ATTLEBORO — On Common Ground, a non-profit organization based in Attleboro that works to improve the lives of individuals experiencing economic, social, and familial problems, will be closing at the end of July.
Maryanne DeChambeau, president of On Common Ground’s board of directors, said the lack of financial sustainability led to the decision to close.
DeChambeau said the board did everything in its power to save the program, meeting weekly to discuss further fundraising options. After many hard and long conversations, she said, the board came to the agreement that it did not have sufficient finances to continue.
According to the non-profit’s website, On Common Ground, which began in 2009, has helped improve the lives of more than 150 people in the area through one-on-one mentor-mentee relationships.
Most of the funding for the programs came from state and national grants.
“We are all really sad about it,” she said. “We really wanted to maintain services.”
DeChambeau said the memories made with On Common Ground will last a lifetime.
She recalled a time when a struggling musician sought help through the non-profit at a time where he struggled with alcoholism, was overwhelmed with student debt, and needed to find a job.
With the help of a trained mentor volunteer, the musician was able to build a resume, started working, and got sober.
“This story will always stick out in my mind,” DeChambeau said.
Norton resident Mark Hoesly has volunteered as a mentor with On Common Ground for the past year and a half and said he’s deeply saddened that the non-profit is closing.
However, he said the closing will not affect his relationship between himself and his mentee, and he will continue to do all he can to help his him.
Hoesly said the program has given him the opportunity to “develop a friendship that has gone beyond the mentor-mentee relationship.”
“It’s been a real gift to me,” he added.
Attleboro resident and former On Common Ground fundraising coordinator Jax Adele, said the non-profit was a place anyone struggling could go to and get connected with someone who truly cared about them.
“I’m sorry to see it go,” Adele said. “I loved On Common Ground and the people.”
Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux served on the board of directors of On Common Ground for a few years until he ran for office.
Heroux said the non-profit provided a valuable service to Attleboro that truly helped the lives of many in need.
“They had a unique niche,” Heroux said, referencing the non-profit’s mentor-mentee program.
Heroux said he encourages those who are in need of help to seek out other resources in town, including the St.Vincent de Paul Society and Self Help.
Heroux said he was thankful for the work done by volunteers at On Common Ground.
Saturday will mark the final Blessing of the Bikes at LaSalette Shrine, an annual On Common Ground fundraiser. The event runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and all proceeds will contribute to the necessary closing costs, DeChambeau said.
“I’m struck by the community and their willing will to step up and help us out throughout the years,” DeChambeau added.