Enriching lives in a

rural economy



July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019

Hilltown Community Devlopment

387 Main Road, PO Box 17

Chesterfield, MA 01012



Our Mission

We’re building the future of rural America in the Hilltowns of Western

Massachusetts. We enhance its prosperity today by:

• Leveraging funding, investing $50 million in community development over three decades.

• Developing town centers, where residents can walk safely, shop, and greet their neighbors.

• Strengthening small businesses with workshops, counseling, and networking.

• Publishing the Hilltown Business Directory, representing entrepreneurs in 22 towns.

• Supporting local farmers in expanding a healthy food supply—and sales—while advocating

for effective land use and conservation.

• Stimulating the creative economy by showcasing arts, music, culture, and educational

programming, and partnering with small arts groups to leverage grant funding.

We create housing that people can afford and connect residents to social

services provided by us and by our nonprofit partners. We look out for our

Hilltown neighbors by:

• Building and renovating homes and apartments for Hilltown families, seniors, and veterans.

• Making it possible for seniors to live in their Hilltown homes with assistance from the

Hilltown Elder Network and Health Outreach Program for Elders.

• Providing child care subsidies to families in need and feeding families through the

Hilltown Food Pantry.

• Supplying van transportation to seniors in five rural towns.

• Preparing personal income taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.





owners get started,

manage funds,

create growth



housing, creating

70 new homes

and apartments




in our annual

Hilltown Directory

Bringing new

life to

725 homes

through housing


Highlighting the

work of over

175 artists,

helping them

generate income

2 Hilltown Community Development






Affordable rental housing

for Hilltown residents

and seniors in five towns.



Zero-interest deferred

payment loans to help

homeowners make needed

repairs to their homes.

Small Business


Free classes and support

for small businesses to

start, grow, and network

with other businesses.



Programs to assist low

and moderate income

families and seniors with

food security, childcare, and

medical needs.



Van and driver pool

services for seniors 60+

and veterans to help

maintain independence.

Arts, Culture

and Food

Programs to grow the

agricultural and creative

economy to improve the

quality of life for all Hilltown


Annual Report 2019


From the

Executive Director

I hope this annual report provides some useful information for those

of you who read it. The following is a summary of Hilltown Community

Development’s recent work and some of my experiences as the Director.

To start, I want to thank all my co-workers who come to work every day and

dig into rural community development. I am so impressed with everyone I

work with. Everyone at Hilltown CDC is creative, smart, dedicated and friendly.

I also want to thank the Board of Director’s for their commitment in supporting

the mission of this great agency.

The work we do is diverse but always rural. I really enjoy figuring out ways

that this agency can support our rural communities. Many of you know we

build and preserve affordable housing for local residents including seniors.

You may know that we rehabilitated over 700 homes for Hilltown residents and that we provide in-home

chore services to Hilltown seniors. You have probably seen our Annual Hilltown Business Directory

marketing over 300 local Hilltown businesses.

You may not be aware of some of our other efforts. You will learn a little more about our projects in the

following pages. We are working with local farmers, operating a senior van and driver pool, promoting

arts and culture programming and supporting our towns through municipal grants.

Our success is recognized in Boston. I was appointed by the Governor to a new Rural Policy Advisory

Commission and we released our rural state plan this year. This advocacy focuses on equity for

our Hilltowns and begins the conversation with state government around our needs for capacity,

infrastructure investment, land and water management and municipal services that directly impact tax


This kind of advocacy demands a response from our state government which has historically focused

on expanding the state’s urban communities. This is the trend nationally and has been for many

decades. It’s time we remind those in power how we live.

In the age of automation and climate change, rural communities need to develop new economic

opportunities within their geographies and state government needs to be a partner in the way forward.

Part of our work includes advocating with state government on behalf of the Hilltowns.

We want to make sure the Hilltowns remain a beautiful place to live, work, hunt, fish, camp, play and

raise a family. We will continue to fight for a fair deal from state government as we build our strength

and talent in the future.

Thank you,

Dave Christopolis

Executive Director

4 Hilltown Community Development

Rural Economic Development

and Small Business Assistance

Hilltown CDC expanded its small business assistance services this past year to reach more Hilltown

businesses. We offer a series of classes and workshops and one-on-one business counseling each

month from our office in Chesterfield and at the Village Enterprise Center in Chester. We provided web

design, quick books, marketing assistance, legal services, loan referrals and general business consulting

to over 50 Hilltown businesses this past year.

