Pathways to Wellness Needs Donations to Stay in Business

The South End nonprofit asked for contributions via email and now has launched a crowdfunding campaign.

“We are experiencing a critical time in our organization’s history and we urgently need your support.”

That was the opening line of an email sent to previous patients and supporters of Pathways to Wellness, a holistic healing practice and South End gem that helps people in pain through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, massage, and more. Alternative medicine is not just for the spiritual and is no longer considered to be “junk science.” New research shows that acupuncture may help treat depression, infertility, IBS, stress, and may even smooth out your wrinkles.

Pathways began in 1989 as the AIDS Care Project, an all-volunteer organization of acupuncturists who banded together to provide free acupuncture treatments for people with HIV/AIDS. The agency expanded in 2000 to create what is now known as Pathways to Wellness, a non-profit, holistic therapies clinic. Now, clients include war veterans and families from the neighborhood. Pathways also operates several satellite locations at places such as Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center.

News of a potential shuttering was met with concern, not only for the loss of service to the people who need it most, but also for the amazing “Share the Care” business model that has been a part of Pathways’ foundation. Basically, by paying full price for your services, Pathways donates free or discounted services to people in need. It’s sort of like the Toms or Warby Parker of alternative medicine.

The email goes on to say:

If we close our doors, our dedicated and loyal staff will lose their jobs, and many of our patients will lose the care they depend on to maintain their quality of life.This year has been challenging financially – a long winter, a move whose costs exceeded original expectations, and delays in receiving revenue from insurers and other third party payers. In January, when the Affordable Care Act was initiated, there was much confusion between providers (doctors, hospitals, and Pathways to Wellness) and insurance carriers. This has resulted in a severe cash flow situation for Pathways and we are hoping you can help in getting us through one of the most difficult periods we’ve faced in the last 10 years.

Since sending out that SOS email, Pathways has started a crowdfunding campaign to increase donations. After 25 years of providing free and discounted services, the operation needs to raise $200,000 to stay in business. To donate, click here.

Pathways to Wellness, 35 West Newton Street,