Urgent Notice from the Kismet Board of Directors

Dear friends of Kismet Rock Foundation:

After 20 years of work at our mission, we find ourselves facing difficult decisions this year, with little choice but to confront the possibility of the organization’s closure. This letter is our plea to the Kismet community: join us to keep the promise we made to the students who have already spent a season or more with us, and make it possible for them to graduate from the program.

The predicament we are in is a result of the ‘perfect storm’ of organizational transitions, and I share them with you in the interest of complete transparency. After our founder’s involvement was scaled back, the Board worked hard to find an appropriate ongoing role for him as an employee or advisor. The effort was unsuccessful and the ensuing transition period has been both consuming and draining. It has resulted in the loss of many valuable and dedicated team members, including board members and our executive director, all over the past two months. Our office manager resigned in that same time period for personal reasons.

We simply do not have the capacity to continue to offer the programs at the level we were planning to in 2019, and potentially beyond. Our primary focus is and will remain the survival of Kismet and endurance of the Kismet mission; that said, given time and financial constraints, for the time being we are limited to a short-term perspective in our efforts.

At the core of the Kismet culture is a commitment to our students, many of whom have endured too many disappointments and too much abandonment in their young lives. While we seek ways to reinvigorate the organization for the long run, we are hopeful that, at a minimum, we can still organize and offer Kismet’s programs to the students we have already committed to, allowing them to graduate from the program. (As you may know, the program is designed for students to join for one week per summer for four years.) In order to meet this goal, Kismet must find, on a permanent or interim basis, a new staff leader for the organization and the financial resources to operate this reduced program.

To fulfill this promise to our students we are turning to you, the Kismet community, for support. $100,000 is needed to operate a reduced program during the 2019 summer season, including staffing, student transportation and housing, insurances, etc. We are also seeking community members with experience in finance, personnel, or legal matters to help guide this process along with the current Kismet Board.

We will be hosting an online and an in-person discussion session in January for the Kismet community, to answer questions about this situation and our plans. If you’d like to join a discussion session, please respond to this email and we’ll send along additional details.

You’ll receive no other requests from us. If we are not able to fulfill our volunteer, organizational, and funding requirements by February 1, 2019, we will be forced to cease operations indefinitely or permanently. If you are able to help, please do so today.

If you have questions, or if you have resources or ideas to share, please don’t hesitate to contact co-chair Janet Wilkinson at janetbwilkinson@gmail.com.


The Kismet Rock Foundation Board of Directors



Dana Etra, Co-Chair
Janet Wilkinson, Co-Chair
Adam Lane-Olsen, Treasurer
Lindsey Garland
Pete Masterson
Ari Moulton
Gashim Nyapir
James Torpey

Donate here, or mail a check to Kismet Rock Foundation, P.O. Box 1744, North Conway, NH 03860