This past year we were also approached by two important businesses in our region: the Williamsburg

Market and the Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington. The owners of the Williamsburg Market contacted

us because they are ready to sell their business after 30 years of operating it and wanted to ensure it was

replaced with another food market. We worked with a group of residents who wanted to explore the

feasibility of attracting a new market to Williamsburg. We were able to set up a fiscal sponsorship and

raise funds to conduct a feasibility study on the market’s potential future business model. We worked

together to develop a work plan and fundraising plan. Hilltown CDC then secured a small business

grant to hire a consultant to conduct a valuation of the business and its property. The community raised

additional funds through donations to pay for a capital needs assessment of the building and to conduct

a community survey. This work has provided vital information to the owners and

those interested in maintaining a food market in Williamsburg. Hilltown CDC will

continue to support this effort. We see the value in having local food available

to Hilltown residents as well as the revenue and local jobs it provides in our


The Old Creamery Co-op is a food market that became a community-owned co-op in

2012 after the previous owners decided to move on. It provides local, healthy food

and employment to Hilltown residents and is currently going through a transition in

management and Board leadership. Our small business program is working with

the Creamery to explore financial resources and business support going forward.

Dave Christopolis, Executive Director

Michele Kenney, Economic Development Coordinator

Our Rural Economic Development Goals include:

• Expanding Small Business support, training and advocacy

• Promoting membership in the local Jacob’s Ladder Business Association

• Offer free tax assistance to low income residents

• Support needs of Select Boards/Town capacity

• Expand housing options

• Promote use of broadband to increase economic activity

• Promote the social benefits of agriculture

• Support agricultural expansion (production and retail), tourism and recreation

• Focus in Town Center Development

• Influence state policy to actualize smart rural development in the Hilltowns

Read the newly released Massachusetts Rural Policy Plan prepared by the MA Rural Policy

Advocacy Commission at hilltowncdc.org

Hilltown Housing

Hilltown CDC owns and manages affordable rental housing, has renovated and constructed first time

homebuyer housing and has planned and developed senior housing. We currently own and manage 53

units of affordable housing in including our newest senior housing development in the town of Goshen.

During FY 2019 Hilltown CDC:

Completed construction and began property management operations at Highland Village Circle, a tenunit

development in Goshen for seniors 62 years and over.

Managed 53 units of affordable housing in the towns of Williamsburg, Chesterfield, Westhampton,

Huntington, and Goshen.

Our Continuum of Care Program has enabled five formerly homeless Veterans and families to establish

stable, safe living environments, further their education and obtain meaningful long-term employment.

Housing Team

Paul Lischetti, Housing Director

Cindy Thibeau, Tenant Services

Stephanie Bean, Property Specialist

6 Hilltown Community Development










Housing Rehabilitation

Our Housing Rehab Program is designed to improve living conditions for low-to-moderate income

households as well as to better the quality of the housing stock in the Hilltowns. The program has

successfully rehabbed over 725 homes in the region over a span of 25+ years.

The Housing Rehabilitation Program provides deferred-payment loans (loans with no payments and

no interest) to income eligible homeowners to make a wide variety of code compliant repairs to their

homes. Repairs can include replacing leaky roofs, energy inefficient windows and doors, and old siding,

fixing failed septic systems, failed wells, rotted decks, porches, and steps, and updating electrical and

plumbing systems along with a sundry of other eligible work. The program provides a source of steady,

year-round employment for area contractors which also helps to improve the local economy.

FY 2019 Housing Rehab Program:

Anticipate rehabbing 22 homes in the towns of Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Peru,

Plainfield, Williamsburg, and Worthington using deferred payment loans for home repairs

and lead paint removal. Deferred

payment loans available for these

repairs total $685,850.00.

