The Berkshire Eagle reports Northern Berkshire United Way numbers tell the story of the last year.

The organization's campaign goal was $470,000. The amount raised ended up being $477,667. And this year's campaign goal is $480,000.

But numbers tell the story in a different way, according to North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard, who addressed the agency's annual meeting and campaign kickoff breakfast on Friday at the Williams Inn. After making sure that none of his old math teachers were in the room, Bernard spoke about "the math of community building."

A community, he said, starts with one -- one person, one agency, etc., on its own, with no connection. Once that one connects with another, two "nodes" are formed, and so on as connections grow.

Once there are 20 points, there are 190 connections. And with the roughly 180 people in the room at Friday's meeting, that represents more than 16,000 connections.

That's worth remembering as the Northern Berkshire region blooms with possibilities -- like all of the recent development with projects with Tourists and Greylock Works -- but also continues to struggle with poverty, addiction and an aging population.

One person who was particularly good at that was Al Nelson, who led the Northern Berkshire United Way from 1981 to 1996 before involving himself in myriad other community endeavors. Nelson passed away earlier this year, Please connect.


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