Skip to content
henry street settlement

Annual Report 2020

Our Impact

1 million
meals or grocery bags delivered
individuals reached by Henry Street
emergency assistance provided*
volunteer phone calls
made to seniors
helpline calls
individual and corporate volunteers donated 4,000 hours of their time


families (including 623 children) temporarily sheltered

Health & Wellness

individuals received health & wellness services

Visual & Performing Arts

individuals enjoyed 84 productions + educational programming

Senior Services

seniors served, exceeding the annual goal by 50%


children and youth served


adults placed in jobs & 475 youth placed in paid work/education programs
* Including $237,000 in direct cash grants, $50,000 through the Artist Community Relief Fund, and summer youth work and learning stipends

Every dollar you give opens doors for the people Henry Street serves.

Letter from the president & CEO and Board Co-Chairs

Dear Friends,

Thank you for joining us here, as we look back on an unprecedented year.

The ability to listen, to reflect, and to act is in Henry Street’s organizational DNA and deeply ingrained in the settlement house philosophy. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the severity of the crisis required Henry Street to do all three simultaneously, as we reached out to the community to assess the most pressing needs and respond with compassion, competence, agility, and solutions.

Henry Street’s doors never closed, as our team provided extensive in-person and virtual programming to address multiple intertwined crises, while still offering seamless access to our core human services. We could not be more proud of the way our tremendously dedicated Board of Directors and our incredible team have responded. Above all, we wish to thank the hundreds of frontline workers who have served their participants with bravery and compassion, even while dealing with their own fear and loss.

Today, Henry Street’s core mission—helping people emerge from poverty and live more secure lives—is exactly what New York City needs to recover. As we prepare to provide the long-term support that our community needs, we are committed to addressing the persistent racism that has intensified the impact of the pandemic and created disproportionately unequal opportunities in communities of color.

We thank you for the support, confidence, and faith you’ve shown in our organization during this extraordinary time.

Justice. Peace. Health. Hope.

David Garza
President & CEO
Scott L. Swid
Board Co-Chair
Ian D. Highet
Board Co-Chair

We invite you to read our full 2020 annual report

2020: Our Doors Never Closed

Henry Street’s Health & Wellness, Employment & Education, Transitional & Supportive Housing, Senior Services, and Visual & Performing Arts divisions all adapted rapidly to provide uninterrupted services this year.

New Programming Underpins
Pandemic Response

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has required extreme flexibility, as Henry Street has listened intentionally to its community and team, continually fine-tuning and building our approach to community needs. While many programs never closed and others moved online, the organization has launched a number of initiatives to address the deepening crisis.

In early April, Henry Street launched the Emergency Food Access Initiative, which by mid-summer had expanded to three locations: Boys & Girls Republic, Abrons Arts Center, and the Senior Center. With 20 staff, including many redeployed arts center workers, as well as volunteers, these home-delivery pantries have been a lifesaver for nearly 1,000 households, where age, illness, or lack of income has caused a food crisis. In July, the LES Mobile Market, a collaboration with New York-Presbyterian, began delivering 40 pounds of nutritious groceries twice a month to about 180 neighborhood families living in NYCHA developments.

The COVID Community Response Team, a squad of about 20 young people, has performed multiple community-service functions and is now packing and delivering meals on foot to hundreds of households each week. Our new Helpline connected 1,328 callers to the resources they needed—whether emergency food or cash, mental health care or crisis intervention, help with remote schooling, or finding a COVID testing site.

Generation Z comes to the rescue: Youth members of the Community COVID Response Team teach seniors how to get the most from their devices, in the courtyard of Vladeck Houses.

Protecting the Most Vulnerable

When the pandemic hit, our Transitional & Supportive Housing team sprang into action to protect the most vulnerable New York City residents. Henry Street immediately began delivering public health education and three meals daily to nearly 600 shelter residents, including more than 200 children, so that they could stay in place. This pipeline was especially important, because some of these residences are in neighborhoods where it is difficult to find affordable nutritious groceries close by.

In the midst of the pandemic, the team managed to place 78 families into permanent housing. Throughout, a staff priority has been helping children overcome both emotional and technological hurdles to remote learning and making sure they were still having fun!

Henry Street provided three meals a day to nearly 600 residents of our transitional and supportive housing buildings so that they could safely stay in place.

Supporting Emotional Health & Safety

In March 2020, Henry Street blanketed the neighborhood with educational information about how to stay safe and offered assistance from our Helpline.

