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Historical Highlights

This timeline provides an overview for the first 125 years of the Henry Street Settlement’s history.


Lillian Wald “settles in” on the Lower East Side to care for the poor. Wald’s philosophy establishes Henry Street as a national leader in service to children, families, and the poor.


Wald moves to 265 Henry Street during the summer. The building is a gift from Jacob Schiff, who purchased the property earlier that spring and arranged for its repair and furnishing.


The Settlement adds buildings at 299, 301, and 303 Henry Street, which includes a gymnasium.

The Settlement opens one of New York City’s earliest playgrounds in Henry Street’s backyard to provide a safe environment for children forced to play in crowded and unsafe city streets.

The salary for the first public school nurse in New York City is paid by Henry Street. Her success prompts the Board of Education to appoint nurses in schools.


The Settlement opens its first summer camps: Camp Henry for boys and Echo Hill Farm for girls.


The Lewisohn sisters build The Neighborhood Playhouse, one of the first “Little Theaters” in New York City. Between 1915 and 1927, the theater presents plays by Shaw, Joyce, and Dunsany. Now called the Harry De Jur Playhouse, the theater continues to showcase many Settlement arts programs.


The Henry Street Music School opens. Through the years it has hosted and produced hundreds of concerts and operas and trained thousands of musicians.


Lillian Wald retires and becomes Director Emeritus of Henry Street Settlement.


Helen Hall, former Director of the University Settlement in Philadelphia, succeeds Lillian Wald as Director.


To combat the loan shark racket, Settlement members start the Credit Union. Over the years, neighborhood residents received over $3 million in loans.


The Homeplanning Workshop is founded to help residents of the newly built Vladeck Housing projects and other community members repair furniture and appliances, make clothes, and mend shoes. One of the earliest programs in a public housing facility in New York City, the Workshop continues to serve the neighborhood today.


The Visiting Nurse Service of the Settlement separates from Henry Street to become the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.


Now called the Community Consultation Center (CCC), Henry Street’s Mental Hygiene Clinic, one of the first of its kind in the country, is founded to bring psychiatric help to the community. The CCC currently serves more than 500 people each year.


Henry Street alumni create the Good Companions Senior Program in order to provide companionship and activities for the elderly. In 1967, the program becomes a Federal Government pilot project to determine the effectiveness of multipurpose senior centers. As a result of the project, federal legislation is passed to fund nutrition centers for the elderly throughout the country.


On May 30, a 23-year-old choreographer presented the first public performance of his choreography at Henry Street, a dance called Jack and the Beanstalk. That choreographer was Paul Taylor, the youngest member of the pantheon that created American modern dance, and one of history’s most celebrated artists.


Henry Street helps create the experimental Mobilization for Youth, which brings together Lower East Side resources to attack juvenile delinquency. It provides the foundation for future federal poverty programs during the 1960s.


Operation Athlete is founded. The program helps young men and women enter college through academic preparation and access to athletic scholarships. Since its inception, more than 1,000 young people have participated in the program.

In order to learn about urban issues, United Parcel Service (UPS) managers from across the country begin to live and work at the Settlement through the UPS Community Internship Program. The Program celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1992.

Bertram Beck succeeds Helen Hall as Director of Henry Street Settlement.


Henry Street Settlement’s Day Care Center opens to serve the culturally diverse families of the Lower East Side with learning and enrichment for very young children.

The alumni group of the Settlement, the Henry Street Oldtimers, celebrates its 30th anniversary by honoring songwriter Sammy Cahn (a former Settlement participant) in a dinner at the Hilton Hotel. Jack Benny acts as master of ceremonies in an evening featuring such guests as Red Buttons, Johnny Carson, Warren Beatty, Julie Stein and Senator Jacob Javits.

The Pioneer Counselor in Training Program is founded at Camp Henry, an all boys camp. Leadership, community service, and job skills are taught as part of a year-round comprehensive youth development program.


The Settlement’s Housekeeping Service is established to assist the frail elderly and disabled in maintaining their independence. In 1991, the program will expand to serve people with HIV/AIDS.

Henry Street receives its first housekeeping contract from the New York City Department of Social Services, allowing the Settlement to provide homemaker assistance to Medicaid clients who are homebound, infirm, and handicapped in the borough of Manhattan.


The New Federal Theatre is  founded by Woodie King, Jr., originally funded by the Henry Street Settlement along with a small grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. The theatre’s first season is launched in the basement of St. Augustine’s Church on Henry Street, where its administrative offices remain today.


The Urban Family Center, one of the first transitional housing facilities for homeless families, is founded. To date, it has helped more than 5,000 families to move into permanent housing.


Dedication of the Arts for Living Center (now called the Louis Abrons Arts Center.) First Lady Betty Ford, Mayor Abraham Beame, former Mayor Robert F. Wagner, and the National Endowment for the Arts Chair Nancy Hanks attend. The Center is one of the first arts facilities in the nation designed for a predominantly low-income population.


