Wellspring Women's Center provides respite and services to women and their children based on “hospitality with dignity and love.”

Sacramento, CA   |  http://www.wellspringwomen.org


Wellspring Women's Center in the Oak Park community nurtures the innate goodness and personal self esteem of women and their children. Our drop-in center provides respite and services based on "hospitality with dignity and love." Wellspring was established to provide support and encouragement. Our guest come from all walks of life, races and religions. They share common bonds beyond economic status. They often struggle from a lack of family ties, proper education, job skills, healthy support systems and daily stability. Our staff and volunteers are committed to providing a safe and caring environment where guests can visit with friends and neighbors while finding respite from the burdens of poverty.

Notes from the nonprofit

Have you ever been stressed out? Had your car breakdown between paydays, right when you ran out of diapers? Have you ever had been bowled over by grief when a loved one died? Had someone steal your backpack which held your cash, ID, and phone? Have you ever spent a sleepless night, worrying about your teenager’s choices?

If you have had any of those experiences, and you had someone to turn to for comfort or assistance, you are fortunate.

There are many who don’t. They turn to Wellspring. We support the achievement and maintenance of health (both physical and mental) and the general wellbeing of those isolated by or bending under poverty’s strain. At the core of our mission is the philosophy that all women and children are welcome. We provide assistance to any woman and her children who enters our doors, in the most appropriate and expedient way possible. This happens with the community’s support and involvement. We steward resources carefully, for good reason – so we can continue to meet the needs that exist.

Ongoing budget shortages have resulted in a dearth of services for the vulnerable. There is large demand for counseling and case management services, but few agencies offer free or low-cost counseling. More than 100,000 people living in the Sacramento region need mental health services but are unable to access care due to a lack of appropriate and affordable services. Community mental health centers have incredibly long waiting lists and impose ever more stringent criteria for those seeking services. Many people are referred here by other agencies that cannot serve them. The impact of poverty and stress is real, affecting everyone in a household from babies to elders. Our programs and services help mitigate the impact of that stress, with practical services thoughtfully created and managed, delivered with kindness and compassion.

More than 100 volunteers assist us and we get as many in-kind donations as we can–from diapers to coffee to paper napkins – to keep costs down. We have made several changes over the past years, bringing our focus on those areas where we can do the most good. We collaborate with other organizations; we do not view them as competitors but as partners in human service.

Take a look at Wellspring. Call us if you have questions, or want to come by for a tour. Take a look at our website. And, if you know of a person who could use our help, please tell her about us. We’ll be waiting to welcome her.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Genelle Smith, LCSW, MSW

Main address

P.O. Box 5728

Sacramento, CA 95817 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Wellspring Womens Center



NTEE code info

Congregate Meals (K34)

Nutrition Programs (K40)

Personal Social Services (P50)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Wellspring's mission is to “nourish the innate goodness and personal self-esteem of women and their children, providing respite and services in an atmosphere of hospitality with dignity and love." Program participants are referred to as “guests." Guests come from varying cultures, backgrounds, races, and religions, yet they share common bonds beyond low-income status. Many lack healthy family relationships, proper education, adequate job skills or training, and daily stability. Struggles with domestic violence, drug abuse, and untreated mental illness are common. Wellspring's primary challenge and main goal is addressing and meeting the direct impacts of poverty on guests who are wary of sharing too much or trusting more traditional service delivery systems.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Women's Wellness Program

The Women’s Wellness program brings respite and services to poor women. It supports both achievement and maintenance of mental health and wellness of the entire person. It offers counseling, case management, life skills assistance, expressive art therapy groups, and tangible resources to women, their children and families. It serves as a portal to a healthier existence and offers a lifeline to those suffering from stress, depression, physical illness, and other types of mental illness. It guides those unsure how to independently access available services. A team of staff, professional volunteers and interns expediently identify appropriate providers and facilities and often offer direct assistance themselves. A thoughtfully-designed, frequently assessed, and increasingly more needed program, Women’s Wellness has been a blessing in a community gutted by mental health services cuts in a city of nearly half a million residents. Participation in this program, as with all of our programming, is free of charge.

Population(s) Served

The Nutritious Meal Program benefits 200 women and children each weekday. It is a source of healthy food, provided free-of-charge and no-questions-asked. Via surveys and direct feedback from guests, we know that the steady provision of this meal is integral to their well-being. Our guests live at or below federally defined poverty levels. Studies show that low-income households are "food insecure” meaning that there is a lack of access to nutritious foods at some time during each month. This program addresses the hunger, food insecurity, and the real need for nourishing food.

Each weekday morning from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., a nourishing breakfast meal is served. The menu may include any variety of items such as cereal, yogurt, salad, soup and toast. The meal is served in an attractive, welcoming environment, and the tables are full of an assortment of women and children who share in the meal. About 100 regular volunteers assist with this program, and in-kind donors keep costs down.

Population(s) Served

The Children's Corner Program provides early enrichment and pre-K learning in a safe and welcoming place for guests' children on weekday mornings. Parents and/or kinship care providers have an opportunity to gain parenting information, support and skills. The Children’s Corner is managed by a staff person with a degree in Social Work.

