In the late 1960s, while visiting their children at a special needs summer camp, a group of parents discussed the dismal reality facing their children as they approached adulthood. Frustrated by the status quo and desperate to find an alternative to institutionalized care, this group of committed parents worked tirelessly to create an enlightened new model of community living for their adult children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). They formed the corporation New England Village (NEV) in 1966, and three years later, they selected the old Sutton Estate in Pembroke as their site to build. In 1972, their dreams became a reality when the first 13 residents stepped over the threshold of their new homes at New England Village.
Today, with multiple locations, modern facilities, and a specialized team of highly skilled and dedicated human service professionals, New England Village serves more than 150 individuals with IDD, including autism and Down syndrome, and sensory disabilities such as hearing and vision impairment. We provide a variety of innovative programs and customized supports.
New England Village’s mission is to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to realize their potential and pursue their dreams through innovative programs and community living. We embrace the philosophy that individual choice and self-determination should direct all of our services, and we encourage the people we support to pursue a life that is personally meaningful to them.
Help us do the work that truly makes a difference in people’s lives.
All of New England Village’s services including our staff’s approach to their work, are based on NEV’s core beliefs regarding the best way to support people with disabilities.
People thrive when they make their own choices; people with disabilities are capable of, and have the right to, make their own decisions – where they live, work and recreate
Engaging and participating in community life with an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with friends, volunteers, and co-workers has a positive impact on people with disabilities and on the greater community.
Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, including the staff we employ. We are committed to equity and inclusion across race, gender identity or expression, age.
Supports and services are designed first and foremost for people with disabilities – not the organization, the staff, or loved ones.
All NEV services will be integrated, and NEV-run property will be used as a center for programs, services, and recreation for participants and members of the broader community.
People with disabilities should have the same access to education, jobs, recreation, housing, and transportation as other members of the community.
Well-trained and motivated employees make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and ensure a high quality of life.
Governance and Funding
Governed by a board of directors which is strengthened by the active participation of many NEV family members, New England Village is managed by a Chief Executive Officer and senior leadership. Our services and programs are funded through private fees, state agencies, including the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, MassHealth, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, private insurance companies, and philanthropic gifts. New England Village is financially stable and will remain so over the long term due in part to The New England Village Endowment Fund, which continues to grow thanks to the generosity of our families and friends.
Board of Directors
Sabrina Nicholson — Chair
Sabrina Nicholson works in Communications and Business Development at Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company developing therapeutics for cancer and inflammatory diseases. She has served on the Board of New England Village since 2006 in various capacities including Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. Sabrina’s brother, Kyle Hundley, joined NEV’s day habilitation program in 2003 and moved into House 4 in 2012.Sabrina has an AB in biology from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in Wellesley with her husband, Bob who is a member of NEV’s Investment Committee. Sabrina and Bob have two grown children, Abby and Jake.
Heather Wilson — Treasurer
Heather Wilson is VP, Commercial Loan Officer at South Shore Bank. She has been with South Shore Bank for 21 years and specializes in Commercial & Industrial and Commercial Real Estate lending. Heather has been a NEV Board and Finance Committee member since 2018. She currently resides in Kingston with her husband and two sons.
Diane Dufault — Secretary
Diane Dufault is a retired French teacher who has served on the New England Village Board of Directors for more than 30 years (collectively) and held the role of Secretary for many years including this term. She is a past Chair of the Siblings Committee and Vice President of the NEV Family Association. A resident of Scituate, she serves on the Scituate Sister City Project and the Scituate Sucy en Brie Sister City committee. She likes to read, garden, golf, kayak, speak French and spend time with her three young grandsons. Diane’s sister has resided at New England Village for 50 years.
Cindy Rehnberg Crimmins is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who has worked with children, adults, and families for over 40 years. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she focused on Mainstreaming Children with Special Needs, and went on to Smith College School for Social Work to receive her MSW. Cindy’s career began in the Vassar Wimpfeimer Nursery School and continued to a model Care and Education Program affiliated with the Yale Child Study Center. Cindy has mentored providers of Early Intervention through the Federation for Children with Special Needs and has extensively supervised both graduate students and staff working in the fields of Early Childhood and Community Mental Health. In addition to practicing within a group private practice for over 25 years, she taught at the undergraduate and graduate school levels at Mt. Ida and Wheelock colleges. Cindy’s most rewarding and challenging vocation has been nurturing and advocating for her 25-year-old daughter with Down syndrome and Autism.
