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Grateful Dead Invests in Berkshires


Berkshire HorseWorks secures grant from the Rex Foundation to fund empowerment program for young girls at risk

Richmond, MA – July 11, 2016 Berkshire HorseWorks Inc., which utilizes EAGALA Model Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to provide services to at-risk youth, veterans, families and individuals has secured three grants from the Rex Foundation, US Trust and Seven Towns’ Educational Partnership Fund, according to Hayley Sumner, Founder and Executive Director of the 501(c)3. The Rex Foundation, created by members, family and friends of the Grateful Dead, granted $5,000.00 to fund an eight week empowerment program for young girls. Since opening its doors, Berkshire HorseWorks has provided services to nearly 300 clients, most of whom are suffering from mental and behavioral challenges.
In the fall of 1983, the Rex Foundation was established as a nonprofit charitable organization with a mission to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere. The band played the first of many Rex Foundation benefit concerts in the spring of 1984. The Rex Foundation has since granted $8.9 million to over 1,200 recipients.
This funding has enabled Berkshire HorseWorks to provide an eight week “Girls Rule!” program to a group of young women from the surrounding community to help them learn how to stand their ground when needed, practice self-care, and know when to ask for help. It is our intention to provide a safe, fun and challenging environment in which the participants may learn and grow. Sessions are designed to foster self-reflection and target key strengths including leadership, independence, confidence, and perseverance. Berkshire HorseWorks is currently identifying eligible individuals to partake in this program from Berkshire Regional and Pittsfield School Districts, residential treatment facilities, the Student Resource Center, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, Berkshire Children and Families, the YMCA, and the Brein Center.
In addition to the Rex Grant, Berkshire HorseWorks has also received a $1,000 from the Seven Towns’ Educational Partnership Fund to provide a half day Life Skills Development workshop for Wahconah Regional High School students. The program is designed to support the school’s initiatives to increase self-confidence, foster creative thinking, encourage problem-solving, nurture empowerment, explore effective communication, enhance time management techniques, develop healthy boundaries, strengthen self-care skills, cultivate mutual respect, and provide a safe environment to have fun and build friendships. This program will kick off in the Fall of this coming school year.
Berkshire HorseWorks has also received an unrestricted grant from the U.S. Trust which will supplement existing programs at the farm and help expand the reach to more of those in need.
“I can’t thank these foundations enough for supporting our equine assisted programs. Although we have been seeing clients for over three years, we are just in our second year as a nonprofit and these grants in conjunction with our generous donors have enabled us to expand our programming. It is critical that we catch our youth at a young age and give them every opportunity to develop the skills to excel and make good choices. Integrating families and other support structures is key to their success and that is a large focus of our life skill development initiatives,” stated Hayley Sumner

Also, remember to register for the first annual “Horses and Hikers for Healing: A Scavenger Hunt,” to run through BNRC’s Hollow Fields. The event will be held on Saturday, August 13th and will be followed by a BBQ Hoedown, with live music from Dan Gingras. To register, click here:

Berkshire HorseWorks™, a 501(C)3 based out of a 27 acre compound in Richmond, MA is part of the international EAGALA network of 4,500 certified professionals in 50 countries providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) to at-risk youth, veterans, active duty, their families and corporations. Experiential, highly effective, and rooted in evidence-based practices, EAP treats a broad array of mental and behavioral challenges. EAL incorporates Equine Assisted Team building by partnering with school districts, local businesses, and international corporations to enhance personal development and reinforce group dynamics in the workplace. Services are offered by appointment seven days a week during individual sessions, workshops and wellness retreats. Through the power of horses, Berkshire HorseWorks™ provides the tools to cope, challenge, communicate, heal, lead, empathize and thrive in today’s world.

Berkshire HorseWorks Announces Board of Directors

FROM: Berkshire HorseWorks, Inc., EAGALA Certified Program

CONTACT: Hayley Sumner,, (413) 698-3700




Nonprofit Draws From Both Local Community And West Coast, Securing Members With Complementary Strengths

Richmond, MA – February xx, 2016 Berkshire HorseWorks Inc., which has provided EAGALA Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to nearly 200 at-risk youth, families, and veterans, has pulled together its first Board of Directors since receiving a its 501(C)3 nonprofit status in January, 2015. The Board comprises those from across the country who are at the forefront of their respective fields as well as local professionals with a key knowledge of the pervasive needs of the community, it was announced today by Hayley Sumner, Founder and Executive Director.

Berkshire HorseWorks utilizes this powerful, proven, and experiential Model to aid clients suffering from a broad array of mental health and behavioral challenges including ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, anger management, eating disorders, Asperger’s, addiction, and domestic violence. Sessions are ground-based, solution focused, and facilitated by a Licensed Mental Health Professional as well as a qualified Equine Specialist both certified in the Model. EAL incorporates Equine Assisted Team building which, through partnering with school districts, local businesses, and international corporations to enhance personal development and reinforce group dynamics in the workplace. The organization offers various programs out of a 27 acre compound in Richmond, MA which is composed of the Berkshire Equestrian Center, hiking trails, outdoor paddocks, historic barns, meeting rooms, the Select Registry Inn at Richmond, and a wellness center.

