Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Q&A with Maribeth Casey, Winner of the 2014 Pamela B. Art Humanitarian Award

The award, given annually, honors a Storey employee who enriches her or his community through charitable work.

Maribeth Casey, with her award.
Photo by Mars Vilaubi
In her job as International and Club Sales Manager, Maribeth Casey represents Storey all over the world, from Canada to Germany and beyond. But Maribeth is a lifelong resident of the Williamstown/North Adams area and, when she’s not on the road, she’s been a tireless advocate for her home community and its residents. From serving meals at the Berkshire Food Pantry and serving on the board of the Northern Berkshire YMCA, to regular participation in school activities and active fundraising for the Northern Berkshire United Way (and much, much more!), Maribeth is the embodiment of passion, dedication, and generosity. Storey Publishing is lucky to have her, and we’re so pleased to share the news that was recently named the 2014 winner of the Pamela B. Art Humanitarian Award. Congratulations, Maribeth!

When you were growing up, who were the role models who inspired and helped you develop your compassion for others?

I grew up in a family of five kids, all pretty close in age. I was second to my older sister. My dad worked long days in Albany so my mother needed as much help as possible with our three younger brothers. I spent a lot of time in the summers babysitting and overseeing younger cousins.

Your connections to this area run deep! How have you gone about finding the causes that were most important to you? 

When I was in my twenties, I wasn’t that aware of the community’s needs. When we bought our first home in North Adams and, living here, poverty and social issues became more apparent to me. Sprague Electric had just shut down, many white collar jobs moved from the area, the housing market was flooded, and many manufacturing jobs were lost.  The 80s were a difficult time for North Adams. I felt fortunate to have a good job at Storey and asked John and Martha if they would consider giving to the United Way and matching employee funds, which they agreed to. At that time, I was serving on an allocation committee. At first it was just Northern Berkshire but we had employees in Bennington, Hoosick, NY, and Pittsfield, so our reach broadened over the years to include other United Ways. We’ve always had a high percentage of employees who give.

What are some of the positive differences you’ve seen take hold here as a result of the work of community organizations?

There are a lot of social agencies working to help this community be a better place and I’m sure I don’t know all the good work they do. I think it’s great that the farmer’s market accepts food stamps so people can have access to fresh, local produce. Whoever thought of that deserves a big pat on the back. It would be great if that could be extended to showing people how to cook more healthfully and stretch their dollars. One thing I would love to see make a comeback are the community gardens that the hospital started a couple of years ago. That’s a project Storey should be involved in reviving (hint, hint).

Over the years, how has Storey supported employees’ community-minded efforts?

Storey has always been generous about providing time off to volunteer but has also supported local fund raising efforts with donations, provided free books, and participated in local events. The Holiday Elf program has been helping hundreds of kids and families for over thirty years.

I just want to say that I feel honored to be recognized for this award and to follow in the paths of [last year’s award recipient] Deb Burns and [former Storey president] Pam Art, two people I deeply admire.

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