The Soldier On Women’s Program is thrilled to be WAM’s 2017 beneficiary and honored to work with a program that is so passionate about improving the lives of females. Their generous donation will allow Soldier On to continue to provide services and support to homeless female veterans, including groups within the program and follow up case management services after women have successfully transitioned into the community. Soldier On Women’s Program simply would not exist without benevolent donors such as WAM, and we are absolutely delighted to be a part of this experience.

Sara Scoco

Soldier On Women's Program

2017 The Last Wife Beneficiary

In keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, a portion of proceeds from this production will be donated to WAM’s thirteenth beneficiary, the Soldier On Women’s Program.

About Soldier On Women's Program

Soldier On has a single purpose mission of providing a continuum of programs to ensure that homeless veterans and their families have access to immediate and long-term housing with an array of supportive services delivered to them where they live. Soldier On’s goal is to help veterans become fully franchised and contributing members of their community by helping them to regain physical, mental, economic and housing stability within an environment of integrity, dignity and hope.

Since 2005 SOLDIER ON has been providing services to women veterans and currently offers a transitional housing program for up to sixteen homeless female veterans in a trauma informed care setting. Soldier On provides a safe, comfortable, structured environment that promotes healing and healthy life choice, helping veterans realize their full potential by providing them with activities and opportunities that embrace mind, body, and spirit.

Soldier On Women’s Program website: http://www.wesoldieron.org/womens-program/

We are so grateful to WAM and their supporters for making it possible for us to offer ten scholarships to these girls so they can continue working with STEM professionals and FCI this summer!
Maria Rundle

Executive Director, Flying Cloud Institute

2017 Emilie Beneficiary

In keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, a portion of box office proceeds from this production which amounted to $2500 was donated to the Flying Cloud Institute. These funds provided scholarships to ten Berkshire County public school students to attend FCI’s Young Women in Science training program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Berkshire Community College for the summer of 2017, where they get to work alongside professional scientists in laboratory settings.

About Flying Cloud Institute

The mission of Flying Cloud Institute is to inspire young people and educators through dynamic science and art experiences that ignite creativity. FCI programs promote creative thinking, problem solving, and mastery learning in STEM discliplines through an integrated approach that includes environmental studies and visual and performing arts. We provide children from kindergarten through high school with opportunities to engage in real world experiences under the supervision of professionals in these fields who inspire them to reach their full potential.

Originally based on a 200 acre colonial farmstead in New Marlborough, MA, Flying Cloud Institute was founded in 1980 by Jane and Lawrence Burke with David Schwarz as a center for community education specializing in environmental education, energy and land conservation, and the arts.

In 1983 FCI shifted its focus to science and arts education for children, establishing a summer program with environmental themes, led by area specialists in these fields. FCI was encouraged to begin after school programs on-site and in area schools which began in 1988. This led to a partnership with the Southern Berkshire Regional School District that was formalized in 1990 and continues to the present. The partnership began with a few classrooms participating in interdisciplinary science and math residencies, often involving environmental themes and the arts. By 2000 FCI’s work in this district had expanded to reach 30 teachers, 600 students.

Over subsequent decades FCI has become a major player in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education with partnerships in four Berkshire County school districts. Flying Cloud Institute now reaches over 3500 students each year through their in-school programs (SMArt Schools), summer programs (SMArt Summer Programs), after school and summer programs for girls (Young Women in Science Programs), and the Berkshire STEM Educators Conference (formerly BEEN Conference) and the Youth STEM Summit (formerly Youth Environmental Summit).

We are excited to be able to keep helping these women and their families navigate a path to permanent residence and safety in the US; services that we will continue to be able to strengthen with the help of this much needed grant from WAM.

Berkshire Immigrant Center

New Illuminations was hugely boosted by WAM’S donation. As a beneficiary, I was able to pay 15 women artists a stipend to participate in the art and writing workshop for four full days, provide all the art supplies and lunch for each of them. Along with this, I also paid an Armenian woman photographer to document the whole workshop. Following the WAM model of feminine leadership, inclusive, collaborative, and uplifting, New Illuminations continues to touch women’s lives. I am filled with gratitude.