The local nonprofit held its first annual board meeting in September 2015, where the following officers were appointed: Don Fulford, Chairman; Don Granger, Vice President; Mark Casagrande, Treasurer. John Krol, Special Superintendent, Jack Quinn, Steve Hoff, Jim Clark, Elise Abrams and Barbara Newman also joined the Board of Directors.

“Because we’re a relatively new nonprofit, it is critical that we ensure that we are addressing the needs of the community and that we are guided by those locally who have a vested interest in its health and wellness. We’ve reached out to people who can truly guide us in our programming and strategic partnerships and are continuing to look for other who can help us in this journey. In addition, because donors locally are stretched so thin, we turned to others across the country who have a commitment to this work to permeate other funding pots. We’re really happy with the way the team is coming together.”

Don Fulford, the President and CEO of a Catholic Religious nonprofit serving more than 300,000 members and in 35 countries, brings extensive knowledge of the nuances of the nonprofit world. Formerly CEO of Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland, Fulford was also an appointed member of the Agricultural Commodities Advisory Committee for the state of Kentucky. Los Angeles resident, Don Granger, Executive Vice President of Production at Skydance Entertainment, has served as Executive Vice President of Motion Picture Production at Paramount Pictures, where he was responsible for supervising such blockbuster franchises as Mission Impossible, Star Trek, Clear and Present Danger, Kiss the Girls, and the Academy Award®-winning Saving Private Ryan, among others. Granger who produced Rogue Nation featuring Tom Cruise is currently shooting the sequel where he serves as Executive Producer. Mark Casagrande, a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, is the Owner and Executive Director of Park Avenue Center, a 120 bed residential outpatient substance abuse treatment program with mental health service in Minnesota. Casagrande formerly served on the Board of Directors for EAGALA, the governing organization which certifies Berkshire HorseWorks professionals. Granger, in conjunction with Casagrande, will be spearheading the fundraising efforts and financial planning of the nonprofit.

Four board members have deep roots and immense experience in community service, including John Krol, Special Superintendent John Quinn, Steve Hoff, and Jim Clark. Born and raised in Pittsfield, John Krol is the Ward 6 City Councilor, the founding chairman of the City’s Green Commission, a member of the School Building Needs Commission, board member of Berkshire Animal D.R.E.A.M.S, former board member of the Christian Center, and former board president of Pittsfield Community Television. Currently the President of OneEighty Media, John Krol’s extensive experience in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, government relations, health care marketing and community outreach provides a unique perspective for the local nonprofit.

Also having been born and raised in Pittsfield, John J. Quinn Jr. is currently the Special Superintendent of the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, Jail and House of Correction having been appointed to that position by Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., on April 1, 2005. Quinn formerly served as the Program Director for the Pittsfield Boys Club where he was the Director of the Title XX Counseling Program. Prior to that, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Pittsfield, MA., Director of Juvenile Jobs for Justice Program, and Director of the Boys Club Substance Abuse Program. Steve Hoff, a licensed psychologist and college professor, is co-founder of Barrington Psychology Center, which provides mental health services to individuals, families, schools and communities. He has been a faculty member of The School Psychology Program at The College of Saint Rose for 10 years. He began his professional career in New York City public schools where he was a school psychologist and crisis response trainer. Both Quinn and Hoff, because of their connection with Berkshire Children and Families, will identify key issues which are potentially detrimental to those locally. Hoff in addition, will ensure our HIPAA compliancy.

Jim Clark, a Retired Army Officer, is currently the Director of Veterans’ Services of Pittsfield. Previously, Clark was enlisted into the United States Army in 1978 after graduating from Taconic High School. After completing his original obligation, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as an Armor Officer in 1985. After retiring in 2012 from the US Army, Clark worked as an assistant teacher at Morningside Community School until November of last year when he was appointed to the position he is currently holding. He will be integral in developing the content for the next “Horse Powered Veterans” group.

Elise Abrams and Barbara Newman are long time Berkshire residents. Elise Abrams is a Partner at Berkshire Community Capital. Prior to this, Elise was a Wall Street equity sales trader and market maker for 18 years serving domestic and international qualified institutional buyers as well as a fundraiser for not-for-profits where she created initiatives that measurably improved fundraising for humanitarian aid. Barbara Newman, formerly an Executive Creative Director/Writer in NYC where she built iconic global brands is currently developing a feature length documentary film on the American cowgirl. Barbara facilitates CAF: Saddle Your Own Horse workshops where she brings the principles of cowgirl spirit to high schools and girls leadership initiatives such as Girl Scouts of America, and Girls Inc. Abrams and Newman will steer special events and corporate sponsorship.

Berkshire HorseWorks™, a 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation, is part of the international EAGALA network of 4,500 certified professionals in 50 countries. For more information on Berkshire HorseWorks or EAGALA, please call (413) 698-3700, email , or visit

Through the power of horses, Berkshire HorseWorks™ provides the tools to cope, challenge, communicate, heal, lead, empathize and thrive in today’s world.

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