Throughout the pandemic, our Community Consultation Center has provided therapy remotely and safely in person—and began several new initiatives such as virtual grief support groups. CCC nurses were redeployed to our transitional and supportive housing program so that residents with health issues could receive timely attention without resorting to crowded hospitals. Our School-Based Mental Health clinics have made a range of services available to families struggling with illness, grief, or the challenges of isolation and remote learning.

Services at the Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center have also expanded dramatically: The center assisted unemployed workers seeking help applying for benefits; oversaw the Emergency Cash Assistance program; and operates the new LES Mobile Market grocery delivery partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian for 180 families with over 300 children in NYCHA buildings.

When I found out my Medicaid had been canceled, I was really worried. The NORC team helped me get my bills paid and my Medicaid reinstated. God help them all.

Meals, Phone Calls, and Internet Help

“COVID was a shock to all of us,” says Senior Center member Justine Samuel; regular phone calls and groceries from Henry Street’s food pantry have eased the burden.

The pandemic laid bare the vulnerability of older adults, especially those who live alone or have serious health conditions. Before, the majority of seniors in our NORC (a naturally occurring retirement community in the Vladeck Houses) bought their own groceries. Now more than 300 residents are getting food deliveries through a combination of Henry Street’s Meals on Wheels program, GetFoodNYC, and a newly dedicated Henry Street Seniors Pantry.

Since March, Meals on Wheels has expanded from 1,400 to 2,200 recipients, delivering 673,427 meals in FY 2020. The Senior Center and NORC staff now make check-in calls to 1,500 community seniors, aided by 100 volunteers. To help its members stay connected, the Senior Center sent instructions in multiple languages when it moved classes online. The Senior Companion Program, too, helped its volunteers with technology so they could maintain monthly meetings and education.

Troubleshooting Through a Stressful Time

In March 2020, Henry Street’s Education Services went online along with the city’s public schools. Staff suddenly became tech gurus, helping ensure young people had the devices and Wi-Fi they needed during an extraordinarily stressful time. Early Childhood Education was the first to return to in-person learning during fall 2020, while keeping options open for families who would rather stay remote. In-person and remote afterschool and recreational activities have continued at Boys & Girls Republic and Jacob Riis Cornerstone, Henry Street’s youth centers on Avenue D; in September 2020, both became city-designated Learning Labs, where public school students could do their remote learning during the day.

Expanded Horizons—our eight-year college access and success program—and the LES Youth Opportunity Hub saw increased engagement with online options.

Boys & Girls Republic was transformed into a Learning Lab for public school children; Leonor Colon talks with the third and fifth graders.
Henry Street gave me the opportunity to get the college education that I need.
Esther Onwunta, Howard University freshman and participant in Henry Street’s Expanded Horizons college-readiness program since ninth grade

Shifting to New Job Options

When Phurbu Tshering, a Henry Street ESOL student, lost his job running a tourist gift stall in Times Square, the Settlement was able to place him in a new position, doing hotel maintenance.

Henry Street supports thousands of New Yorkers each year with finding employment, building skills, learning English, and earning their high school equivalency diplomas. When the pandemic shut down the city, staff of the Workforce Development Center at 178 Broome Street and Jobs Plus Lower East Side at 24 Avenue D contacted every participant to assess their needs.

Simultaneously, the team reached out to employers, shifting to industries that were hiring—like cleaning companies and health care systems. Online ESOL and HSE classes have been a vital source of community for students, and the team worked with our Helpline to ensure everyone who needed it—especially out-of-work undocumented immigrants—was connected to food delivery and direct cash assistance. The Job Essentials Training and Jobs Plus programs have tackled topics like preparing for video interviews. And, despite a smaller-than-usual Summer Youth Employment Program, Henry Street placed 475 young people in jobs.

Art & Relief Are Two Sides of Transformation

“In March, everything collapsed,” says Craig Peterson, Abrons Arts Center artistic director. “Artists lost shows, exhibitions, and teaching contracts, while secondary streams of income from restaurants and bars also disappeared.” Abrons paid its artists for canceled shows and then transformed itself, redeploying arts workers to Henry Street’s new food pantry that was soon hand-delivering food to more than 750 households.

By September, the creativity was flowing outdoors. Working with Photoville, Abrons curated public art projects outdoors at three Henry Street locations; the annual AIRspace residency moved outdoors; and the amphitheater became a classroom. Through the Artists Emergency Relief Fund, Abrons distributed almost $50,000 to more than 150 artists, with dedicated funding for Black and Indigenous artists.

Take what you need; leave what you can. Abrons Arts Center began hosting a mutual aid community refrigerator in partnership with Open Hearts.