263-265-267 Henry Street, the Settlement’s original buildings, are declared national historic landmarks.


One of the first publicly funded battered women’s shelters in New York City opens under the auspices of the Urban Family Center.


Danny Kronenfeld is named executive director of Henry Street Settlement.


The Shelter Management Training program (now the Center for Training) opens to bring the Urban Family Center’s experience with current and formerly homeless families to workers in shelters. In 1991, the program expands to serve managers of public housing facilities.


Henry Street is designated the official provider of AIDS Mental Health Services for the Lower East Side by New York City’s Department of Mental Health.


Henry Street Settlement becomes the New York City sponsor of the national Senior Companions program, sponsored by Action, the federal volunteer agency,


The Urban Family Center is singled out by Diana, Princess of Wales, when she visits New York City, as one of the most effective programs for homeless families. Her visit brings international attention to Henry Street.


On July 13, Governor Bill Clinton visits Henry Street. He mentions his visit to the Settlement on national television later that week as he accepts the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination at Madison Square Garden.


Henry Street Settlement celebrates 100 years of innovation and service.


The Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) program is founded. Vladeck Cares NORC provides case management, nursing services, and group activities to residents of the Vladeck Houses who are 60 years and older, to help them age safely in place.


Henry Street took over the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic on East Sixth Street and renamed it Boys and Girls Republic (BGR). Boys’ Brotherhood Republic started as a response to rising juvenile delinquency in the 1930s, and modeled on an organization founded in Chicago. It allowed the youth participants to have a voice in developing their own “community” through self-government, led by their peers.


The Housekeeping program expands to Brooklyn, where it begins providing housekeeping services to Russian-speaking clients. Russian-speaking administrative staff are hired, and about 200 Russian-speaking home care workers are hired to serve about 400 Russian-speaking clients.

Child Health Plus is introduced in the state of New York. Henry Street is one of the sub-contractors of the Children Aid’s Society, enabling the Settlement to assist clients in the enrollment of health insurance for children ages 1 to 19.

The Community Consultation Center receives the William Charet Award from the New York City Department of Mental Health for its excellence and leadership in the field of mental health.


Larraine Ahto, CCC clinic director, receives the New York State Office of Mental Health Lifetime Achievement Award.


Arts in Education coordinators receive the Coming Taller Award from the President’s Committee of the Arts and Humanities in Washington, D.C., for Abrons Arts Center’s Architecture and Design/Community Arts Project.

Verona Middleton-Jeter is named executive director of Henry Street Settlement.


Henry Street officially opens the Workforce Development Center at 99 Essex Street. The state-of-the-art facility offers a one-stop location for comprehensive employment services and adult basic education. It features a conference room, classrooms with audio-visual tools, a career resource center with research resources and tools for client job searches, a 12-station computer lab, and a video studio.


Henry Street Settlement’s walk-in service, the Neighborhood Resource Center, opens at the Community Consultation Center to serve clients impacted by 9/11 and to offer accessible and concrete housing; financial, legal, and crisis counseling; and advocacy services.

The Arts in Education director is invited to serve throughout 2003 and 2004 on the committee that developed the New York City Department of Education’s “Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts,” which has become the citywide standard.


“9/11: The Great Equalizer,” an essay by NRC Director Vita Iacovone is featured in On the Ground after September 11: Mental Health Responses and Practical Knowledge Gained, released in September as part of the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Harlem Legal Services and Legal Services of New York on September 20, 2005, names the Community Consultation Center as an “outstanding community partner” for its work in the Lower East Side through the Neighborhood Resource Center.


The Settlement’s first ever Strategic Plan is initially implemented. The five-year plan is designed to strengthen and improve the agency’s infrastructure, increase investment in staff and consolidate and streamline services.

Henry Street reorganizes and consolidates its services, offering all programs under the umbrella of four clusters: Health and Wellness, Youth and Workforce Development, Transitional and Supportive Housing, and Visual and Performing Arts (Abrons Arts Center).

The first season of the reinvigorated Abrons Arts Center features such performers as Debra Winger, hosts entries from the New York Fringe Festival, and presents a series of concerts in collaboration with Tonic and Danspace Project, Performance Space 122, Franklin Furnace and the Public Art Fund.

The Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN) is founded as a partnership between Henry Street Settlement, University Settlement, and Community Advisory Board 3. LESEN is an innovative collaboration of experienced workforce development organizations whose main goal is to enrich the local economy by connecting responsible employers to a variety of talented, well-supported jobseekers.


Henry Street opens a new supported permanent housing residence at 290 East Third Street. The newly constructed building has 52 efficiency apartments for single adults, 43 of which are occupied by individuals with a long history of homelessness and mental health issues, many of whom have never before lived on their own. (Nine are occupied by low-income neighborhood residents).

