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clay tools, clay workshops

As We Prepare to Reopen

This letter was sent to the Snow Farm community on August 2, 2020. 

Dear Snow Farm community,

We are days away from reopening, and I want to share an update.

During normal operations, Snow Farm:The New England Craft Program derives approximately 75% of its operating budget from earned income which comes primarily from residential craft workshops. As you probably know, Snow Farm is a relatively young nonprofit; the last four years were a period of strong growth. However, Snow Farm does not have an endowment or significant cash reserves. In 2019, in a financial wellness workshop series held by the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Snow Farm was identified as operationally healthy, but “vulnerable to shocks.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is exactly the kind of unexpected shock that could devastate Snow Farm. Since March, we have cancelled over half of our year's programming. At the same time, we reduced expenses in every way imaginable, including laying off 3 of 9 staff members, reducing hours for others, asking vendors for discounts, eliminating a print catalog for 2021, and cancelling special services (i.e. lawn care).
Snow Farm is a resilient and nimble organization. We are so proud to be opening soon for in-person workshops; other craft schools who have closed for the year are looking to us as a leader. We have integrated new health guidelines relevant to lodging, restaurants, schools, and workplaces, an investment of over $20,000 and all of our staff is back working their regular hours. We have a fully planned program for 2021 and feel strongly that the steps we are taking now will serve us well as we move forward. Our first three workshops on Aug 6 - 9 are sold out!

We have seen tremendous generosity from our community over the last months with over $60,000 in gifts, including many first time donors and many who have doubled and tripled their annual gifts. Still, despite all our efforts, we are facing nearly $350,000 in lost earned revenue.

If you are able, we ask for your support at this critical time. All gifts are valued and make a difference.


I believe that Snow Farm is essential; I can't tell you how often someone says to me: I depend on Snow Farm to feed my soul or My visit to Snow Farm keeps me going all year long.

If Snow Farm is essential to YOU, please give generously.

Mary Jo Murphy
Executive Director