This is a letter no leader ever wants to write.
Crotched Mountain has a rich history of serving people with disabilities, going all the way back to 1953 when Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center first opened to support people with polio. The Mission has evolved several times over the decades in order to provide support to the most challenged by disabilities. Over the course of almost 70 years, we have done so much good for so many. It is a proud legacy.
Our organization has had financial challenges for many years. It costs an incredible amount to operate our campus. Most years, we have had large budget deficits to support our programs and meet our commitments to the people we serve. In addition, there have been events like the Great Recession of 2009 that weakened us financially.
We have tried many things to help our financial situation, including closing the hospital, moving ATECH Services to the State of NH, and, last year, drastically cutting our budgets and workforce. Leadership has spent considerable time and effort looking for new programs, new partnerships and other opportunities to bring more resources to support our programs. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit us.
As a result, we suspended services like Ready Set Connect, froze all student admissions, and increased our spending to support our incredible direct care staff who sacrificed so much to keep our residents safe. I would not change a thing about our response to this crisis. But the hard truth is, these steps meant our plans had to change.
As such, the Board of Directors of the Crotched Mountain Foundation unanimously voted to wind down all operations on the Greenfield campus. By November 1, we plan to have no more residents on our campus, nor in our off campus staffed adult group homes.
While we are saying goodbye to the student and adult residential and educational programs, our intention is to see Crotched Mountain’s mission live on in the community through CMCC, Ready Set Connect, REM, CMARS, and our ISO shared home program.
Even though I’ve been CEO for only eight months, I understand the magic of Crotched Mountain and the promise of our Mission. As we wind-down our Mountain operations, we will stay true to this promise – that Crotched Mountain was always more than a mountain. It was an idea, a belief that people with disabilities can find comfort and joy and compassion, while supported by those who gave of themselves every day.
Ned Olney, President and CEO
Crotched Mountain Foundation