We invite you to read our full 2020 annual report

At first, ‘Take Care of Each Other’ was a call to promote community safety and care in light of the protests around police violence. But it soon became our mantra, a way of embracing our neighbors through mutual aid and artistic engagement.
Craig Peterson, artistic director, Abrons Arts Center
Stagehand Kaylyn Kilkuskie prepares groceries for delivery in the Abrons pantry. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Stories of
Strength and Resiliency

Henry Street participants of all ages reinvented themselves, reached out for help, served their community, learned new skills, and welcomed new opportunities in 2020.

david agosto:
A New Job Calms His Fears

David Agosto lost his job as a waiter in early March 2020, after 12 years of working at a popular Brooklyn pizzeria. “The first day I didn’t go to work, I was panicking,” he says.

The unemployment insurance he began collecting didn’t amount to his former paycheck, and he didn’t know how long it would hold out. “I was running out of money and thought I would land on the streets,” he says.

When David called Henry Street’s Helpline, he was connected with the Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center, whose director, Ashley Young, counseled him on his options and encouraged him to explore a different industry. Young referred David to Legal Services of New York, where an attorney helped him understand how to maintain his unemployment benefits. She also connected him to our Workforce Development Center, where the team helped him prepare for the job search before setting him up with several job interviews.

“I was surprised to get a job in this pandemic, and I have it because of Henry Street.”

Within weeks, David received an offer from Essex Crossing—the Lower East Side development—and is now re-employed as a concierge in a new apartment building. David’s employment counselor, Jay Koo, says, “David’s ability to reinvent himself during these fragile times was crucial to his success.”

marjolin rojas:
Nutrition and a Place to Study

With a lifelong case of severe asthma, Marjolin Rojas, 36, spent much of her time indoors even before COVID. Unable to work since her early 20s, she has repeatedly been denied Social Security disability benefits.

Things came to a head when Marjolin’s son’s school went remote. He had made do with studying on a bed, provided when they moved from a shelter to the Baruch Houses. But now it was broken, propped up on the boxes where he kept his clothes.

Help came by way of a flyer Marjolin received from a youth worker doing deliveries in her building through the LES Mobile Market, a nutrition program begun in July 2020 by Henry Street and NewYork-Presbyterian. Marjolin met the program criteria as a NYCHA resident with a young child, and now she and her son receive twice-monthly food deliveries.

Marjolin Rojas and her son receive biweekly deliveries of nutritious food from the LES Mobile Market, a collaboration begun in July 2020 by Henry Street and NewYork-Presbyterian.

“It’s made a big difference,” she says. “There are vegetables, fruit, bread, beans, tortillas—basic food that I really need for my health.”

Through the Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center, Marjolin also received a desk, chair, dresser, and new bed for her son—as well as $300 for winter clothes.

“Both of us are like, ‘WOW!’” Marjolin says. “The bed is excellent, and this is the first time my son has a desk with a chair. Now he can concentrate more, and he’s more comfortable in the space. It’s good for his development.”

It was so amazing to be able to talk with real people and laugh and get my mind off of all the stress. I stopped having panic attacks.
Tiana Burgos

tiana burgos:
Opening a door to creativity

When the pandemic hit, Tiana Burgos knew she would do anything to keep her grandma safe. “We stocked up on food and stayed inside from March through Mother’s Day,” she says.

With an associate degree in video art and technology from Borough of Manhattan Community College, Tiana had started a new job as a production assistant in March 2020. Within four days, she was laid off. Tiana, who had long struggled with anxiety, now faced days spent in isolation and fear, as the television news and concern for her family made her heart race.

Then she saw an Instagram post about the LES Youth Opportunity Hub, an educational and social support consortium for young people ages 14 to 24, of which Henry Street is a lead partner. Tiana signed up for improv, art, and poetry classes. “It was so amazing to be able to talk with real people and laugh and get my mind off of all the stress,” she says. “I stopped having panic attacks.”

When Tiana learned of a paid opportunity to teach younger participants, she proposed a screenwriting class, having taken one in college. She grabbed her textbooks, did some online research, and now has about a dozen students. She used her earnings to sign up for an online television writing class. “I love to learn, and now I love to teach!”

Patricia Storey:
A Senior Companion Keeps the Connection During COVID

About six years ago, when Patricia Storey had some time on her hands, her long-time friend Lela Charney, a retired Henry Street social worker, encouraged her to become a Senior Companion Program volunteer at Henry Street.

The Senior Companion Program is a national model that matches active seniors with frail older adults to provide company and help with tasks of daily living, such as shopping and making medical appointments. After a training period, the companions work from 5 to 40 hours a week.