Charline Gay is the Senior Strategy Manager at Optum, Inc., a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, Inc. In this role, she leads the development of Optum at Home strategic initiatives to enhance population health care models, value delivery and external growth in the market. Before joining Optum, she was the Director of Strategic Initiatives at UnitedHealthcare’s Massachusetts Health Plan, Program Manager for Medicaid Accountable Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Program Manager at the Office of Medicaid (“MassHealth”) of Massachusetts’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services where she worked on behavioral health policy, community-based program development, and the MassHealth ACO program.
She received her Master of Public Health in 2015 from Columbia University and her undergraduate degree in 2010 from Tufts University.
Susan McCowan graduated from Boston College with a degree in Management and Computer Science. Her first career was as a software engineer and progressed into the role of Software Development Manager for State Street Corporation where she worked for over 10 years. Her second career needed to be a different one after becoming the mom to twins; one of which has significant medical needs, Down Syndrome and Autism. This has been her greatest challenge and greatest reward as she has advocated for her daughter Kelly and helped to blaze new pathways for her where none previously existed. Sue is happiest helping others with problems and volunteers to meet and work with families needing help with educational or medical advocacy; or simply to provide emotional support to new parents. Sue’s second career has been as an entrepreneur, as she has run her own jewelry business for over 20 years. Sue and her husband Dave currently live in Scituate, MA and have 3 daughters.
Joe Olivere, retired General Manager/Director of Ryder Transportation, Miami, Florida. Joe was responsible for commercial sales and leasing operations for Ryder in Boston, Providence, and Worcester for over 20 years. Joe sits on the development committee at NEV and chairs the annual Family Association golf tournament. Additionally, Joe and his wife, Jayne, were cofounders of the Super Saturday’s recreation program which services over 60 families in their hometown of Braintree. Their middle daughter, Elizabeth, has been a resident at New England Village for the last 8 years. Joe is a graduate of Babson College, Wellesley, MA
William Ray, III
Kaitlyn (Katie) C. Sapp
Katie Sapp is a trust and estate planning attorney at Day Pitney LLP. She counsels individuals and families on all aspects of estate planning, particularly planning for families with loved ones with special needs. Katie has experience assisting clients with trust and estate administration, while counseling families through probate, tax concerns and guardianship matters. She received her J.D. at Boston University School of Law and her undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut.
Scott serves as the Chief Legal Officer of EngageSmart, Inc. a public technology company. An experienced legal, security, and compliance executive with deep public tech company experience, Scott has held chief legal officer roles at organizations including Carbonite, Intralinks, Novell, and TeleAtlas, NL. As a member of the Board of Directors for both the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts and the New England Village, he is passionate about working with and supporting members of the disability community.
Brian Shannahan is VP, Director of Investments at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. He has been a member of the NEV Board for many of the past 20 years. He currently chairs the Board’s Investment Committee, which oversees the NEV endowment. His son has been a resident of the Village for 20 years.
Barry J. Sheingold
Barry J. Sheingold, now retired, had been President of New Energy Opportunities, a consulting firm specializing in designing, implementing, and overseeing electric utility competitive procurements designed to facilitate the financing and construction of clean power generation projects under long-term contracts. Mr. Sheingold had a 45-year career in the energy industry, with stints as a lawyer in the private and public sectors and as a business executive before he turned to consulting over 20 years ago. Mr. Sheingold has served on the Board of Directors of New England Villages for over 25 years, including as Board Chair from July 2014 through June 2018. His sister is a long-time resident of New England Village, and Mr. Sheingold’s parents were among the founding families of New England Village.
Charles Volpetti, currently retired, returned to the Board of Directors in 2023 after serving on the Board for 14 years, including 9 years as Chairman. Previously he was the Senior Associate Auditor and Director of Corporate Auditing at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. He currently serves on the Board Finance Committee. He and his wife, Freeda, reside in Plymouth MA. Their daughter, Erin, was a resident at NEV for 25 years before her passing in 2020.