Our History

Historical Highlights

This timeline provides an overview for the first 122 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 which features 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 training 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 (NFT) was  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 was 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 home, 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.


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.


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 13th, 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.


The Housekeeping program expands in Brooklyn, where it begins providing housekeeping service to Russian-speaking clients. Russian-Speaking administrative staff is 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 1-19.

The CCC 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.


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 CCC to serve clients impacted by 9/11 and to offer accessible and concrete housing, financial, legal, 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.


Henry Street opened 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 received a new contract enabling the Agency’s 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, celebrated its 20th birthday and brought in more than $1.5 million to support Henry Street programs. The show, organized by the Art Dealers Association, was held at the Park Avenue Armory in February.

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

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

Henry Street received 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 appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Henry Street was 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 ever in a single year – received college scholarships ranging from $100 to $1,100 at the seventh annual Youth Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking at the agency’s fundraising gala in April, said: “We talk about Main Street, we talk about Wall Street. But maybe we should be talking about Henry Street.”

The Fashion Institute of Technology presented Ruth Taube, Home Planning Workshop Director, with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor has been bestowed on only four other people; Anna Wintour, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta.

Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver presented youth client Shaquana Gardner with a proclamation for her “extensive academic accomplishments.” Stories about Ms. Gardner appeared in the NY Daily News and other media.

The health care team from Henry Street’s Community Consultation Center began 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.

More than 200 domestic violence survivors, law enforcement officials, government officials, community activists and others attended Henry Street’s 10th annual Domestic Violence Awareness conference.

Verona Middleton-Jeter, Executive Director of Henry Street since 2002, announced that she would retire on June 30, 2010, after 38 years at the Settlement, seven of them as Executive Director.

The New Yorker named two Abrons Arts Center productions – Justin Bond’s Christmas Spells and Banana Bag & Bodice’s Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage – to its best theatre of 2009 lists, published December 18. 


David Garza, Chief Administrator of Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center, was named the new Executive Director of the Settlement. He took office on July 1, 2010.

The total amount raised in ticket sales and contributions to the annual Art Show was 22 percent more than the previous year. The newly formed Young Collectors Committee of Henry Street Settlement held its first event to support the agency’s Art Show benefit.

The Abrons Arts Center hosted an 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 marked the 100 anniversary of Nikolais’s birth, was held April 30, May 1 and 2.

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

Henry Street hosts its first ever Community Day, held in October at the Abrons Arts Center. More than 500 community residents enjoyed a performance by Karole Armitage’s dance company, music by Graham and Harrison Whitford, a barbecue and more.

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


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

Henry Street launches its new website.

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. In addition, 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 Henry Street, Ursula M. Burns, Chair and CEO of Xerox Corporation, and Lauren Bush, Co-Founder and CEO of Feed Projects. At the event, Ms. Burns announces that the Xerox Foundation has approved a $250,000 grant to Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons College Prep Program.

Expanded Horizons, Henry Street’s college prep program, 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. And through the support of the Abrons/Aranow Scholarship Fund, each student receives a scholarship ranging in amounts from $500 to $1,000.

Henry Street commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history, with a tea and reception to acknowledge Henry Street’s early support for the labor movement, and work place and fire safety reforms. The reception is attended by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

A unique partnership between the Settlement and Equine Advocates, a rescue and sanctuary in upstate New York, is established. Henry Street clients — including many youth in our shelters — visit the sanctuary. A benefit concert — Bebe Neuwirth & Friends — is held at the Abrons Arts Center to raise money for the partnership.

Henry Street achieves 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 honored 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 received the Corporate Leadership Award.

Partners in Preservation (PIP) announces June 13 that it will award Henry Street Settlement $175,000 after a lively four-week online voting competition. In addition to the online campaign, Henry Street hosted an open house party on May 6 to get out the vote. More than 600 people attended the event, which featured old-time street games, a cake baking contest, Zumba, refreshments and more in honor of Lillian Wald’s 145th birthday.