Henry Street receives a new contract enabling its housekeeping services to hire a new staff of registered nurses to visit clients to assess their needs and help connect them to needed services.


The Art Show, an essential fundraiser for the Settlement, celebrates its 20th birthday and brings in more than $1.5 million to support Henry Street programs. The show, organized by the Art Dealers Association, is held at the Park Avenue Armory in February.

Henry Street and its founder Lillian Wald are featured in The Jewish Americans, a documentary that airs on PBS. In addition to historical coverage, the film includes present-day footage of Settlement programs.

All of the nearly 100 high school seniors served by Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons program are admitted to college – many to their first-choice schools and with generous financial aid packages.

Henry Street receives more than 500 pairs of new shoes, courtesy of Malaak Compton-Rock, Erica Reid, and Liz Claiborne, Inc. The distribution of the shoes to Henry Street clients appears on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Henry Street is awarded the home-delivered meals contract for Manhattan Community Districts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Beginning in January 2009, Henry Street will be preparing and delivering 1,000 meals per day to the homebound elderly.


Some 71 college students – the most in a single year – receive college scholarships ranging from $100 to $1,100 at the seventh annual Youth Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

The Fashion Institute of Technology presents Ruth Taube, home planning workshop director, with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor has been bestowed only on four other people: Anna Wintour, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, and Oscar de la Renta.

The health care team from Henry Street’s Community Consultation Center begins providing services to the residents at Henry Street’s East Third Street Women’s Shelter, making health care more accessible to this medically vulnerable population.

Verona Middleton-Jeter, executive director of Henry Street since 2002, announces that she will retire on June 30, 2010, after 38 years at the Settlement, seven of them as executive director.

The New Yorker names two Abrons Arts Center productions – Justin Bond’s Christmas Spells and Banana Bag & Bodice’s Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage – to its best theater of 2009 list. 


David Garza, chief administrator of Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center, was named the new executive director of the Settlement. He takes office on July 1, 2010.

The annual Art Show brings in 22 percent more revenue than in the previous year. The newly formed Young Collectors Committee of Henry Street Settlement holds its first event to support the agency’s Art Show benefit.

The Abrons Arts Center hosts a historic three-day festival honoring Alwin Nikolais, one of the pioneers of modern dance and former director of Henry Street’s Playhouse. The celebration, which marks the 100 anniversary of Nikolais’s birth, is held April 30, May 1 and 2.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) visits the agency in June, tours the senior center, and vows to help bring federal dollars to the Lower East Side.

Henry Street hosts its first ever Community Day in October at the Abrons Arts Center, welcoming more than 500 community residents.

For the first time, Henry Street opens its doors as part of Open House New York. Nearly 130 individuals take tours of the agency’s historic headquarters at 265 Henry Street.


With more that 12,000 attendees, the 23rd Annual Art Show raises $1.2 million for Henry Street Settlement.

The Harry De Jur Playhouse, for 87 years the home of Henry Street Settlement’s cutting-edge performing arts programming, is designated a New York City landmark by a unanimous vote of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The New York Times crowns the Abrons Arts Center a “contemporary performance hotbed.”

Henry Street’s sold-out 2011 Spring Dinner Dance honors Richard S. Abrons, president of the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation and vice chairman of the Henry Street board; Ursula M. Burns, chair and CEO of Xerox Corporation; and Lauren Bush, co-founder and CEO of Feed Projects. Ms. Burns announces a Xerox Foundation $250,000 grant to Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons College Prep Program.

Expanded Horizons helps nearly 100 students receive college acceptances to schools including Cornell University, New York University, the University of Chicago, American University, and University of Southern California. Through the Abrons/Aranow Scholarship Fund, each student receives a scholarship ranging from $500 to $1,000.

Henry Street has the highest private fundraising year ever.


The 2012 Spring Dinner Dance, held on April 3 at Gotham Hall, is one of the most successful in the Settlement’s history. The event honors Michael Tiedemann, chief investment officer of Tiedemann Wealth Management and chief executive officer of TIG Advisors LLC, and Adriana Cisneros, vice chairman and director of strategy of The Cisneros Group of Companies. Microsoft receives the Corporate Leadership Award.

The Settlement plays an important role ensuring the restoration of funds after New York’s mayor and City Council announce proposed cuts that would have eliminated some Henry Street programs.

Henry Street and its founder, Lillian Wald, are featured in Activist New York, an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York about the ways ordinary New Yorkers have exercised their power to shape the city and the nation.

Henry Street’s Urban Family Center, America’s first family shelter, marks its 40th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year.

A new Geriatric Care Program, made possible by a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, is established, allowing Henry Street’s Senior Services and Primary & Behavioral Health divisions to collaborate in offering comprehensive care for seniors.

