Since its inception, employment has been the cornerstone of Fountain House’s programming as it is the activity that most clearly speaks to the fundamental belief that people with serious mental illness can become productive members of society. Currently, Fountain House members – individuals living with serious mental illness – work at over 40 major corporations and have achieved an employment rate double the US average for people with mental illness.
After an opportunity to temporarily run a local hardware store in 2018, staffed entirely with our members, Fountain House decided that our very own brick-and-mortar was the next step in the development of our world-class employment programs. We intended to create a space for members and social workers to work side-by-side bringing beautiful, high-quality goods and a warm, community experience to our neighbors outside the House.
The Fountain House community has a long history of collaboratively running businesses: from a Chock Full o’Nuts coffee shop and a war wash in the 1960’s to our pest remediation, housekeeping and jewelry-making social cooperatives in the in the 2000’s.
In 2013, Fountain House started social enterprises in response to a highly competitive market environment and an increase in outsourcing of the types of jobs Fountain House members traditionally held. What began as one company employing 3 individuals with serious mental illness has grown to 5 businesses employing more than 100 people each year.