New York’s mayor and City Council announce in July that they will restore funding to youth services, including Henry Street’s vital after-school programs. Massive proposed cuts to the Fiscal Year 2013 city budget would have eliminated some Henry Street programs. The Settlement played an important role advocating for the restoration of funds. Joining with fellow Lower East Side settlement houses and other groups, Henry Street created a May 3 town hall meeting attended by hundreds that demonstrated the community’s outrage over the cuts.

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 NYS 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.

Henry Street became a NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) Partner to work more effectively with public housing residents.

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. During and after the storm, Henry Street continues to offer vital services; 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. In the aftermath of the storm, Henry Street is chosen as a provider agency for Project Hope, a grant-funded program that provides crisis counseling, educational information and resource linkage to those affected by the superstorm. The Settlement also provides 355 area families with $25,495 in food vouchers and assistance with utility bills, through funds given by the Robin Hood Foundation.

Henry Street Executive Director David Garza receives a “Downtowner of the Year” award from Manhattan Media on December 13. Garza is one of two downtown leaders to be recognized for efforts in the Hurricane Sandy recovery.


DECENTER, an exhibit celebrating the legacy of the 1913 Armory Show, opened at Henry Street’s Abrons Arts Center. The exhibit highlighted Henry Street’s sponsorship of the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Armory Show in 1963, the occasion which announced the construction of what is today known as the Abrons Arts Center. Henry Street further developed this historic legacy through the annual Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory, the first of multiple art fairs inspired by the original Armory event.

Henry Street’s annual Gala Dinner Dance, held on April 4 at the Plaza Hotel, honored 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 gathered at Henry Street’s Abrons Arts Center on May 21 for the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Urban Family Center, the nation’s first family shelter.

Famous Lower East Side eatery Katz Deli celebrated its 125th anniversary weekend on May 31 with a Shabbat dinner to benefit Henry Street Settlement. The program was emceed by Gilbert Gottfried and included remarks by executive director David Garza and deli owners Alan and Jake Dell.

Henry Street Executive Director David Garza was honored at the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) 35th anniversary celebration on June 20th. GOLES is a neighborhood housing and preservation organization that has served the LES of Manhattan since 1977.

A PBS Kids Emmy award-winning educational math mystery show called Cyberchase filmed at Camp Henry for three days in August.

Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center hosted a benefit, Uptown | Downtown, in October. Broadway World said of the event: “a world-class cast of performers representing Manhattan’s uptown and downtown performance scenes shared the stage for this special event. As Henry Street Settlement Executive Director David Garza joked, the government may be shut down, but Abrons Arts Center is most definitely still open.” The evening included an all-star performance in the Playhouse, and was hosted by honorary chairman Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Youth Services at Henry Street united with the Afterschool Alliance and millions around the nation to rally for after-school youth programs during the 14th annual Lights On Afterschool event. More than 100 students who attend Henry Street after-school gathered in October to express the positive effect that after-school programming has had on their lives.

Henry Street’s Meals on Wheels staff had three employees recognized for their outstanding service in October at the CityMeals STAR awards ceremony.

Henry Street’s Urban Family Center hosted the annual Speak Out Against Domestic Violence conference at the Abrons Art Center in October.

Betsy Smith, Director of Vladeck Cares/NORC, received 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.

Then-Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced 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. “I want to thank David Garza, the Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement, for having agreed to have this gathering here today,” said de Blasio. “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. 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.”


Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN) – an organization co-founded by Henry Street Settlement in collaboration with Community Board 3 – began working closely 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.

Henry Street hosted the first Dunk and Donate basketball tournament to support youth programs. The tournament was held at the BGR in January.

Henry Street staff and clients participated in a rally to protest delays in the reopening of the escalator at the East Broadway F train stop. The rally was organized by State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin.
Kristin Hertel, LCSW, was appointed Deputy Program Officer of Health and Wellness at Henry Street Settlement. Hertel had most recently served as Clinical Director of the Behavioral Health Division among other positions in her 23 year tenure.

Henry Street’s Project PROTECT program — a peer-led HIV prevention program that connects young gay men of color to critical services to help them gain stability and financial independence and make better relationship decisions — hosted its first “I Know My Status” Kiki Ball. Nearly 100 people attended the event which was held on February 20 at the Abrons Arts Center.

