The Wellspring Collaborative was formed in 2011 as an informal network that was incorporated in April 2014 as the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation (WCC). Initial research that lead to the development of Wellspring was funded by a Creative Economy grant from the University of Massachusetts President's Office. A grant from Third Sector New England supported development of the Wellspring collaboration. In 2010 the initial partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (link) that was an important part of building a common understanding of our goals.
Wellspring was awarded a Roadmaps to Health grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2011 through our fiscal sponsor, Partners for a Healthier Community. This grant represented a shift in Robert Wood Johnson funding to support change in economic and social conditions responsible for health inequalities. Wellspring was one of twelve organizations across the country selected for this first round of grants, and the only project dedicated to creating jobs as a long-term strategy to improve health. Anchor institutions and local funding partners matched the Robert Wood Johnson grant, which supported business planning and development of the first Wellspring cooperative business.
Wellspring Upholstery opened its doors in December 2013 in the south end of Springfield with an initial contract from Berkshire Dining Hall at the University of Massachusetts.