Join the Award-Winning Leadership Accelerator Program!

The Spring 2024 cohort is in progress.

Are you a community leader or influencer with a passion for making a difference in your community? Are you looking for support, training, and resources to help take your project, organization, or business to the next level? Do you want to connect with like-minded leaders and find a community of support and encouragement? Look no further!

The Problem

The current system often concentrates power and limits the voices
of many Black community stakeholders.

Our program aims to change this by fostering a more collaborative approach to Black community-based talent development and leadership.

We believe that by connecting individuals with similar talent and drive,
we are creating a more robust and shared talent pool that can scale community-based advocacy and municipality-based services.

This program serves as a direct pipeline to build more diversity, equity, and inclusiveness on planning boards, civic committees, and other decision-making bodies in the city.

By supporting the growth and development of Black leaders in the community,
we are creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for all.

Join us and let’s work together to create a better future for the City of Pittsfield.

Are You Ready to Make Your Community Better, Safer, and Stronger?

Are you ready to take action and make a difference in your community? Join The Blackshires Leadership Accelerator and become a part of a powerful network of Black leaders working to improve income, homeownership, incarceration, and health outcomes in the community.

Our program offers a stipend of $2500, community-based training, cohort support, leadership development, networking, and resources to help you achieve your goals. We’ll also provide ongoing coaching, technical support, and opportunities to connect with other leaders in the community.

Don’t wait, take the first step towards making a real impact in your community by applying to The Blackshires Leadership Accelerator today. Together, we can create a more equitable and just future for the entire community.

Program Goals

Open the pipeline

Open a pipeline for Black community members who want to improve their community by providing support for the growth of skills and capacity.

Build and empower a network

Build and empower a network of community leaders to collaborate and cooperate around community-based projects and a centralized Black agenda.

Provide a platform for change

Provide the Berkshire Black community with a platform to give voice to the barriers, challenges, ideas, strategies, and solutions for inclusiveness and equitable resource distribution at the decision-making tables of nonprofits, such as boards, committees, and executive positions.

Develop strategies and tools

Provide tools and resources that will assist Black community members who are interested in serving on nonprofit boards.

Building Cooperative Infrastructure

Identify and eliminate racialized barriers that deter the Berkshire Black community from serving on nonprofit boards.

Interested in joining us?

Who is this for?

Ideal Participants

The Blackshires Leadership Accelerator is for Black community members who want to make a difference in their community and are looking for resources, funding, and support to achieve their goals. This program is ideal for:

  • Individuals and organizations who have ideas on how to improve issues in their community and want to take action to make a positive impact.

  • Individuals who see themselves as leaders or potential leaders in their community and want to develop their skills and gain the support they need to make a real difference.

  • Black community members who have business ideas they want to develop and bring to fruition

  • Black community members who are seeking funding and resources for their initiatives and want to connect with other leaders and organizations in the community.

If you’re passionate about making a difference in your community and are ready to take the next step, then The Blackshires Leadership Accelerator is for you!

Ready to join the program?

What’s in it for you?

Program Benefits

The Blackshires Leadership Accelerator offers a unique opportunity for community leaders and influencers to develop their skills and make a real impact in their communities. With a stipend of $2500, our program provides comprehensive support and training, including:

  • Community-based training and cohort support: Learn from other leaders and gain valuable insights and strategies to take your project, organization, or business to the next level.

  • Leadership development: Develop the skills and strategies you need to be a successful leader and make a real impact in your community.

  • Networking and connections: Connect with local Black leaders and organizations, as well as power players and decision-makers in the community.

  • Arts, business, and community projects: Take tours around the Berkshires to learn about the different aspects of the community and gain a deeper understanding of the issues and opportunities in your area.

  • Celebration and fun: Our program includes events and activities that celebrate the community and help you connect with other leaders in a fun and relaxed setting.

  • Ongoing coaching and technical support: Even after the program ends, you’ll have access to ongoing coaching and technical support to help you continue to develop your skills and achieve your goals.

Join us, and let’s work together to make a difference in our communities!

Want to connect with other leaders?

What’s the approach?

Program Experience

The Blackshires Leadership Accelerator is committed to a multi-pronged approach to provide guidance and support for our community’s leaders.  

Leadership and Self

    • Starting with our retreat at Kripalu, we will be focused on the practices that sustain leaders through their journey.  We will help you identify your calling as a leader and share established concepts and best practices that will serve you in any leadership context.

Leadership in Community

      • Weekly sessions include in-person meetings, tours and experiences with some of the community’s leading organizations and businesses.

Project Leadership

    • Each cohort member will be supported in the development of their very own Impact Charter.  This is a detailed plan that can be used to develop, fund and execute any project or business you may be working on.

Interested in being a part of the program?


Most frequent questions and answers

The program will begin March 2nd, 2023, and will kick off with a day and a half retreat at Kripalu.

The program will run for 10-15 weeks, ending in May with a community convening and idea jam to reflect on the experience and create a strategic plan for the future.

We are accepting 10-15 participants into the program.

You can apply online at our website

No, the program is completely free for selected participants! Plus, we will even provide a $2,500 stipend, as well as all meals and transportation.

The program will include various activities such as retreats, biweekly Zoom training and workshops, site visits to events, and more. We also encourage you to bring any current projects or project ideas to the program, as we will have facilitators with technical expertise to assist you.

No specific qualifications or experience are required, but the program is designed for individuals who want to make a difference in their communities.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to grow as a leader and make a real impact! Apply now at If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.

Our Sponsors & Partners

We couldn't do it with our our amazing partners.

Who We Are

We’re a community-focused organization led by people of color, here to empower and enrich the Black community in the Berkshires and surrounding areas. By creating the Blackshires Community Empowerment Foundation, our goal is to help build a strong and healthy economic ecosystem while also providing community empowerment opportunities for current and future leaders and organizations. We understand the struggles and frustrations that many in our community face, and our cooperative framework is designed to help develop the skills and capacities needed to create a vibrant and resilient network of support. So come join us and let’s work together to create a brighter future for our community!


MON-FRI 10:00am - 5:00pm