The program provides stability for kids impacted by turbulence, stringency and uncertainty. It introduces them to routines and boundaries that are both comforting and stimulating. It fosters a love of learning, bolsters confidence, age-appropriate social skills, and lessens fear or dislike of school as children transition into formal learning environments. Parents often color, paint or read with their children. Parents share concerns and questions with staff and volunteers. For many, childhood was anything but ideal and parenting is a challenge. The Children's Corner offers a different view on the role and empowers them to be better parents.

Population(s) Served

Services are available on a case-by-case basis,overseen by staff, and include occasional assistance with transportation, education, employment, housing, health services, provision of hygiene products and diapers.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Advocacy For Women's Needs 2008

Catholic Ladies Relief Society

Community Service 2006

Oak Park Neighborhood Association

Valuable Contributions 2006

Oak Park Pre-School, Inc.

Witness and Service to Oak Park and Sacramento Communities 2005

Sacramento Cottage Housing

Support Of Students With Special Needs 2005

Sacramento City Unified School District Transitional Work Experience Program

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

This neighborhood gathering place helps reduce isolation and loneliness by providing a sense of community to women experiencing poverty and its outcomes—physical, mental, emotional, and societal. Wellspring operates four core programs: the Nutritious Meal Program, the Children's Corner Program, the Women's Wellness Program, and the Safety Net Services Program. The goals of these programs are to provide vulnerable women and their children practical assistance combined with compassion and encouragement so they may better navigate life's challenges. It is our mission to create lives marked by dignity and self-respect, thus building a healthier community for all.

The Nutritious Meal Program provides a healthy breakfast and light lunch as well as cooking classes presented in English and Spanish, sponsored by the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. The Children's Corner program provides childcare with educational enrichment activities for the children of the guests as well as weekly street soccer and a mini computer lab. The Women's Wellness program provides counseling sessions from a licensed clinical social worker and wellness checks from California State University, Sacrament nursing interns. Case management assistance and referrals are also provided by social work interns for housing, transportation, bilingual services, healthcare, job training, soft skills building, and parenting workshops. The Women's Wellness program also houses Art of Being, which is a 10-week expressive art therapy program for women in the community, a craft club and sewing classes for beginning and intermediate participants, as well as wire working and ceramics classes. The Safety Net Services program provides bus passes, diapers and wet wipes for infants, children, and adults, and feminine and personal hygiene products (tampons, pads, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, lotion, razors, and other personal care items).

Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood is known for its ethnic diversity, its incredibly rich cultural history, and as a community of collaboration, compassion, and care. It also has high levels of poverty, crime, and unemployment. Wellspring is in an ideal location in the neighborhood for providing respite and services to those in need. Without the assistance of others, Wellspring would not be able to provide the very direct and essential services to children and women of all ages and life situations who would otherwise be forgotten. For over 30 years, Wellspring has evolved into a neighborhood staple, a gathering place for over 200 women and children each weekday morning. Wellspring operates as a drop-in center and is comprised of eight staff, three full-time and four part-time, as well as over 75 weekly volunteers. We also operate via partnerships with organizations and agencies like the UC Davis MIND Institute, the California State University, Sacramento Nursing and Social Work programs, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, cooking classes provided by the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, reciprocal referrals with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Communities Against Sexual Harm, Harm Reduction Services, Next Move, Loaves and Fishes, Clara's House, the Oak Park Neighborhood Association, and many more.

Wellspring Women's Center was founded in 1987, by two Sisters of Social Services, Sister Claire Graham and Sister Catherine Connell. One evening they encountered a confused, homeless woman on the streets in downtown Sacramento offering her compassion and concern. Because if this encounter, they felt compelled to do something for her and the many like her. As a result, Wellspring was founded and has developed over the past 30 years into a neighborhood staple: a gathering place for over 200 women and children each weekday morning. Services are offered at no cost to any women and her children/grandchildren, with neither pre-qualification nor prerequisites for program participation. While we predominantly serve women, infants, children, and seniors from of Sacramento's Oak Park community, women from all over the county do seek our services.
In 2015 Wellspring provided:

39,258 Meals
45,411 Diapers
37,710 Feminine Hygiene Products
8,052 Social Work Contacts
(counseling, case management, and information and referrals)
375 art session to over 1,771 participants
465 Health Screenings
3,353 Hygiene Bags
And a Preschool like environment for
585 different children
Looking back on 2016, donors helped Wellspring provide: 38,650 meals; 375 art therapy sessions to over 1,700 participants; $17,428 in art and craft supplies and workshops; 65,516 diapers; nearly 500 health screenings; 53,570 feminine hygiene products; 2,332 personal hygiene bags; over 8,000 social work contacts (counseling, case management, information, and referrals); 344 birthday gifts for guests; and a preschool like environment for nearly 600 different children. Our numbers fluctuate annually, but most go up, and we are seeing more and more of a need for safety net services and housing assistance, especially as Oak Park is gentrifying and rents are increasing.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Board of directors
as of 10/02/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Annette Bachmeier Bachmeier

Intel, Retired

Genelle Smith

Wellspring Women's Center Executive Director

Nileen Verbeten


Annette Bachmeier


David McMurchie

McMurchie Law Office

Lisa Wrightsman

Street Soccer USA

Sara Brass

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Kathleen Olson

JP Morgan Chase

Robyn Fleming


Mary Ann Keating

Retired, Nonprofit Management

Frances Freitas

Retired, Social Worker

Jordan Lopez

California Health & Wellness

Robert Mendoza

Smart Reach Digital

Sarah E. Walker Walker

Health Net

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes