What does the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia do?
  • We collaborate with our community partners to advance healthcare resources, services and programs that enhance the quality of life for residents in Washington County, Virginia, and neighboring communities in Grayson, Russell and Smyth counties. 
Is the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia the same foundation that pursues fundraising opportunities for Johnston Memorial Hospital?
  • No. The Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia is the former Johnston Memorial Healthcare Foundation. 
  • This can be confusing, because there is a very similarly named organization, the Johnston Memorial Hospital (JMH) Foundation, which many people have supported in the past. 
  • The JMH Foundation has not been affected by the creation of Wellspring and continues its fundraising activities and operations. Any past gifts to that organization remain on their books and at work on behalf of the hospital. 
Where did money for the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia come from?
  • Prior to 2009, Johnston Memorial Hospital was an independent, community-owned hospital. That year, the JMH Healthcare Foundation chose to enter a joint venture with Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), selling that organization 50.1% of the hospital.
  • In 2018, MSHA merged with Wellmont Health System to become Ballad Health.
  • In November 2021, the Johnston Memorial Healthcare Foundation agreed to sell Ballad Health the remaining 49.9% of the hospital. Funds resulting from that sale are now the core endowment of the Wellspring Foundation.
How will the citizens of Washington County, Virginia, benefit from the Foundation selling its ownership of Johnston Memorial Hospital to Ballad Health?
  • Up until November 2021, any Foundation-related funds were reinvested in the hospital through the construction of a new facility, addition of new services and upgrading existing services and equipment, among other things. The Foundation considered this an important investment in our community. 
  • The sale of the remaining interest in the hospital provided the Foundation access to the funds and the ability to put them to work through direct grants or disbursements on behalf of the health and well-being of Washington County, Virginia, residents, as well as those in neighboring communities. 
  • Going forward, the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia will partner with others to advance healthcare resources, services and programs that elevate the quality of life for those in our region.
Why hasn’t the Foundation invested money into the community before now?
  • The monies that the Foundation received following the 2009 sale of 50.1% of Johnston Memorial Hospital were reinvested in the hospital. These helped fund construction of a new facility, upgrade existing services and equipment and add new services. The Johnston Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s board of directors considered these actions part of an essential partnership between the hospital and what would become Ballad Health, and a significant investment in our community that would generate lasting benefits.
  • Now that Ballad Health has purchased the remaining 49.9% ownership of Johnston Memorial Hospital, the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia has direct and sole access to the funds and autonomy to support aligned programs in the communities we serve. 
Doesn’t this mean that the Foundation is no longer a part owner of Johnston Memorial Hospital?
  • Yes, this transition provided 100% ownership of the hospital to Ballad.
  • We feel confident that Ballad Health will continue to operate the facility with steadfast leadership and the best interests of our community at the forefront of each decision.
  • Additionally, the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia views Ballad Health as a partner on initiatives that align with the Foundation’s Mission, Vision and Values. 
When will the Foundation start awarding funding?
  • While we are eager to engage in community partnerships as quickly as possible, it’s critical that we give careful thought to the infrastructure that will guide the Foundation’s operations.
  • That’s because we intend for Wellspring to support the residents of our region for generations to come, and accomplishing this requires strategic and thorough planning.
  • Our board is at work on an extensive community health needs assessment to better understand the needs, gaps in services and opportunities for improvement across many areas within our service region. This process will allow the Foundation to set a strategic plan that will guide the development of our areas of interest.  We look forward to sharing an update with our community once we are ready to begin pursuing opportunities.
How will the Wellspring Foundation evaluate funding requests and opportunities?
  • We will consider opportunities that align with our Mission, Vision and Values, and support one or more of our central areas of interest. 
  • The board has a committee in place that will review funding requests in the areas of interest that are most strategically linked to our operating philosophy.
  • We recognize there are numerous worthwhile causes that can use support. However, the Foundation is most keen on supporting projects, programs or services that not only align with our core philosophies, but also will have lasting and transformative impact on the communities we serve. 
What kinds of programs or services will Wellspring invest in?

We are in the process of establishing our areas of interest, but in general, we want to look at supporting programs that advance the overall health of our populations on a broad scale and also preserve and enhance the fabric of community. Such programs might address: 

  • Access to Healthcare
  • Addiction and Treatment
  • Behavioral Health
  • Childcare
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Food Insecurity
  • Homelessness, and
  • Recruitment and Retention of healthcare professionals, among other issues
How much will the Foundation award each year?
  • As a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) Foundation, the annual disbursement will vary from year to year. However, generally speaking, our goal is to award up to 5% of our assets annually.
What is the geographical scope of the Foundation’s outreach?
  • The funds that created Wellspring came from the sale of Johnston Memorial Hospital, which is based in Washington County, Virginia, our primary service area.
  • However, many of the providers, staff and patients of the hospital come from neighboring counties and communities that we also support and consider home. Those neighboring communities include Grayson, Russell and Smyth counties.
Will the Foundation only fund tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations?
  • Yes. Our goal is to provide support to other 501(c)(3) organizations, both financially and through strategic partnerships and other collaborative opportunities. 
Will the Foundation provide grants?
  • Yes. All funds will be distributed via grants. The application process is being finalized. 
What is the application process for funding?
  • We realize our community members have a great deal of interest in understanding how they can capitalize on these transformational funding opportunities. 
  • Our board is working diligently to define this process, and we will share more information with our community once it has been finalized. 
Will the Foundation consider requests year-round, or will there be designated submission periods?
  • Along with defining the grant application process, our board is considering the frequency for providing funding opportunities and if / when there will be specific timelines for awarding funds.
Will the Foundation provide recurring grants?
  • This has not been determined. It will be a topic of discussion as our board continues to review matters that will guide the Foundation’s operations.
Where will the Foundation’s office be located?
  • The Foundation’s office is currently located in the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator in Washington County, Virginia. Our board of directors has established a committee to oversee the process for identifying a permanent location in Washington County, and we look forward to providing additional details once a location has been selected. 
How many people will the Foundation employ?
  • Currently, our staff includes an executive director, a director of operations & engagement and an administrative assistant. The Foundation has a robust board of directors that volunteers time and guidance as needed. As the Foundation’s scope of work expands, additional hires may be considered at the appropriate time.
How can I contact the Foundation?
  • The Foundation’s website, www.wellspringva.org, serves as the primary source of news and information.