Henry Street hosted the 26th Annual Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory in March. Honorary Chair of the event was Agnes Gund. Co-chairs were Bunty Armstrong, Janine and J. Tomilson Hill, Alexandra Lebenthal and Byron and Anita Volz Wien.

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

Henry Street hosted more than 200 members of the Lower East Side community at the first-ever Town Hall meeting. Several local elected officials participated, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmember Margaret Chin and Councilmember 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 held at the Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom honored Amandine and Stephen Freidheim, Fir Tree Partners and Alexis Stoudemire. The Wall Street Journal wrote of the event, “One of the surprising things about the Henry Street Settlement’s 2014 gala dinner dance on Tuesday at the Plaza was the average age of the attendees. Here is an institution that has helped New Yorkers on the Lower East Side for more than 100 years through social services, art programs and health-care services. Because of its longevity as a local charity, it would seem to attract a crowd that wasn’t only grandfathered in, but also, well, a little bit grandfatherly.”

Henry Street Settlement distributed books to elderly clients of the Good Companions Senior Center, the Senior Companion Program and to Meals on Wheels recipients as part of World Book Night on April 23. David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement – a partner in the initiative — was among the speakers at the launch event at the New York Public Library, joining such esteemed authors as Garrison Keillor, Malcolm Gladwell, Tobias Wolff, Esmerelda Santiago, Walter Dean Myers, Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon.

The new Learning Center at the Boys & Girls Republic (BGR) opened on April 22, with a ceremonial ribbon cutting attended by more than 50 students and Henry Street staff, many of whom dressed as literary characters.

Henry Street Settlement hosted the kick-off event for 2014’s Lower East Side History Month in May with a block party to celebrate Lillian Wald’s 147th birthday. Longtime Henry Street staff member Ruth Taube, director of the Home Planning Workshop, was also named a Lower East Side Community Hero during the month-long celebration.

The Abrons Arts Center won a prestigious Obie Award at the 59th Annual Obie Awards Ceremony. The Obie Awards, given annually by the Village Voice, recognize excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater. The Abrons received the Ross Wetzsteon Award, presented to a theater that nurtures innovative new plays and artists. A $1,000 grant accompanied the award, which is named for the former theater editor of the Village Voice.

Henry Street Settlement’s New York State-certified health care navigators helped local residents sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at the Neighborhood Resource Center (and several satellite sites) during the open enrollment period in the fall and winter. Henry Street also partnered with New York City Council Members Margaret Chin, Corey Johnson, and Rosie Mendez to present a public Healthcare Enrollment Info Session at the Boys & Girls Republic on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.

Kelly Lennon-Martucci, LCSW, Director of School Based Mental Health Clinics at Henry Street, was honored at the annual National Association of Social Workers 8th Annual Leadership Awards Dinner in December. Kelly was named as an Emerging Leader in social work.

Henry Street ended the year in high spirits and cheer thanks to 240 volunteers, donating 893 hours of their time, and hailing from 11 different partners, bringing holiday joy to seven different programs. This included several members of our Board, and our partners, Allen & Overy LLP, Credit Suisse, CME Group, Fir Tree Partners, JP Morgan Chase, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, Macy’s, and Morgan Stanley. Also integral to the holiday celebrations were in-kind partners American Express, Banana Republic, CME Group, Corporation Service Company (CSC Global), Deloitte, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Mizuho, NYC Mamas Give Back, The Today Show, and Seven Harbour.


Ruth Taube, director of the Home Planning Workshop, turned into a television star in 2015—she was profiled on NY1’s The Call as their “New Yorker of the Week,” and was the subject of an episode of the hit Cooking Channel Show My Grandmother’s Ravioli where she taught host Mo Rocca how to make Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, Farfel Pudding, and Hesta’s Brisket.

