The Cummings Foundation’s $20 Million Grant program has awarded Wellspring just over $300,000 in funding to be spread over ten years. One of 30 organizations in Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties to receive this long-term commitment, Wellspring is poised to double-down on its purpose to inspire families and individuals on the North Shore to achieve employment and financial security through stable housing, education, job training and career readiness.
This marks the second time the Cummings Foundation has supported Wellspring’s emphasis on career pathways. In 2017, Wellspring received a similar grant to strengthen its partnerships with North Shore Community College and launch a program known as WERC (Wellspring Education Resource Collaborative) within Gloucester High School. Each year, Wellspring provides coaching to more than 50 GHS seniors and/or recent high school graduates across Cape Ann to help them make viable plans for post-secondary education, job training, and employment.
“The North Shore is so fortunate to have nonprofits like Wellspring that are listening to the community and working to meet its needs,” says Cummings Foundation grants manager Christina Berthelsen. “By providing a full decade of support, we hope to alleviate some of the constant fundraising burden, enabling nonprofit staff to spend more time actually providing services.”
Wellspring recognizes that communities on the North Shore face some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Wellspring’s continuum of connected educational opportunities makes it possible for program participants to navigate long-term plans, with the support of dedicated staff. From High School Equivalency Testing (HiSET), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), college preparatory courses, specialized job training in health care, to one-to-one career advising and mentoring, Wellspring takes a whole person approach.
Staff members ask the question, “What do you want for your future?” and also,“What will stand in the way of you getting there?” Wellspring helps students, who range in age from 17 to 55, navigate the barriers of transportation, childcare, internet access, computer equipment, and other details, now more critical than ever during the time of COVID-19, to ensure long-term participation and success.
In the words of Medelyn G., a Wellspring student and mother of two who has participated in academic courses and career advising since 2017: “Wellspring gave me so much support. They were there to listen to me. It’s taken a long time but I’m only 4 classes away from my degree! I’m almost there and I couldn’t have done it without Wellspring.” In December, Medelyn will graduate from Salem State University with a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
This September, Wellspring and other peer non-profit organizations contending for extended funding made presentations via Zoom to a panel of Cummings Foundation volunteers. Wellspring’s presentation team of program directors, along with Medelyn G., gave a comprehensive snapshot of Wellspring’s unique and critical role in local Cape Ann and North Shore communities. Wellspring supports more than 400 young adult and adult students every year who are striving towards future academic and career goals.
The complete list of Cummings Foundation grant winners is publicly available at cummingsfoundation.org.
Additional information is available at wellspringhouse.org.