This story is part of a larger feature on 10 do-gooders from Saratoga and the rest of the Capital Region. To meet the other nine honorees and purchase tickets for annual fundraising event, visit our Capital Region Gives Back event page.
It’s a special kind of person who dedicates their entire working life to helping others—and Wellspring’s Maggie Fronk is one of those people. This year marks her milestone 20th year as the nonprofit’s executive director; she previously worked in the realms of AIDS, mental illness and homelessness.
During her two decades at Wellspring, an unparalleled domestic violence and sexual assault services resource for Saratoga County, Fronk saw it through the Me Too movement and says the community is now more willing to talk about these issues.
“We’re starting to see some social change,” she says. “Me Too brought awareness, which helped us redefine the people we’ve seen be victimized, because what we saw in Me Too were some very powerful, well-known, articulate women who said, ‘This happened to me.’”
Wellspring mans a 24/7 crisis service hotline and offers essentials such as emergency shelter and accompaniment to police stations, but stresses that survivors who need help even past the crisis point should call them anytime. In addition to counseling, Wellspring keeps its “Well Shop” stocked with items such as American Girl dolls and diapers, and has a crucial rent subsidies housing program to help survivors move on to a home without violence.
“We have bars you can put on your windows if you’re worried your abuser could be trying to break in,” Fronk says. “And last year we gave domestic violence survivors 15,000 pounds of food. They’d moved beyond the abuse but were struggling financially.”
Under Fronk’s innovative leadership, Wellspring also offers a host of new programs to educate community members of all ages about how to better combat and prevent domestic violence and abuse, including Men With Wellspring (just what it sounds like), Raising the Bar that meets with bartenders, and a student athlete program that’s about “coaching boys into men and athletes into leaders” (just to name a few).
“I’d like to see the social change,” Fronk says. “We need to become very attuned to our social norms and challenge them. We’re all learning.”