Suzi Banks Baum

2016 Beneficiaries

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WAM Theatre donated $5,500 to the Berkshire Immigrant Center and $3,500 Suzi Banks Baum. making a grand total of $9,000 which was from 25% of WAM’s box office proceeds of The Bakelite Masterpiece WAM/BTG co-production

Suzi Banks Baum will use her donation to pay women artists in Armenia a stipend for their work as visual artists. The arts are not an accepted field of work for women in Armenia, where they are culturally limited in how they can support themselves and their families. The Berkshire Immigrant Center will use their funds to help women from abused households navigate a path to citizenship in the United States.

About Berkshire Immigrant Center

The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) is to welcome new immigrants and refugees and to provide them with the tools and services needed to integrate into the fabric of their new community. BIC serves 800 immigrants and their families each year.

Each year hundreds of thousands of immigrants seek assistance with humanitarian based immigration law. These are mostly women and children and they may be recently arrived or have lived here for a number of all years- what they all have in common is that they are seeking refuge and protection from violence they have experienced abroad or even here in the US at the hands of an abuser. Unfortunately BIC is not funded to assist these clients; they are often among the most vulnerable and regardless of whether an attorney is involved or not- often require the most help and are unable to compensate the Center for our services. The US- and the BIC- has seen a larger number of these heart-breaking cases than ever with the influx of mothers and children fleeing harm and even execution from Central America- the murder capital of the world.

For more information about the Berkshire Immigrant Center, please call (413) 445-4881, email info@berkshireic.com, or visit www.berkshireic.org

About Suzi Banks Baum

Suzi Banks Baum is a writer, artist, actor, teacher, and community organizer. She is editor and publisher of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. She lives in Great Barrington and produces Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

In March of 2016, Suzi visited Gyumri, Armenia interviewing women artists through affiliation with National Geographic photographer, John Stanmeyer and 4Plus, an Armenian organization of female documentary photographers.

Suzi learned during her visit that the cultural expectations of women form a restrictive structure out of which they struggle to carve lives that include art making. Giving these women voice, telling their stories and empowering them to begin to tell theirs is essential to raising the value of Armenian women’s lives. Suzi’s project is blossoming into a residency in Gyumri in October 2016 to continue interviewing women, and leading a multi-disciplinary workshop to gather stories and teach the artists the ancient practice of book building.  WAM’s donation helps make this trip and compensation for the female artists possible. http://www.suzibanksbaum.com/

This morning hundreds of thousands of children woke up and did not have the opportunity to go to school.  Thanks to WAM’s Donation, in 2016, Nisha, Nirmala, Bimala, Manisha and a new student will be picking up their book bags and walking the dirt streets of Kathmandu to school each morning. Thank you WAM for your generosity!

Caroline Wheeler

Sisters for Peace

The mothers of our Hands In Outreach sponsored girls are poor, illiterate women who work at low wage menial labor jobs, often doing back-breaking labor for 10/12 hours a day and grateful to have the work to feed their children. The generous contribution of over $3000 from WAM helped to feed more than 50 families for a month. This life-affirming gesture of kindness and love allows the entire Berkshire community to shine with hope.

Ricky Bernstein

Hands In Outreach

2015 Beneficiaries

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WAM Theatre’s donation of $5,560 (25% of the box office proceeds of Holy Laughter) went to Hands In Outreach (HIO) and Sisters For Peace (SFO). This donation will allow HIO to make a direct deposit of at least $20 to the 125 families that HIO supports which can buy food for a family of four for a month. SFO currently sponsors four HIO girls to attend school and through WAM’s donation, in 2016, will be able to sponsor five girls to stay in school for the entire year.

