director of business affairs.

He was the director of special projects at Smith College before becoming mayor in 2018.

Bernard earned a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a Master of Public Administration degree from Westfield State University.

For the year ending June 30, 2021, BUW raised $2.7 million, granted $2.0 million that affected 21,000 people, and engaged 521 volunteers.