Hurricane Sandy hits New York, leaving the Lower East Side without power and heat and flooding buildings. The Settlement’s Urban Family Center is hit hard by the storm; some 108 families are evacuated until power is restored to the building, and Henry Street employees continue working with families at their evacuation shelter. Henry Street distributes more than 20,000 meals and thousands of bottles of water and blankets to neighbors in need, opens our Good Companions Senior Center as a designated city warming center, and more. After the storm, Henry Street provides crisis counseling, educational information, and resource linkage to those affected and provides 355 area families with $25,495 in food vouchers and assistance with utility bills, through funds given by the Robin Hood Foundation.

Executive Director David Garza receives a Downtowner of the Year award from Manhattan Media on December 13 for efforts in the Hurricane Sandy recovery.


DECENTER, an exhibit celebrating the legacy of the 1913 Armory Show, opens at Abrons Arts Center. The exhibit highlights Henry Street’s sponsorship of the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Armory Show in 1963, at which the construction of what is today known as the Abrons Center is announced.

Henry Street’s annual Gala Dinner Dance, held on April 4 at the Plaza Hotel, honors Reed Krakoff, President and Executive Creative Director of Reed Krakoff and Coach; Alexandra Lebenthal, president and chief executive officer of Lebenthal & Company LLC; and Carolina Gonzales-Bunster, co-founder of the Walkabout Foundation.

Nearly 200 individuals gather at Abrons Arts Center on May 21 for the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Urban Family Center.

Famous Lower East Side eatery Katz Deli celebrated its 125th anniversary weekend on May 31 with a Shabbat dinner to benefit Henry Street Settlement. Executive Director David Garza is honored at 35th anniversary celebration of the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) neighborhood housing and preservation organization on June 20.

Three employees of Henry Street’s Meals on Wheels program are recognized for their outstanding service in October at the CityMeals STAR awards ceremony.

Betsy Smith, Director of Vladeck Cares NORC, receives an award from the National Association of Social Workers to recognize her exemplary leadership and unique commitment to the improvement of social and human conditions.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announcs his appointment of Gladys Carrión as commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services in a press conference held in Henry Street Settlement’s youth building. “Henry Street Settlement really epitomizes so much of the challenge we face today, but this challenge has been met by the Henry Street Settlement since, literally, since 1893,” de Blasio says. “This is one of the historic sites in the fight to make sure that the needs of children and families were met, that the needs of low income people were met.”


The Lower East Side Employment Network—a collaboration founded in 2006 — works to ensure that priority is given to local residents when new jobs and opportunities become available in new major developments in the Lower East Side. The Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN) is founded as a partnership between Henry Street Settlement, University Settlement, and Community Advisory Board 3. LESEN is an innovative collaboration of experienced workforce development organizations whose main goal is to enrich the local economy by connecting responsible employers to a variety of talented, well-supported jobseekers.

The Abrons Arts Center wins a prestigious Obie Award . The awards, given annually by the Village Voice, recognize excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater. The Abrons receives the Ross Wetzsteon Award, presented to a theater that nurtures innovative new plays and artists.

Henry Street hosts the first Dunk & Donate basketball tournament to support youth programs, at Boys & Girls Republic, in January. In April, a new Learning Center is launched there with a ribbon cutting attended by more than 50 students and Henry Street staff, many of whom dress as literary characters.

Henry Street hosts the 26th Annual Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory in March. The honorary chair of the event is Agnes Gund, and co-chairs are Bunty Armstrong, Janine and J. Tomilson Hill, Alexandra Lebenthal and Byron and Anita Volz Wien.

Some 28 students graduate from the first ever Bicycle Mechanic Skills Academy at a ceremony held in March at Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center.

Henry Street hosts more than 200 members of the Lower East Side community at the first-ever Town Hall meeting. Several local elected officials participate, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmembers Margaret Chin,and Rosie Mendez, and representatives from the offices of State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.

The 2014 Gala Dinner dance honors Amandine and Stephen Freidheim, Fir Tree Partners, and Alexis Stoudemire.

Kelly Lennon-Martucci, LCSW, Director of School Based Mental Health Clinics at Henry Street, is honored at the annual National Association of Social Workers, where she is named as an Emerging Leader in social work.


Ruth Taube, director of the Home Planning Workshop, becomes a television star, profiled on NY1 as a “New Yorker of the Week” and is the subject of an episode of the hit Cooking Channel Show My Grandmother’s Ravioli where she teaches host Mo Rocca how to make Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, Farfel Pudding, and Hesta’s Brisket.

The Abrons Arts Center kicks off the 100th anniversary of its Playhouse with a Centennial Birthday Bash in February, featuring celebrated artists who have been a part of the Playhouse’s rich history.