FY 2018 Housing Rehab Program:

Rehabilitated 10 homes in the

towns of Chesterfield, Cummington,

Goshen, Peru, Plainfield, and

Worthington using deferred payment

loans for home repairs and lead

paint removal. Deferred payment

loans for these repairs totaled


FY 2017 Housing Rehab Program:

Rehabilitated 18 homes in the

towns of Chesterfield, Cummington,

Goshen, Peru, Plainfield, and

Worthington using deferred payment

loans for home repairs and lead

paint removal. Deferred payment

loans for these repairs totaled


Housing Rehab Team

Paula Bilodeau, Program Manager

Doug Desmarais, Rehab Specialist

Annual Report 2019



Our Hilltown Easy Ride van numbers continue to grow as we go into our third contract year with Franklin

Regional Transit Authority. We served 261 unduplicated riders with 1,374 one-way trips in FY19. We

continue to make good use of the van for medical appointments, grocery and shopping trips on

Tuesdays and Thursdays, and COA outings on Fridays as requested.

We were able to supplement gaps in service with a new program called the Hilltown Driver Pool providing

a limited number of medical rides when the van has a scheduling conflict or program restrictions, such

as re-occurring medical appointments or medical trips to Springfield. Driver Pool drivers get paid for

their time and mileage and drive clients in their personal vehicles. Funds came from MassDOT and Mass

Councils on Aging and it is meant to be a small supplement to the van providing 2-4 rides a week for

situations where van use is not possible.

Transportation Team

Kate Bavelock, Director of Community Programs

Ed Pelletier, Transportation Coordinator

Bob Aeschback & Jim Barrett, Van Drivers

Keep Farming

Through a series of facilitated meetings

over the winter, local producers got together

to identify areas in which they could

collaborate and explore ideas around a

producer’s cooperative to share resources

and connections to new markets. Creating a

local Google group to share information and

partner on ordering and equipment rental

was an easy first step. Larger goals were

in the Hilltowns

discussed, such as a cooperatively owned delivery

vehicle and/or aggregated crops cooperatively

marketed. However, the summer growing season put

planning on hiatus, and we look forward to resuming

in the winter. In addition, the right grants must be

secured to move this initiative forward as currently we

do not have a funding source for this work.

Kate Bavelock, Director of Community Programs

HilltownArts & Culture

Two initiatives move forward our work

on arts and culture as community

development: the second year

of the Hilltown Open

Studio Tour, and the

effort to apply for a

state Cultural District

designation for the

village center in

Cummington. Both

are meant to increase

economic activity

for working artists

in our area and bring

more visitors to the


The Hilltown Open

Studio Tour took place in

June with 23 artists opening

their private studios to visitors

to share their creative spaces and

processes. There were another five artists

showing their work at the William Cullen Bryant

Homestead and the Project Art studio, both in

Cummington. The two-day event saw hundreds of

visitors. The post-event survey showed strong sales

for a second year in a row. This event is a project

of the Hilltown Arts Alliance with the support of

Hilltown Community Development.

A committee has been meeting in preparation

for applying for the state’s Cultural District

designation for the Cummington

Village center. According to the

Mass Cultural Council— “A

cultural district is a specific

geographical area in a city or

town that has a concentration

of cultural facilities, activities,

and assets. It is a walkable,

compact area that is easily

identifiable to visitors and

residents and serves as a

center of cultural, artistic

and economic activity.” The

goals of the cultural districts,

as defined by the legislative

statue, include: attract artists

and cultural enterprises, encourage

business and job development,

establish the district as a tourist destination,

preserve and reuse historic buildings,

enhance property values and foster local cultural

development. Other benefits of the designation

include increased access to state promotional

resources/cultural grants, and a process which

promotes thoughtful and engaged community input

resulting in a design, goals and plan for the district

to improve landscaping, signage, and access.

Kate Bavelock, Director of Community Programs

Annual Report 2019



Mobile Market

The launch of the Hilltown Mobile Market in collaboration with

Healthy Hampshire and the Hilltown Community Health Center

this summer in Worthington and Huntington has been a fun and

rewarding way to bring locally grown produce to more Hilltown

folks, many of whom have food security challenges and for whom

distance and cost to buy local produce has been a barrier. Previous

Hilltown farmers markets have failed to generate enough foot

traffic and sales to justify the farmers’ time. This model with a

grant funded market manager collecting produce from numerous

participating farms appears to be an effective way to increase

local food access. Thirty-four customers signed up ahead of time

for produce shares, many subsidized by the Healthy Incentives

Program (HIP) for SNAP (food stamps) recipients, making up

the core of the market. Additional produce was also available

so that anyone passing by could purchase fresh tomatoes, corn,

peaches, blueberries and anything else available. Produce came

primarily from Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield, Intervale Farm in

Westhampton, Hart Farm in Conway, Sawyer Farm in Worthington,

Four Corners Farm in Worthington, Berniche Family Blueberry Farm

in Chesterfield, and Mansfield Farm in Worthington.

