Born into wealth and privilege in 1870’s New York, Edwin Gould recognized early on the power his position in society afforded him to assist the needy. History relates that he may have had a fractured relationship with his own father rooted in his decision to leave Columbia University after only three years of studies. Rather than entering the family business, he struck out on his own and inside of six months was worth over a million dollars. Having proven himself, he was welcomed into the family’s railroad and banking interests. By the age of 27, with an inheritance from his father’s estate and his own fortune, Edwin was worth twenty million dollars.
Edwin was fond of his mother-in-law, Hester Shrady. Inspired by her work with the Messiah Home for children, Edwin and his wife Sarah began making contributions of money, food and clothing to charitable organizations. Sheltering Arms Children’s Services was one of the first children’s homes to benefit from their involvement. Edwin visited the home regularly and was known to the children and staff as a friend and benefactor who provided gifts such as tickets to the circus and ice cream during the hot summer months.
While his involvement with Sheltering Arms was important to him, it was not until tragedy struck his life that he became so entirely devoted to helping children. His son, Edwin, Jr. was accidentally shot while on a camping trip. At the funeral services, a large basket of roses arrived from the children of Sheltering Arms, one rose from each child at the home. This tender memorial so moved the bereaved father that he determined to devote his fortune and his time in their behalf.
The Lakeside School was the first program under Edwin Gould’s direct administration. He also supported the Kingsland School for Boys, which was located in the Bronx, NY. Later he built the Clearing Bureau near Pelham Parkway in the Bronx to provide for Protestant children a period of quarantine, which was necessary at that time, before placement in long-term care. In1923, through a special act of the New York Legislature, Edwin Gould established the Edwin Gould Foundation for Children to ensure that these services to children would not cease with his death.
In 1939, six years after Edwin Gould’s death, the Edwin Gould New York Fund was established as a separate corporation to operate the childcare programs of the Edwin Gould Foundation for Children. Initially limited to Foster Boarding Homes, programming expanded in 1957 to include a limited adoption service.
1960s and 70s
1966 The name of the Fund was changed to Edwin Gould Services for Children and, in 2001, to Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families.
In 1968, in response to the large number of girls between 14 and 18 years old having unplanned pregnancies, Edwin Gould’s innovative leadership team began an assault on the traditional forms of foster care by renaming the Foster Boarding Home services “City Programs” and delivering a variety of nontraditional and preventive services to this population.
Building on this area of programming, the United Families Preventive Program is established in 1972 to prevent the removal of children and adolescents from their homes.
Our services for adults with developmental disabilities were established in response to the tragedy of Willowbrook, with several of the residents of our first facility, the Rev. Kenneth Folkes (RKF) Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), coming to us in 1976 directly from Willowbrook.
Edwin Gould’s commitment to establishing innovative services continued with the addition of the Incarcerated Mothers Program (IMP) in 1985 and STEPS to End Family Violence (STEPS) in 1986. IMP was conceived by our then Board Vice-President, Dr. Lillie Mae Barton who was concerned that there were no programs at the time to assist the children of incarcerated mothers. Edwin Gould reached out for assistance to Sr. Mary Nerney, Executive Director of Project Greenhope, and Rev. Elinore Hare, both advocates for women involved in the criminal justice system. Initial funding came through a New York State Child Welfare Demonstration grant in November of 1985 and we became the first program in New York City to formally address this issue.
Soon after IMP was founded, Sr. Mary left Project Greenhope and founded STEPS to End Family Violence (STEPS) as a program of Edwin Gould. Another program at the vanguard, STEPS was the first to recognize the impact of trauma and past abuse on the actions women have taken to protect themselves and remains the only program its kind nation-wide.
Our Co-op City group home for youth in foster care transitions to an adult residential facility for developmentally disabled adults.
Our pioneering solutions led to STEPS to End Family Violence becoming among the first recipients of the Mary Byron Foundation’s Celebrating Solutions award for innovative work that can serve as a national model.
Edwin Gould and the Child Development Corporation (CDSC) formed an alliance transferring to Edwin Gould CDSC programs including Foster Care, Adoption, Medical/Mental Health Services, and the Supervised Independent Living Program
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services awarded a Certificate of Recognition to Edwin Gould for “Outstanding Performance in Achieving Permanency Through Adoption for the Children of NYC.”
On behalf of the Edwin Gould developmentally disabled population, several individuals in our Co-op City residences spearhead the formation of the Edwin Gould Self Advocacy Group.
Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, issued a Proclamation recognizing our Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP).
Nuevos Horizontes, the Agency’s first Bronx-based preventive program officially opened in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, serving 72 families from the Hunts Point, Mott Haven, and Morrisania communities.
September 19, 2011, marked the opening of the new Day Habilitation Program at Co-op City, now located in Mount Vernon, providing recreational activities to over 40 adults with developmental disabilities.
The Rev. Emma Jordan Simpson is appointed Interim Executive Director in September.
Sr. Mary Nerney, founder of STEPS to End Family Violence, passed away the day before Thanksgiving. Both the New York Times and the Daily News carried her obituary and a standing room only service was held in December and attended by social justice activists and elected officials from across New York State and the country. On December 3rd, Congressman Charles Rangel entered a statement in the Congressional Record marking her passing
Manhattan Borough President, Gayle Brewer, issued a Proclamation on the occasion of Denim Day, April 23, 2014, to recognize the work of our STEPS to End Family Violence program.
Mr. Keith Little joins Edwin Gould on June 9th as our newest Executive Director.