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Wellspring Cooperative

Mission and History

MISSION

Wellspring's mission is to create a network of mutually supportive worker-owned cooperatives that provide low-income families with pathways out of poverty and help stabilize and revitalize blighted neighborhoods in Springfield. Wellspring's cooperatives provide jobs with on-the-job training for low-income residents and profit-sharing so low-income families can build wealth and invest in homes and education. Wellspring companies produce goods and services for our anchor institution partners, including local hospitals, colleges, and universities.

HISTORY

The Wellspring Collaborative formed in 2011 as an informal network and with support from the University of Massachusetts, Creative Economy Grant. A grant from Third Sector New England supported the development of the Wellspring Collaborative and was incorporated in April 2014 as the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation (WCC).

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 the business planning and development of the first Wellspring cooperative business.

Wellspring Cooperative's first worker-owned business, Wellspring Upholstery opened its doors in December 2013 in Springfield with an initial contract from Berkshire Dining Hall at the University of Massachusetts. Since then, 6 new worker-owned businesses have joined the Wellspring community of cooperatives. Wellspring’s cooperative network continues to grow with the needs of Springfield.