Mobile Market Team

Kate Bavelock, Director of Community Programs

Seva Tower, Marketing & Community Outreach

Fletcher Schneeflock, Market Manager

10 Hilltown Community Development

Social Services

& Community Development Block Grant Programs

As the Town of Chesterfield’s grant administrator for the Community Development Block Grant, Hilltown

CDC seeks to support the highest possible quality of life for the most vulnerable residents of our

Hilltown community. To achieve this, we work to bring social services to the residents of the Hilltowns

through organization, advocacy, resource development and direct program administration. In the past

year, Hilltown CDC oversaw the following social service activities with the resulting achievements:

The Hilltown Elder Network (HEN) delivered nearly 8,100 hours of in-home caregiving services, primarily

chores and roughly 19,000 miles of transportation assistance to over 112 low-income Hilltown elders.

HEN staff provided transportation for medical and other necessary purposes.

HEN participants range from 66 to 99 years of age, averaging 83 years of age. 100% of HEN participants

are extremely low, very low or low income by federal standards. Hilltown CDC also received other

funding for the HEN Program from Hampshire County United Way, the Eleanor Schwartz Charitable

Foundation, Highland Valley Elder Services, the Town of Williamsburg and private donations.

Hilltown CDC also secured Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and provided

monitoring and oversight for three additional locally-based social service programs:

The Health Outreach Program for Elders (HOPE) is administered by

Hilltown Community Health Centers. HOPE Nurses and a Podiatric

Specialist provided 441 in-home nursing care and podiatric visits

to over 87 eligible homebound elders through-out the Hilltowns.

These services are at no cost to the patients. Call (413)-238-5511

Child Care Subsidies provided subsidy/financial assistance to

income eligible households for day care expenses for parents or

guardians who are working, in school or in a job training program.

Nine subsidies were provided to seven families.

The Hilltown Food Pantry served eligible residents of the northern

Hampshire County Hilltowns by providing monthly distributions of

supplemental foods. The Hilltown Food Pantry is administered by

the Northampton Survival Center at a site located in Goshen. This

past year, the Pantry distributed 65,458 pounds of food serving

over 167 individuals from 895 visits to the Pantry. The Pantry’s Kids

Summer School Lunch Program served 40-80 eligible children and

distributed about 2,750 meals during summer vacation.

Social Services Team

Charlie Hayes, Social Services Program Manager

Robyn Laferriere, HOPE Nurse Coordinator

Steve Herzberg, Childcare Subsidy Cordinator

Diane Meehan, Goshen Food Pantry Coordinator

Annual Report 2019




Donors over $20,000

Eleanor Schwartz Foundation #

Massachusetts Housing Investment

Corporation (MHIC) #

United Way of Merrimac Valley

We are very grateful for the donations made

to our agency this past year. Local investments

in our mission keep resources in the

Hilltowns. We would like to recognize and

thank the following donors as of July 2019.

% Restricted Donation

# Special state program that provides 90%

additional donor contribution

Community Investment

Hilltown CDC offers tax credits to donors who

choose to invest in community development


The Community Investment Tax Credit is a

state law passed in 2014 designed to support

community led economic development initiatives

through a strategic, market-based approach that

leverages private contributions and builds strong

local partnerships.

The CITC provides a 50% tax credit for qualified

contributions to Hilltown CDC. The goal, according

to the statute, is "to enable local residents and

stakeholders to work with and through CDCs to

partner with nonprofit, public and private entities

to improve economic opportunities for low-andmoderate

income households and other residents

in urban, rural and suburban communities across

the commonwealth."

Tax credits can support a broad array of

community development efforts, as determined

by the local community, including affordable

housing, job development, business development

and neighborhood revitalization. They will also

support creative new efforts to link community

development efforts to public health, education,

the creative economy, public safety and

environmental sustainability.