The Arts Center wins its second Obie Award, for Lippy, co-presented by the Abrons and the Irish Arts Center. Lippy opens at the Abrons Playhouse in the fall to critical acclaim after sold-out runs in Dublin and Edinburgh.

The Art Show and its Gala Preview held in March raise nearly $1.2 million to support programs. The Art Show—one of the foremost art fairs in the nation—is organized by the Art Dealers Association of America.

The 2015 Dinner Dance held at the Plaza Hotel honors Henry Street Board Vice President Michael Steinberg, Ennead Architects, and Beespace founder Marissa Sackler. The night features performances by clients and a showing of Three Lives Transformed, a video showcasing the inspiring stories of Henry Street clients. Executive Director David Garza announces a $2 million gift to the Abrons Arts Center made by Steinberg in honor of his parents, Harold and Mimi Steinberg.

Former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams runs a 10-week basketball clinic at Henry Street’s Youth Center gymnasium for more than a dozen Henry Street teens who attend schools participating in Henry Street’s after-school programs.

First Lady of New York City and Chair of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Chirlane McCray visits Henry Street twice: In July, she tours the Settlement’s historic headquarters and Workforce Development Center; in December she visits the School for International Studies, where Henry Street operates a School Based Mental Health Program there.

Henry Street Settlement launches the Community Advisory Board (CAB) to respond to the expressed needs of program participants and Lower East Side residents. Regular CAB meetings offer a forum for Henry Street to hear directly from those in our community and opportunity for members to serve as Henry Street ambassadors in their communities. Nearly 300 people voice their thoughts and concerns about jobs, gentrification, housing, education, public safety, and more at Henry Street’s second Town Hall meeting.

Henry Street’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Community receives funding to expand nursing services to its clients.

The Settlement’s Shelter-Based Employment Program receives a 2015 Opportunity Award from the New York City Employment and Training Coalition for “Serving Special Populations.”

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development awards Henry Street $646,500 grant for aftercare services to residents who move into permanent housing after living in one in Henry Street’s transitional and supportive housing shelters.

Six teams hit the court at BGR in September for Henry Street’s 2015 Dunk & Donate basketball tournament, raising over $18,500 for youth programs at the site.

Abrons Arts Center celebrates the Playhouse’s centennial, with awards given to Woodie King, Jr., founder of the New Federal Theater; Phyllis Lamhut, choreographer, educator, and principal dancer with the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater; and Paul Taylor, whose celebrated company was born on the Abrons Playhouse stage in 1954. Presenters and performers include playwright Ntozake Shange, actress Jan Maxwell, dancer Robert La Fosse, musician Phyllis Chen, choreographer Jack Ferver, dancer James Whiteside, and actor and playwright Nilaja Sun. The emcee is Mo Rocca.


Students from Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons College Success program join with hundreds of other youth advocates in Albany to lobby for youth employment funding.

The Art Show and its Gala Preview held in March raise over $1 million to support programs. One of the foremost art fairs in the nation, The Art Show is organized by the Art Dealers Association of America.

The Settlement hosts the first annual Lillian Wald Symposium, where community members, city officials, academics, and service providers gatherto answer the question, “Can We End Homelessness?” On the panel are Steven Banks, commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services; Stephen Levin, New York City councilmember; Christine Quinn, president and CEO of Women in Need; and Ethan Sribnick, PhD, coauthor of The Poor Among Us: A History of Family Poverty and Homelessness in New York City.

At the third annual Town Hall meeting, hundreds of Lower East Side residents gather to address housing, gentrification, jobs, education, public safety and policing, and more. Public Advocate Tish James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh briefly address the crows.

The Parent Center opens a satellite office at PS 142 in October, staffed by social workers fluent in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Henry Street’s uptown gala moves downtown in October, when the Settlement partners with local art-house cinema Metrograph to host the inaugural CINEMAtheque Party.

The Settlement is a Charity Partner of the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, with nine Team Henry members raising over $20,000 to benefit Henry Street programs.


Henry Street and Executive Director David Garza are featured in Treasures of New York: Settlement Houses, a documentary that premieres on WLIW and WNET in November.

Dunk & Donate 2017 raises $20,000 for youth programs at Boys & Girls Republic, with teams from Arthur Gallagher, Safra Bank, Nutrabolt, UPS, and the Park Slope Boys battling it out on the court.

The Settlement receives $8.4 million from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., to create a Youth Opportunity Hub on the Lower East Side. The money is from the DA’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, which redistributes criminal forfeiture funds obtained through settlements with international banks. The Hub will link neighborhood service providers to offer comprehensive support for at-risk children, teens, and young adults to prevent them from becoming involved with the criminal justice system.

The Art Show 2017 raises over $1 million for Henry Street’s programs.

The Settlement makes history in April when it is awarded a competitive $360,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support The House on Henry Street, a multi-platform project, including a permanent exhibition, exploring social activism, urban poverty, and public health through the lens of Henry Street’s history.

