This past weekend, The New York Foundling celebrated its 150th anniversary with a host of events which included a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a Reunion Day at NYU’s Kimmel Center, and a Block Party Festival in Chelsea. The weekend was a great way for The Foundling to commemorate a century and a half of providing children, families and individuals with developmental disabilities with a dedicated support system.
The Mass, held on June 6, was celebrated by His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Along with the attendance of Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, many Foundling alums, orphan train descendants, Trustees, and Foundling staff members were involved with curating the ceremony as they participated in the procession, readings, and various other roles. Cardinal Dolan led the sermon and shared before hundreds of attendees, “The Foundling has always been a place of miracles.” He added, “The New York Foundling, since its inception in 1869, has always been an outlet for people in need to count on.” The ceremony was open to the public and was followed by a networking reception nearby.
On June 7, families, staff, alumnae, clients, friends and adoptees gathered at the NYU’s Kimmel Center to celebrate Reunion Day. In attendance were 100 attendees that were involved with various networking events throughout the day. Events included guest speakers, panel sessions, workshops, and other special topics. The list of events included “The Orphan Train Movement,” discussed by Shaley George (curator for The National Orphan Train Complex) and “Researching Your Roots,” which featured Maggie Dickinson (Lead tutor of After-school Allies), lllona Dixon (Records Department representative for The Foundling), and Greg Markway (Foundling Descendent, Author, and Psychologist). As well as, “Why the New York Foundling Survives,” examined by Mary Elizabeth Brown (Archivist at Marymount Manhattan College), “Foundling from Past to Present,” talked about by Valerie Russo (Chief Operating Officer of The Foundling), Sister Carol Barnes S.C. (Director of Mission Engagement of The Foundling), Carmen Jirau-Rivera (Chief Program Officer of The Foundling), and Jill Gentile (Senior Vice President of the Developmental Disabilities Division at The Foundling). To finish the event, Kevin Draper (Historian and Tour Director for New York Historical Tours) gave a detailed account of the “New York City History from 1869.” Also, many of the attendees participated in sharing their own affiliation with The Foundling and shared what makes this organization special.
The Final event of the weekend was the Block Party on June 8. The Block Party took place outside of our offices at 590 Avenue of the Americas and was an action packed day with over 1,000 attendees! Families and members of the Foundling enjoyed a day filled with music, entertainment, food, and more. The event had food trucks (catered by Gorilla Cheese NYC, Green Gorilla Kitchen, and Gary’s Steak), face painting, games, and live music. Other vendors that helped provide a wonderful event for The Foundling included City Winery, The ACC (Animal Care Centers of NYC), UnitedHealthcare, MyHeritage, The Door, and the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.
More events to celebrate The New York Foundling’s 150th Anniversary will take place over the next few months, including the 150th Gala Celebration at The Plaza on October 2.
For more information go to www.nyfoundling.org/150anniversary