Our History

Wellspring opened its doors in 2001 with a mission to effectively and strategically improve the realization of human rights and social and economic justice for all people.

Wellspring is supported by donors who share a common belief in and respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Our Leaders

John co-founded Wellspring in 2000 with his brother Myles and currently manages the New York City office.

Prior to Wellspring, John was a litigator with the Philadelphia law firms of Dechert, Price & Rhoads (1986–1989), Berger & Montague, PC (1989–1997), and Sandals, Langer & Taylor, LLP (1997–2000).

He has served on the boards of directors of the Center for Lesbian & Gay Civil Rights, the Attic Youth Center, the Planned Parenthood Foundation, Survivor Corps/Landmine Survivors Network, Human Rights Watch, Haverford College, Nine Dots Learning Center, and The Little Market. John has also served on the Steering Committee of the International Human Rights Funders Group and the advisory committee of Peripheral Vision International.

Myles co-founded Wellspring in 2000 with his brother John and currently manages the Washington, D.C., office.

Prior to Wellspring, Myles worked for 20 years in Washington’s commercial real estate industry. He has served on the boards of directors for the Audubon Society of the Mid-Atlantic and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia, where he also served as president.

Jeanne provides leadership and management of the administrative operations at Wellspring, consisting of the legal, financial, human resources, internal/external communications, administrative, and grants management functions.

Prior to joining Wellspring in April 2009, Jeanne served for 3 years (2006–2009) as the Associate Dean for Operations at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. For 19 years prior to that, Jeanne worked in various capacities at EngenderHealth, an international women’s health organization, ending her tenure as vice president for operations.

In addition, Jeanne served on the board of trustees of World Neighbors in Oklahoma City from 2000 to 2007 and was a board member of InsideNGO from 2005 to 2010. She joined Philanthropy New York as a board member in 2015 and has served on its Audit Committee since 2010 (currently as committee chair) and was co-chair of its Foundation Administrator’s Network in 2011.

Jackie Williams Kaye joined Wellspring in October 2010. She currently supports Wellspring leadership, program staff, and grantees in implementing useful evaluation and research methodologies to inform and learn from grantmaking strategies.

Jackie spent the first phase of her career as a researcher and program evaluator focused on public health, education, and other human service areas. In recent years, she has helped lead an effort within philanthropy to improve evaluation of the effectiveness of advocacy and policy change work.

Prior to joining Wellspring, Jackie spent 10 years integrating evaluation and learning into grantmaking at The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and then at The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Our Culture

As an organization dedicated to social justice — including racial and gender justice — we try to live the values we seek to cultivate within the broader society by applying principles of fairness, respect and justice in our relationships with our grantees and collaborators, as well as in our internal management processes and structures.

With our grantees: Our grantees are closer to the issues they are working on and the communities they represent than we are, and we respect their knowledge and expertise. We engage with our grantees in a spirit of respect and humility. We listen to them, and we learn from them as we try to support them.

We embrace grantmaking strategies that vest power in the marginalized communities whose interests we seek to advance. We join with our grantees in reflective practice, supporting appropriate risk-taking and adaptation in light of lessons learned.  We try not to put unreasonable burden on them. We hold ourselves accountable to the same standards of professionalism, excellence and stewardship that we expect from our grantees, and we actively seek feedback on how we can do better.

Under our own roof:  Our effectiveness as a social justice grantmaker is enhanced to the extent that our team includes individuals whose life experiences and perspectives have proximity to or alignment with the life experiences and perspectives of those whose interests we work to advance — including women, people of color, LGBT people, people with disabilities, and people who have experienced poverty. We actively cultivate an institutional culture of respect, equity and inclusion consistent with the values that we seek to promote through our mission.

We strive to create conditions in which every person is supported to bring their whole, best self to do great work, to learn and to grow. We are building a habit of open and skillful interactions about race and racism, gender and sexism. We maintain a consultative management culture that gives people voice in important decisions that affect them.