Henry Street takes possession of the vacant firehouse at 269 Henry Street, adjacent to its historic headquarters. The three-story firehouse, former home of Engine Company No. 15, had been empty since November 2001, when the FDNY relocated the company to Pitt Street. The new building, to be named the Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center, will be home to the Parent Center and Resource Center.


Henry Street Settlement joyously marked its 125th anniversary with events and celebrations throughout 2018. The organization opens The House on Henry Street, its National Endowment for the Humanities–funded permanent interactive exhibition, in our historic headquarters on September 17. A virtual-tour microsite and walking tour is unveiled with the exhibition, as well as a series of public programs for the community.

The Dinner on Henry Street anniversary gala is held September 13 under the stars in Sol Lain Park adjacent to the Settlement. Henry Street honors the Abrons/Aranow family with the Lillian Wald Legacy Award. Dale Jones Burch, Pilar Crespi Robert, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse, UPS, The Clark Foundation, and Tiger Foundation receive Heart of Henry Street awards.

More than 1,000 people join the Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York September 16 for a Community Day to commemorate both organizations’ 125th anniversaries. During 2018, Henry Street launches Humans of Henry Street, a series hosted on our website and social media channels, profiling 125 people whose involvement with the Settlement has been transformative. Henry Street also introduces to the world its miniature mascot, #FlatLillian, to teach the public about our history and the exhibition.

Amid growing national political turmoil, Henry Street’s advocacy efforts take on greater resonance. Team members train colleagues to register community members to vote, and Henry Street holds two town halls, including one on access to affordable housing. Team members and clients march for housing for the homeless and against domestic violence.

More than 2,000 art enthusiasts, philanthropists, and business leaders attend 30th anniversary of The Art Show on February 27, raising $1 million for Henry Street. The CINEMAtheque party at Metrograph held May 9 attracts more than 250 guests and features a collaboration with guest artist KAWS and youth from the Abrons Center.

The agency launches a Talent Development Initiative that begins with the July 2018 hiring of Jan Rose as chief people officer, whose mission includes increasing professional-development opportunities for the team. Executive director David Garza is named to City and State’s Nonprofit Power 50 and is appointed to the board of the Citizens Committee for Children and the executive board of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition.

In conjunction with the new exhibition, the Settlement holds multiple history-themed events. The 3rd Annual Lillian Wald Symposium, Nevertheless, She’s Persisted, is held March 19 with Tony-nominated actor Kathleen Chalfant embodying Wald in a reading from Lillian at Home and a panel discussion of Wald’s enduring legacy.

The Abrons Arts Center collaborates with ONEOFUS, a theater group focused on inclusive casting, to bring to the Lower East Side the first of three panto-style plays, starting with “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Panto is a centuries-old English musical comedy genre typically produced around the Christmas and New Year season.


Henry Street kicks off 2019 with a Housing Town Hall and Resource Fair, Lunar New Year Celebration at Abrons Arts Center, and the 31st The Art Show and Gala Preview at Park Avenue Armory.

Domestic Violence Program team members and survivors work with writer/director Sarah Daggar-Nickson and star Olivia Wilde on the film A Vigilante, and some even appear in the film.

The fourth annual Lillian Wald Symposium, City of Extremes: Can New York’s Affordable Housing Crisis Be Solved? is held on April 10. Additional public history panels during the year include The NAACP at 110—commemorating the organization’s founding reception in Henry Street’s historic dining room—and ‘Steadies’ and ‘Crushes’, examining Henry Street’s queer history.

Henry Street issues the People’s Permit Process, a guide to navigating New York City and NYCHA event permit rules, led by Advisory Board Member Shaheeda Yasmeen Smith with Good Old Lower East Side.

A newly recovered guestbook belonging to Lillian Wald is returned to Henry Street Settlement from the Neighborhood Playhouse School archives. The guestbook includes inscriptions to Wald by Jacob Schiff, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacob Riis, four-time New York governor Alfred E. Smith, and even Amelia Earhart. The discovery is featured in The New York Times.

In October, Henry Street cuts the ribbon on the Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center, located in the restored firehouse adjacent to Henry Street’s headquarters, which had been vacant since 9/11.

In November, Henry Street receives the Overall Management Excellence Winner for the 2019 Nonprofit Excellence Awards of Nonprofit New York, with special acknowledgment of communications and human resources best practices.

The year ended with sad goodbyes to two important members of the Henry Street community. Richard Abrons—a board member for 52 years, including a decade as president—passed away in September. Former Henry Street executive director Danny Kronenfeld died in December.