Community Investment Tax Credits are equal to

50% of the donation made by a corporation, an

individual or a non-profit institution. The tax credit

Continued on next page

12 Hilltown Community Development

Donors $5,000-$20,000

Cooley Dickinson Hospital #

Florence Savings Bank

Caleb Harris & Lynne Scott

Berkshire Bank Foundation

Donors $1,001—$4,999

Eleanor Winston & Victoria Pearson

Sandra Epperly

Susan Mikula & Rachel Maddow %

Richard Sias

Conrad Liebenow

Claire Bateman %

Donors - $1,000

Felicity Hardee

Jane Martin

William Schusser

George & June Hinton

Amy Meltzer & Philip McArthur

David O’Connor & Lillian Jen

Tamarin & Adair Laurel

Steve & Suzanne Kulik

Susan Stitzel & Deborah Estelle

Chadine Bailie Ford & Patrick Ford

John Nelson & Jeanne Sargent

Jean & Ed O’Neil

Tax Credits

will be refundable if the donor does not have

sufficient tax liability. Therefore, Hilltown CDC

will be able to use tax credits to attract private

donations each year. When combined with federal

tax deductions, donors will be able to leverage

the net cost of their contribution to create deeper

community impact.

Donors who invest in Hilltown CDC provide flexible

working capital that can be used to seed new

programs, such as senior transportation and

in-home senior services, fill funding gaps, and

leverage other resources.

Oversight is shared by our community-based Board

of Directors, DHCD and the private donors, with

CDCs submitting annual progress reports to MA

DHCD that will be available to the legislature and

the public.

The Act limits the tax credits to $3 million in 2014

and $6 million from 2015 thru 2019. The program

will be extended for an additional 6 years through


Hilltown CDC engaged the community regarding

this new opportunity and as a result, we have

raised over $930,000 from donors who support our


To learn more about this program contact Hilltown

CDC, Denise LeDuc, CFO at 413-296-4536 ext. 114

or denisel@hilltowncdc.org.

Annual Report 2019


Hilltown Community Development Corporation and Subsidiaries

Agency Revenue and Expenditures

Fiscal Year July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019

Overall Agency Revenue- Total $3,534,685



$52,212 $153,433




Grants Memberships, Donations Foundations

Fee for Service Real Estate Development Fees Rental Property Mgmt (includes DCC)

Other Income (Includes Interest)

Overall Agency Expenses - Total $3,359,557

before depreciation

Social Services



Professional Services



Property Management





Operating Supplies

Allocated Building Interest

Other Property/Old Program

Other Office Expenses








0 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 1,400,000

14 Hilltown Community Development

Administrative Team

Denise LeDuc, Director of Finance and Administration

Mary Ellen Dearstyne, Grants/Project Accountant

Bea Von Hagke, CDBG & Special Projects Manager

Kathy Ford, Worthington Senior Center Project Manager

Seva Tower, Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator

Scott Carpenter, Custodian

FY19 Program and Operating Funds


Contributions from community residents and businesses

Rental payments from Davenport Child Care and HCDC rental housing tenants


Contributions from Berkshire Bank

Contributions and loans from Florence Savings Bank

Contributions from the United Way of Hampshire County

Grant from United Way of Berkshire County

Grant from the Eleanor Schwartz Charitable Foundation

Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation

Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Grant from Highland Valley Elder Services (HVES)

Subsidy from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board

Loans and grants from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund

Pro-bono legal services by Attorney Felicity Hardee

Rural LISC

Franklin County Regional Transit Authority

Healthy Hampshire

Hilltown CDC receives support from a wide variety of public and private sources. Our programs

and operations in Fiscal 2019 were funded by:

State & Federal:

Grants from the Mass. Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD): Community

Development Block Grant (CDBG)

USDA Local Food promotion Program

Grants from HUD for the Continuum of Care Homeless Program

Grant funds from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation

Grants from Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

Fee for Service:

These include fees for research, grant writing, grant administration, project management and

other special projects, including:

Consulting fees from Hilltown CDC’s Business Assistance Program

Listings and ads in the Hilltown Business Directory

Our Board

Susan Bronstein, President


Michele Morris, Vice President


Caleb Harris, Treasurer


Nicholas Cockoros


Shelley Moreau


Sylvia Snape


Susan Slattery, Clerk


Annual Report 2019


Hilltown Community Devlopment

387 Main Road, PO Box 17

Chesterfield, MA 01012



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