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Wellspring Cooperative

About the Wellspring Collaborative

 

The Wellspring Cooperative Corporation is a community-based cooperative development organization with a mission to create a network of worker-owned companies in marginalized neighborhoods in Springfield, Massachusetts that provide on-the-job training, employment, and wealth creation opportunities for low-income and unemployed residents of the city.

Wellspring's development strategy is to:

  • Partner with Anchor Institutions—the place-based hospitals, colleges, and other nonprofit organizations that are the largest employers and purchasers of goods and services in Western Massachusetts. Together they spend over $1.5 billion of goods and services a year but purchase less than 10% in Springfield, and almost none in the low-income neighborhoods that surround many of the region's Anchor Institutions.
  • Create Worker Cooperatives–new businesses located in the inner city that are designed to meet Anchor purchasing needs. Worker cooperatives are also place-based because they are owned and controlled by neighborhood residents.
  • Provide Living Wage Jobs, Training, and Wealth by providing on-the-job training so that employees learn while they work. As co-op members employees share in company profits, building personal wealth as their companies grow, which is essential to move out of poverty.
  • Employ low-Income Residents who have been left out of the job market.  Springfield has the lowest adult employment rate of any city in New England due to the lack of entry-level jobs.  The Wellspring cooperatives provide a pathway out of poverty for low-income residents of Springfield.
Wellspring-City-Hall-steps-press-conference-photo-2 Wellspring builds on the Evergreen Cooperative model in Cleveland, which leverages profits from anchor institutions to create worker-owned companies and jobs in the inner city. Since 2009, Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives has launched three worker-owned businesses: a $5.7 million, state-of-the-art green laundry, a hydroponic greenhouse the size of a football field that grows greens and herbs, and solar installation business that installs photovoltaic panels.

 

Values

Wellspring’s focus on supporting co-op development in the Springfield region is an expression of our commitment to these values:

Solidarity and cooperation are guiding principles of cooperatives and rooted in democratic values.

Equity: Wellspring helps to build co-ops in Springfield's underserved communities. Within the co-ops, workers share profits equitably and build wealth as the businesses thrive.

Democracy: co-ops are democratically owned and controlled by their members.

Sustainability: Local ownership strengthens the local economy and resilience. Shorter supply chains reduce the carbon footprint and keep money circulating in the community. Worker-owners tend to care about the local community that they live in.

Pluralism: We strive to always be humble and open to new ideas, learning, and action.