The year 2020 is monumental at Henry Street Settlement and around the world. It begins with Rainbow Shoe Repair: An Unexpected Theater of Flyness, an exhibition of portraits taken at the beloved Rainbow Shoe Repair on Delancey Street from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. Portraits are installed outdoors around the Henry Street Settlement campus. In February, Henry Street hosts the 32nd annual Gala Preview to kick off The Art Show, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America.

In March, everything changes. As COVID-19 is declared a pandemic, Henry Street works quickly to reimagine all programs so they can operate safely. Henry Street redeploys nurses to our Transitional & Supportive Housing program and begins delivering meals directly to residents’ apartments to enable them to stay in place. The Senior Center transitions from providing two daily congregate meals to grab ‘n’ go, and soon to meal delivery. Team members and dozens of new volunteers begin making check-in calls to 600 seniors. Many programs pivot to meet online, with ESOL classes, mental health counseling, and art lessons conducted virtually.

As months roll on, need increases. The agency launches an emergency cash assistance program for unemployed workers, including undocumented individuals; it will distribute more than $250,000. Abrons Arts Center also announces the first round of Artist Relief Fund grants, with some subsequent rounds targeted to BIPOC and Indigenous artists. Henry Street launches a Helpline, staffed with 22 caseworkers to assist in a wide range of social services, including food delivery.

Henry Street launches the Food Access Initiative; the first home-delivery food pantry opens at Boys & Girls Republic in partnership with Vision Urbana. The base of operations moves during the summer to Abrons Arts Center, where more than a dozen arts workers have been redeployed. We launch the LES Mobile Market in August 2020 with NewYork-Presbyterian, employing local young people who make bimonthly food deliveries to 180 food-insecure families living in public housing on the Lower East Side.

Henry Street places 475 young people in summer jobs through a reconfigured Summer Youth Employment Program; additional youth join Rambler Studios, a youth fashion-design program based in Amsterdam and Berlin. Henry Street also launches the youth Community COVID Response Team, which provides information and services to the community.

In June 2020, NYU Press publishes The House on Henry Street: The Enduring Life of a Lower East Side Settlement, by Ellen Snyder-Grenier, with a foreword by President Bill Clinton. The election season brings the fifth annual Lillian Wald Symposium, “Who Gets to Vote?” in September, as well as voter registration and census events. 

The fourth season of the Netflix series The Crown recreates Diana, Princess of Wales’s 1989 visit to Henry Street’s Urban Family Center. To ensure that Lower East Side children can safely enjoy the holidays, Henry Street hosts outdoor Halloween and winter holiday community events in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. 


During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry Street provides a mixture of in-person and virtual programming, devoting significant resources to new offerings focused on the direct consequences of the pandemic. The health of the community—mental, physical, financial, and more–emerges as a top priority for the Settlement’s work. The Community Covid Response Team, initially created to provide PPE and COVID education to the community, becomes a permanent outreach program, providing job training and connecting young people to their community. NY Project Hope takes up residence at 281 East Broadway, providing thousands of short-term crisis counseling interventions from February 2021 to the end of the year.

Henry Street receives one of the largest gifts in its history, a combined donation of $4.8 million over three years from Union Beer Distributors, a branch of The Sheehan Family Companies, matched by a generous donor. These gifts enable Henry Street to expand its programming for young people ages zero to 24 at a time when the pandemic has had disproportionate and catastrophic mental health, educational, and economic repercussions on the agency’s low-income, vulnerable youth participants

By summer 2021, the Emergency Food Access Initiative comes to an end, as three Henry Street  pantry sites (Abrons Arts Center, Boys & Girls Republic, and the Senior Center) return to their intended purposes. However, the LES Mobile Market, a collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian, continues to deliver 40 pounds of food biweekly to 180 families with children in public housing.

On April 7, Henry Street hosts the sixth annual Lillian Wald Symposium, moderated by Nicole Daniels, a staff editor of The New York Times Learning Network, addressing the Black history of the Lower East Side. Daniels is joined by Rhonda Evans, assistant chief librarian at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Lauren O’Brien, public historian; Woodie King, JR., founder of the New Federal Theatre; Brian Purnell, professor of Africana studies and history at Bowdoin College; and Kamau Ware, founder of the Black Gotham Experience.

Throughout summer 2021, Henry Street organizes safe, outdoor community events, many of them with COVID testing and vaccination opportunities provided onsite. From a spring Welcome Back Healthy fair in the Vladeck Houses to three Summer Saturday festivals and three outdoor roller skating events, we welcome more than 1,000 individuals to reconvene after many months apart. .

The New York State Historic Preservation Office approves a new designation of Henry Street Settlement—specifically the buildings at 265 and 267 Henry Street—as an LGBT historic site. The designation is based on Lillian Wald’s romantic and platonic relationships with the women she affectionately called “The Family” (a concept commonly used in women-run settlement houses), who provided an essential support network for her from the 1890s until her retirement in the 1930s.