About Hands In Outreach
Run by Ricky Bernstein of the Berkshires, Hands In Outreach (HIO) is a small educational sponsorship program for poor, inner-city girls in Nepal. With a family oriented approach, HIO guides and empowers their girls to be strong, self-reliant adults. By actively partnering with children, families and schools, HIO encourages girls to remain in school, avoiding early marriage and a life of low-wage menial jobs. They carefully monitor the long-term well-being of our HIO families, promoting education as a means toward empowerment, gender equality and ultimately, an end to a family’s cycle of profound poverty. As part of Hand In Outreach’s work after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal earlier this year, they provided a direct check to the 125 families they support for $50, which provided food for around three months and helped families rebuild.
About Sisters For Peace
Sisters for Peace, founded by Berkshire resident Caroline Wheeler, is a grassroots, non profit organization empowering women and girls, locally and around the world who are living in impoverished conditions.
Working with WAM left us all fully nourished, emotionally and financially. WAM’s actors, production crew and volunteers along with hundreds of audience members in Lenox MA, and  13 “Mothers” taking care of 84  children at The Mother of Peace Orphanage  in Illovo South Africa connected without meeting, came together in gratitude for each other’s work and experienced tangible compassion and commonality. Mind blowing! Susie Weekes

Mother of Peace Orphanage

 2014 Beneficiary

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25% of box office proceeds from the production of In Darfur, which amounted to $5,005, went to the 13 house mothers at the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Illovo South Africa.

About Mother of Peace
WAM first heard about the Mother of Peace Orphanage from Berkshire resident Susie Weekes, who, since 2002, has been involved with the orphanage and who, in the midst of her many other worthy endeavours, is committed to doing what she can for the children and women there. The thirteen housemothers at the Orphanage have made many personal sacrifices and dedicated themselves to care for 84 children in residence as their own, many of whom have been orphaned, abused, or impacted by HIV/AIDS. Significantly, most of the housemothers plan to use WAM’s donation to invest in education for themselves and members of their families. When WAM Theatre artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven met Susie, she talked about her dream to honor and celebrate the 13 mothers with some recognition and money of their own. Through WAM’s production of In Darfur, she was able to do just that.
The relationship with WAM has provided a financial opportunity to expose our young ladies to the possibilities of attending college. Shirley Edgerton

Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program

 2013 Beneficiary

Part of the box office proceeds from Emilie , in the amount of $3,400, was donated to the Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program, a skills based program for young women in Berkshire County. This donation fully funded the Northeast college tour taken by ROPE participants at the culmination of their program.

About Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program for Girl
Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program (ROPE) was founded and is run by Pittsfield community leader Shirley Edgerton. The ROPE program is an multicultural empowerment organization for middle and high school girls with a strong focus on girls of color. The initiative is designed to celebrate and honor the entry of adolescent girls into womanhood; and to provide them with skills and knowledge to be successful, independent and responsible women. It also supports participants in discovering their inner voice and all components of personal development.
I am so grateful to the whole WAM Team for supporting us. The funding has helped me find the right survivor advocates to be a part of our documentary film. If I could focus on finding funding for the film and work nonstop on it, I would. But understanding the issues as survivor myself, I see how complex it is. My conscience will not allow me to be a naïve filmmaker. I want to make a difference.  I want this documentary to be different, and empowering. Thank you WAM for fueling the fight!
Jeanet Ingalls

Shout Out Loud Productions

  2012 Beneficiary

From a portion of The Old Mezzo box office proceeds, WAM Theatre was able to make a $2400 donation to Shout Out Loud Productions.

About Shout Out Loud Productions
Shout Out Loud Productions, Inc. is a local not-for-profit organization founded by Berkshire resident Jeanet Ingalls focused on raising the global awareness of sex trafficking, socially sanctioned abuse and poverty in the lives of women and children. Through the powerful and dynamic imagery of film and art, they seek to give voice to those that cannot speak for themselves.