The Abrons Arts Center kicked 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 Art Show and its Gala Preview held in March raised 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 honored Henry Street Board Vice President Michael Steinberg, Ennead Architects, and Beespace founder Marissa Sackler. The night celebrated all things Henry Street, featuring performances by clients and a showing of Three Lives Transformed, a video showcasing the inspiring stories of Henry Street clients. Additionally, Executive Director David Garza announced a transformative $2 million gift to the Abrons Arts Center made by Steinberg in honor of his parents, Harold and Mimi Steinberg. “Michael opens doors, makes sure magic happens inside, and now he’s building a door,” said Garza, noting that the gift will be used to re-envision the Abrons Arts Center amphitheater to create a cultural beacon for downtown arts.

Former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams ran a ten-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. Each early-morning session included a catered breakfast and mentoring by Williams, where he helped teach the students accountability, discipline and the significance of smart decision-making. To qualify for the free program, students had to arrive on time and provide proof that they completed their homework. Williams, a former resident of a Henry Street homeless shelter, expressed that he’s “always had a special place in [his] heart for Henry Street.”

The Abrons Arts Center won its second Obie Award at the 60th annual Obie Awards Ceremony in May. The Obie Awards, given annually by The Village Voice, recognize excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater. The Abrons received the award for Lippy, co-presented by the Abrons and the Irish Arts Center. Lippy opened at the Abrons Playhouse in the fall to critical acclaim after sold-out runs in Dublin and Edinburgh.

First Lady of New York City and Chair of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Chirlane McCray visited Henry Street and its programs twice this year. In July, she toured the Settlement’s historic headquarters and the Workforce Development Center, meeting with participants in both Project RISE and the Young Adult Internship Program. The First Lady’s second visit, in December, took her to the Henry Street School for International Studies. The Settlement is a partner in the school’s Community Schools Program and operates a School Based Mental Health Program there.

Henry Street Settlement launched the Community Advisory Board (CAB) in response to suggestions from program participants and Lower East Side residents. Regular CAB meetings offer a forum for Henry Street to hear directly from those in our community, an opportunity for members to serve as Henry Street ambassadors in their communities, and helps inform Henry Street’s advocacy efforts.

Nearly 300 people—the most ever—came to voice their thoughts and concerns about jobs, gentrification, housing, education, public safety, and more at Henry Street’s second Town Hall meeting. Several local elected officials participated, including Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, and District Leader of New York’s 65th Assembly District Jenifer Rajkumar.

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

Henry Street Settlement’s Shelter-Based Employment Program received a 2015 Opportunity Award from the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC). The award for “Serving Special Populations” was presented at the organization’s award reception held in November in Manhattan.

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development awarded Henry Street Settlement a $646,500 grant as part of their Continuum of Care Program Competition in 2015. The funds will support aftercare services for 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. Teams from Cellucor, First Manhattan Consulting Group, Safra National Bank, Arthur J. Gallager & Co., Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow and the Park Slope Boys competed.

Abrons Arts Center hosted the Playhouse Jamboree, the Party of the Century, to celebrate the Playhouse’s centennial. Guests enjoyed a cocktail party before a star-studded performance/awards ceremony celebrating Abrons’ past, present and future. Awards were 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 Paul Taylor Dance Company was born on the Abrons Playhouse stage in 1954. Presenters and performers included 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 for the event was journalist and humorist Mo Rocca.

Nearly 300 people packed the gymnasium at 301 Henry Street to share concerns and ideas about issues affecting the Lower East Side at Henry Street’s Annual Town Hall Meeting. Elected officials in attendance included U.S. Congresswomen Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, and District Leader of New York’s 65th Assembly District Jenifer Rajkumar.


Students from Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons College Success program got a real-life lesson in government when they joined with hundreds of other youth advocates in Albany to lobby for youth employment funding. The students participated in a rally, with one youth speaking at the event, and met with local elected officials, including New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senator Daniel Squadron.

Henry Street’s Senior Services Division was awarded a unique Digital Health Marketplace Grant to pilot a smartphone application with AgeWell Global to improve access to social services and health care for seniors living in the Settlement’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.