Henry Street is honored by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, for its dedication to food justice, at the center’s Fall Social Fundraiser.

On November 4, The Art Dealers Association of America, with lead partner AXA XL, a division of AXA Group, premieres The Art Show, the 33rd annual benefit for Henry Street, which raises more than $1 million in unrestricted support for the agency’s programs through ticket sales and contributions. This event marks a permanent change in the time of year that The Art Fair is held.    


Henry Street Settlement launched “Hope & Resilience on the COVID Frontlines,” an oral history project, on our website,

The project is the culmination of 30 oral history interviews with Henry Street frontline staff members, program participants, and neighborhood residents, recorded in spring and early summer 2020. During this period, Henry Street underwent a significant pivot, with frontline workers creating new programs practically overnight in response to community needs and steering the organization through an unpredictable time while managing their own fears and losses. Thirteen edited audio clips appear in the exhibit.

In 2022, nearly all Henry Street Settlement programs have returned in person. Lingering effects of the pandemic—a mental health crisis, a shifting economy, and isolation—lead many to Henry Street’s new and older programs.

In May 2022, the CONNECT (Continuous Engagement between Community and Clinic Treatment) is introduced for people with a variety of mental health challenges. This new clinic without walls offers therapy and support groups as well as a food pantry and ceramics class, connecting participants with whatever type of support they need.

Henry Street’s Urban Family Center (UFC) celebrates its 50th anniversary. UFC is the nation’s first apartment-style transitional shelter with onsite social services for families, and its 50th anniversary brings together former and current team members—including past directors Verona Middleton-Jeter and Geniria Amstrong—with colleagues and guests at Abrons Arts Center.


Ali Rosa-Salas is named vice president of performing and visual arts for the Settlement. Rosa-Salas joined the Abrons Arts Center in 2018 and redesigned its institutional curatorial strategy to be more accessible to the local community and integrative of Henry Street Settlement programs. Henry Street continues the NYCHA Arts Initiative, offering free classes to anyone living in public housing in our nearest zip codes. A total of 132 young New York City public housing residents—about one-third of Abrons’s students—benefited from the program in 2022, studying dance, visual arts, music, and theater at no cost.


On September 29, Henry Street welcomes Little Amal, the 12-foot puppet of a 10-year old Syrian refugee child, who spreads a message of global human rights throughout the five boroughs. She meets with leaders from the Lenape disapora in the Abrons Amphitheater.


Henry Street expands youth programs to serve a wide range of ages and interests, providing a sense of community, connection, and healing. With funding from NYCHA, Henry Street expands summer hours and offerings at the Education Services building and at Boys & Girls Republic, with open gym, cooking, movie night, boxing, chess, and more. School District 1 and the Settlement’s education division launch City Trekkers summer camp, with support from Trinity Church Wall Street. The field-trip-based camp takes children to only-in-New York sites from the American Museum of Natural History to Yankees games.


Other youth-focused programs include Mentoring & Nurturing (M.A.N.), engaging five cohorts of 70 young men in a curriculum of self-love, financial literacy, emotional intelligence, and more. On Ramps to Opportunity (ORO), a spinoff from the Job Essentials Training program for ages 18 to 24, seeks to reach young people who are not working or attending school, helping them launch their careers. Services include resume and interview assistance and job-search help. Eleven young participants in Henry Street’s programs spend the summer of 2022 honing their artistic skills at Buck’s Rock Camp in New Milford, Connecticut.


Henry Street and its partner organization Stacks+Joules continue the Building Automation Systems training program. This program brings under-represented groups into the high-tech field of automated HVAC and lighting controls. Among the first two cohorts of graduates, 36 are working in the high-paying building automation industry by the end of the year.


On April 13, the Settlement holds its 7th annual Lillian Wald Symposium, What Is a Living Wage: Making Ends Meet in NYC. A virtual panel brings together experts in labor history, economics, the arts, and human services. The event dovetails with the Settlement’s announced increase in its wage floor to $22 per hour in July 2022. Moderated by Paul Sonn of the National Employment Law Project, the panel features Raysa Rodriguez of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Maura Cuffie of Creatives Rebuild New York, Tsedeye Gebreselassie of the National Employment Law Project, and Samir Sonti of the CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies.


Public historian Katie Vogel, together with historian partners, creates the Settlement’s Queer History Walking Tour of the Lower East Side, which is an instant hit. Taking as inspiration Lilian Wald’s romantic relationships with women in the early years of the Settlement, their tour includes many little-known Lower East Side sites of historic importance.


On November 2, The Art Dealers Association of America, with lead partner AXA XL, a division of AXA Group, holds The Art Show, the 34th annual fundraiser for Henry Street, which raises more than $1.3 million in support for the agency’s programs through ticket sales, contributions, and proceeds from an auction of works generously donated by the artist Tomm El-Saieh.

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