Since joining the program, Patricia has assisted several older adults, including Gloria, a homebound 94-year-old with macular degeneration. Although Patricia has not been able to visit her client, she and Gloria now turn on their televisions at the same time, and Patricia explains to her client what’s happening if there is something she can’t see or hear.

“I love this job because it gives me a purpose to get up and get out every morning,” Patricia says.

When she was asked recently if she could take on a third client—a women who lives in a transitional housing facility—she didn’t blink. “My hope for the future is that I can go back to serving in person,” she says.

Every dollar you give opens doors for the people Henry Street serves.

I love this job because it gives me a purpose to get up and get out every morning, and know I’m going out to serve.
Patricia Storey

our loyal supporters

Nicolas Heller / Photo: Paula Andrea
I was looking for a great organization that was doing great work in my favorite neighborhood. Henry Street is the best for that.

Nicolas Heller

NY Nico Unleashes New York’s Talent on Relief Effort

New York Nico—aka Nicolas Heller—has been called the city’s “unofficial talent scout,” doling out photos and videos of the city’s unsung and little-known characters to his 567,000+ followers on Instagram.

During spring 2020, when Heller could no longer photograph his subjects as usual, he launched several at-home contests, inviting his audience to send videos to him. One was the #BestNYPhoto—which Heller slated as a fundraiser for Henry Street’s COVID-19 response. More than 5,000 photographers submitted entries, yielding six winning pieces, which went on sale to the public, raising a stunning $60,000.

Soon, the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests underscored the need to fund the antiracism movement, and Heller extended the contest, raising substantial additional funding for advocacy groups fighting for racial equality.

The New York Junior League Lends a Helping Hand

The New York Junior League, one of the oldest and largest women’s nonprofit volunteer organizations in New York City, has long been one of Henry Street’s most valued community partners. Before the pandemic, volunteers from the organization served Sunday meals at our Senior Center. When Senior Center meals switched to home delivery, the organization reached out to see how they could help, remotely. Its members significantly aided in Henry Street’s campaign to make check-in phone calls to hundreds of seniors.

The Junior League also donated difficult-to-obtain thermometers to Henry Street’s Senior Center. Member Alexandra Foulds says these remote opportunities “have been a great way to stay involved with the community during this time” of increased isolation. Henry Street is proud to partner with the New York Junior League!

During the pandemic, Nicole Cunningham and fellow Junior Leaguers switched from volunteering at the Senior Center cafeteria (pictured above, pre-COVID) to making wellness calls. Nicole is the vice chair of the league’s Done in a Day on Demand committee.
Meeting weekly to pack hundreds of bags of nutritious groceries on the stage of Abrons Arts Center, volunteers have been crucial to keeping the food pantry running smoothly.

Thank you, Volunteers

In a year like no other, Henry Street was moved by the overwhelming support from our volunteers and in-kind gift donors. COVID–19 presented us with a host of new volunteer opportunities, including making food pantry deliveries and calling seniors to check in on them; more than 2,852 individual and corporate volunteers generously shared their time and their hearts with us. We also express our gratitude and thanks to the dozens of individuals who donated PPE, face masks, hand-sanitizer, food for our community fridge, and toys during the holiday season. Your support ensured that our community stayed safe, healthy, and taken care of during this crucial time. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU.

Every dollar you give opens doors for the people Henry Street serves.


Securing the Settlement’s financial health is a top priority in any year, but especially the past one. Shouldering our extraordinary expenses—from special pay for frontline workers to technology upgrades to safety measures in our 18 sites—has been possible only due to an outpouring of generosity from individual and institutional partners.

See Our Financials
*The excess of income over expenses in FY 2020, in the amount of $451,682, reflects restricted income that is reserved to be spent in a later year.
Our Donors

Henry Street Settlement’s work would not be possible without thousands of individuals, foundations, and corporations, including those who have given for generations and those supporters who are new to the Henry Street family. We are deeply grateful for their generosity and for the outpouring of support in this crisis.

Board of Directors & Leadership

Meet Henry Street’s dedicated Board of Directors and Leadership Team.

Events of 2020

From the publication of the first history of the Settlement to an Open Streets Jobs Fair to outdoor art exhibitions, performances, and holiday celebrations, there was still joy at Henry Street in 2020.

Our Services

Henry Street operates more than 50 programs in the areas of Health & Wellness, Transitional & Supportive Housing, Senior Services, Education, Employment, Arts & Humanities, and Community Engagement & Advocacy.

Thank You!

Thank you for reading our 2020 annual report and for your loyal and generous support of Henry Street Settlement. We wish you peace, health, and hope in the coming year, and please feel free to reach out to us by any of the following means.

265 Henry Street
New York, NY 10002

Visit us

Reach out