Letter to Editor

To the Editor, Berkshire Record:
I am writing in response to the front page story about Lenox’s nonprofit organization, EnlightenNext, in last week’s issue of the Record. I’m appalled by the shoddy reporting, which relied on hearsay by what a disgruntled individual said—someone who left his job at the organization over five years ago, and who, out of spite, chooses to present a distorted and untrue picture through his own disgruntled lenses.
Why didn’t the Berkshire Record talk to the many local businesses who have been happily doing business with EnlightenNext for over ten years? Businesses like neighbors High Lawn Farms, Apple Tree Inn, Guido’s, Shear Designs, Heller & Associates? And local friends like John Toole? Did the Berkshire Record forget about the “Voices from the Edge” speaker series that brought cutting edge thinkers to Foxhollow in Lenox for 3 years, adding to the wealth of cultural experiences offered to local residents and visitors here in the Berkshires? Did they ask people who enjoyed the warm community atmosphere at EnlightenNext’s open air jazz concerts, where Mike Stern and other jazz greats performed on the lawn overlooking Laurel Lake? Did your reporter speak with students of EnlightenNext who have created environmental fairs in the region to help educate our citizens about global warming? Or contact associates of EnlightenNext who serve as nurses in our area hospitals? Or for that matter, their proud employers?
Reporter Michael Kelley certainly didn’t bother to speak with me to check his story, and I’ve been a student of EnlightenNext for 22 years, and just helped raise $600,000 for Haiti by spearheading the recent James Taylor concerts at the Mahaiwe.
He also failed to consult the experience of thousands who have participated in EnlightenNext’s programs to deepen their understanding of what it means to be active contributors to life, contemplating how best to use our privilege and advantages to help create a better future.
This isn’t the work of an organization mired in controversy. Unless it’s become controversial to try to make a real difference in this world, for the good of all.
Susan Olshuff
Fundraising consultant, community organizer
Lenox