We have a dream to train 1,000 community midwives. Our Community Midwives training program saves the lives of women in villages. We are grateful that WAM Theatre has chosen Edna’s Hospital and our program as their beneficiary for the O Solo Mama Mia Festival. Their help will get us one step closer to achieving our dream.

Edna Adan Ismail

Founder & Director, Edna's Hospital

 2011 International Beneficiary

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 Following the O Sole A Mama Mia Festival, WAM Theatre donated $650 to the Edna Adan Hospital Foundation – enough to pay for the training of one community midwife, her bus fare, and outfit!

About Edna Adan Hospital Foundation

Edna Adan Hospital works to provide Somaliland women and children with skilled public health professionals, improvement of health care facilities, and the provision of needed equipment and supplies. Somaliland has amongt the worst rate of maternal mortality in the world. Edna Adan Hospital Foundation is dedicated to funding and advocating for initiatives that improves the status of health care and the quality of life for women in children in Somaliland and the surrounding regions. “We have a dream to train 1,000 community midwives”, says Edna Adan Ismail, founder and director of Edna’s Hospital, “Our Community Midwives training program saves the lives of women in villages. We are grateful that WAM Theatre has chosen Edna’s Hospital and our program as their beneficiary for the O Solo Mama Mia Festival. Their help will get us one step closer to achieving our dream.”

WAM gave us more than money. We really value our ongoing relationship and our continued collaboration and discussion about how to empower girls to make educated choices about their bodies and their futures. Kristine Hazzard

President & CEO , Berkshire United Way

 2011 Local Beneficiary

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A portion of the box office proceeds from WAM Theatre’s production of The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls in the amount of $1,750 was donated to The Berkshire United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and since then, that project has grown to become the Face the Facts Coalition.

About The Berkshire United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative
In 2009, The Berkshire United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) formed and worked with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Berkshire Benchmarks to develop a report on the successes and challenges in the community. Based on the Department of Public Health’s data on teen births in Berkshire County, especially in the two urban centers of Pittsfield and North Adams, they knew they had a real problem. The teen birth rate was way above the state’s teen birth rate. Together they immediately developed strategies to address the situation. Five years later, this project has grown to become the Face the Facts Coalition, still helmed by Kristine Hazzard, the President and CEO of Berkshire United Way. “WAM’s commitment to organizations that benefit the lives of women and girls in our community is aligned with the mission of the TPPI. Teen pregnancy prevention obviously isn’t only a women’s issue, but our strategies to improve sexual health information, increase access to contraceptives and help our kids see a bright future will help improve the lives of young women throughout Berkshire County,” said Kristine Hazzard.
We are grateful for the support of WAM Theatre and honored to be the beneficiary of A WAM Welcome.  It is because of the generosity and passion of individuals at the grassroots level that we are able to fulfill our mission of helping women move from victim to active citizen in the wake of war. Jennifer Morabito

Grassroots Marketing Officer, Women for Women International

 2010 International Beneficiary

logoWAM Theatre’s first global beneficiary, Women for Women International, received $1000 from a portion of the proceeds of A WAM Welcome.

About Women for Women International
Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We’re changing the world one woman at a time. Jennifer Morabito, Grassroots Marketing Officer for Women for Women International remarked,  “We are grateful for the support of WAM Theatre and honored to be the beneficiary of A WAM Welcome.  It is because of the generosity and passion of individuals at the grassroots level that we are able to fulfill our mission of helping women move from victim to active citizen in the wake of war.”

WAM’s support makes a big difference in what we do. Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts

2010 Local Beneficiary

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A portion of the proceeds from Melancholy Play, $1500, was donated to WAM’s first local beneficiary, Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

About Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts
The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts advances social change philanthropy to create economic and social equality for women and girls in Western Massachusetts through grant-making and strategic initiatives. Their program work addresses the core concerns of: educational access and success, economic justice, and safety and freedom from violence. The vision of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts is to empower women and girls to reach their full potential in a world that is just and fair for all.