Bidwell honored for philanthropic work

NORTHAMPTON — Dennis Bidwell of Northampton has been honored for his work in philanthropy by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council.

Bidwell, president of the board of National Priorities Project, is owner of Bidwell Advisors at 19 Forbes Ave., which provides a range of real estate services to non-profit organizations, private property owners, government agencies and other clients.

As recipient of the Pioneer Valley Distinguished Advisor in Philanthropy Award, Bidwell receives a $1,000 grant which he can give to the charity of his choice. Bidwell is sending the money to the Cancer Connection, which he called “a wonderful, homegrown organization.”

“They do an incredible job with providing important services with limited resources, and I’m a big fan of what they do,” said Bidwell.

He founded his business in 2001, after serving as the national real estate director for American Farmland Trust, a nonprofit land conservation organization, where he developed Farm Legacy Program, which combined real estate with planned giving.

Bidwell has also served on the boards of other nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, and Northampton Youth and Community Rowing. And he founded the crew team at Northampton High School.

According to Kristin Leutz, vice president of philanthropic services at Community Foundation, the award aims to recognize the role professional advisers play as “champions of philanthropy.” She said other community foundations host similar awards.

To be considered for the award, nominees must have a letter from a nonprofit organization and a nomination from a peer. Members of the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council review the nominations and make the selection.

Jo Comerford, formerly executive director of the National Priorities Project, nominated Bidwell for the award.

“Dennis and I worked very closely together — he was a terrific problem-solver, terrific developer of resources, and he was a real terrific galvanizing force for the board,” she said. “The thing I loved most was that he’s both an idea person, and then he’s a do-er. He implements, or helps implement ideas.”

For his part, Bidwell said he feels committed to working for nonprofit organizations, which he maintains “are essential in almost every aspect of our lives.”

“They do things people can’t do on their own, and things the government can’t do,” said Bidwell. “I’ve enjoyed working for such organizations as a volunteer and staff or consultant for virtually my whole career.”

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