The Art Show and its Gala Preview held in March raised 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 hosted the first annual Lillian Wald Symposium, where community members, city officials, academics and service providers gathered to answer the question, “Can We End Homelessness?” On the panel were Steven Banks, Commissioner, 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, Ph.D., co-author of The Poor Among Us: A History of Family Poverty and Homelessness in New York City. The panel was moderated by Executive Director David Garza.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a press conference at Henry Street to celebrate the record-breaking summer of Summer Youth Employment (SYEP). He was joined by members of his administration, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong, U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, as well as Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Mathieu Eugene. Henry Street is one of the city’s oldest and largest partners of SYEP, placing youth between the ages of 14 and 24 in six weeks of summer employment.

In August, Henry Street hosted a candidate’s forum for the six candidates who ran for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s seat in Assembly District 65. Co-sponsored by the Women’s Political Caucus-NYC and WABC-TV, the forum saw Alice Cancel, Don Lee, Gigi Li, Paul Newell, Yuh-Line Niou and Jenifer Rajkumar answering questions posed by moderator N.J. Burkett, WABC-TV correspondent, as well as by local residents and audience members.

The community made its voice heard at Henry Street’s Third Annual Town Hall Meeting, where hundreds of Lower East Side residents gathered to address topics like housing, gentrification, jobs, education, public safety and policing and more. Public Advocate Tish James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh spoke briefly to the crowd, and Executive Director David Garza promised that the Settlement would study the results and use them to inform the agency’s budget, legislative and programmatic advocacy agenda.

The Parent Center opened a satellite office at PS 142 in October to provide workshops and information for parents, right in their child’s school. The center is staffed by social workers fluent in English, Spanish and Chinese.

Henry Street’s historically uptown gala moved downtown in October, when the Settlement partnered with local art-house cinema Metrograph to host the inaugural CINEMAtheque Party. The evening featured a blue carpet entrance and cocktail party, a screening of featured artist Daniel Arsham’s Future Relic films and a Q&A with Arsham led by noted film producer Jane Rosenthal. Also on hand were students from Expanded Horizons College Success Program and Abrons Arts Center engagement programs, who had met with Arsham in his studio to Polaroid learn photography prior to the event. The students used their new skills to snap Polaroid photos of guests, posing them with Arsham’s handmade film props.

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


Henry Street and its Executive Director David Garza were featured in Treasures of New York: Settlement Houses, a documentary that premiered on WLIW and WNET in November. The one-hour film explored the unique history of the dynamic settlement house movement.

Dunk & Donate 2017 raised $20,000 for youth programs at BGR, with teams from Arthur Gallagher, Safra Bank, Nutrabolt, UPS, and the Park Slope Boys battling it out on the court. Each team had additional support from BGR youth, who were “drafted” by the teams at the beginning of the tournament.

The Settlement received $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 make services more accessible by linking neighborhood service providers together 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 (including the Gala Preview, auction proceeds and daily admissions) raised over $1 million for Henry Street’s programs. The Art Show, the nation’s longest-running fine art fair, is organized by the Art Dealer’s Association of America.

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa visited Henry Street in March, where he spent time with youth from the Early Childhood Education Center and BGR. Enunwa participated in a mock press conference at BGR, answering students’ questions about his inspirations and role models, how he manages his time and how he got his start in football.

The Settlement made history in April when it was awarded a competitive $360,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support The House on Henry Street: Settlements, Public Health and Social Reform, a multi-platform project explores social activism, urban poverty and public health through the lens of Henry Street’s history.

In response to growing concern about the actions being taken by the President and the federal government, the Settlement launched the Action Center: Henry Street Speaks Up on its website and installed a Speak Up Station at Abrons Arts Center. On the website, visitors can get information about accessing our services, connecting with other organizations working to protect immigrants, getting involved in politics on a local level, supporting Henry Street’s city and state advocacy efforts, contacting representatives and more. The Speak Up Station features a phone and toolkit that anyone can use to contact their representatives, open to the community daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Henry Street took 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 at Henry Street Settlement, will be home to the Settlement’s Parent Center and Resource Center, which will move from 281 East Broadway once renovation is complete in 2020. Ground broke on November 10.

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