“Manos Unidas Cooperative serves, uplifts and empowers people in the urban city of Pittsfield, MA who  have been marginalized by their identity, their race or national origin, their mental health or disability status, or  simply from their impoverished backgrounds. Since 1995 and continuing, we have utilized a movement building paradigm to build a strong mutual aid network. We  strengthen each other through skill-sharing, leadership development, advocacy work, bi-lingual  resources, art infused healing modalities, and community programming. We co-collaborate with other  movement building groups to build better economic conditions for our members and their families.

We have long carried the torch for equity organizing for food justice and food sovereignty, youth activism,  collective journalism, women’s health, and economic self determination.

This year Marksham Nathan Funds will support us in the following areas and we are so excited! –

Stipends for adult and youth leaders as they increase food sovereignty education at Madre Jardin, a community garden at the nexus of two of our most impoverished neighborhoods as well as planning  and co-organizing for food sovereignty expansion in 2024 on increased donated acreage in the westside of Pittsfield.

Stipends for leaders supporting Corazonidos Community School, a multicultural bi-lingual student focused social development programming which provides a Montessori Whole Child Curriculum, meeting students 4x’s a week at parks and housing projects as well as planning for a pilot program starting September in three of Pittsfield’s schools located in Pittsfield’s most impoverished neighborhoods. We hope the program will actively provide youth preventative care and eventually overturn Pittsifels’s current statitic of being the second in the commonwealth for youth suicide and opiod overdose.

Stipends for members leading our coalition for Police Accountability as we organize in allyship with Marisol  Estrella, our longtime member, after her son was killed by Police in a mental health crisis March, 2022. This Summer we will revive our alternatives to policing focus through a standout in May that honors Miguel, her son’s life. and all our youths’ livelihood and plan out our meetings with city counselors to continue movement toward alternatives to policing.

Stipends for leaders of Mujeres Moviendo Montanas, a immigrant women’s empowerment group, who are co-leading the planning of our collaborative land project in a nearby hilltown of Worthington, MA to include retreats  and support for women escaping violence, and to support women with addiction.

Stipends for Fronteras Comunes Bi-lingual Social Justice Art Zine leaders to collectively edit, interpret, and publish the next issue due out this August supporting inclusion and language justice for those who create it and those who read it!” Nicole Fecteau, Manos Unidas