The Board of Trustees of Children’s Aid Votes Unanimously to Pursue the Sale of its Philip Coltoff Center in Greenwich Village

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NEW YORK, December 16, 2010 – Today, the Board of Trustees of The Children’s Aid Society voted unanimously to pursue the sale of the three properties that comprise the Philip Coltoff Center on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. 

The Board’s decision is driven by The Children’s Aid Society’s need to focus our finite resources on low-income New York City neighborhoods. The Children’s Aid Society’s core mission has remained unchanged since our founding in 1853: to serve New York City children living in poverty.  Today, 119 years after the Philip Coltoff Center first opened as an industrial school to serve the large population of immigrants then living in the area, Greenwich Village has become one of the most affluent neighborhoods in New York City.  By comparison, median income in Greenwich Village is more than double that of Morrisania in the South Bronx, a community where Children’s Aid has established service hubs and community schools over the last 10 years, and where we lack sufficient resources to meet the urgent needs of children and families.

Pursuing this course will allow us to focus our efforts and resources on communities such as the South Bronx, Washington Heights, Harlem and East Harlem where we believe we can have a greater impact.

In an effort to accommodate children who are currently enrolled in the Phillip Coltoff Center, The Children's Aid Society will continue to provide nursery school programs for currently enrolled children, as well as their siblings, until June 2012, either at the Philip Coltoff Center or another reasonable location.  During that time, we will also continue to enroll children in our toddler, acting and after-school programs on a semester-by-semester basis according to demand and our capacity.

President and CEO Richard R. Buery explained: “We at The Children’s Aid Society are proud of our commitment to achieve transformative change for children living in low-income neighborhoods in New York City, and it is clear that those children need our support now more than ever.  We cannot meet the needs of all children in New York City.  Every choice to serve children in one neighborhood is a choice not to serve those in another, and our mission requires us to make those choices in favor of children and communities with more limited resources.  Throughout our 157-year history, we have closed centers in some neighborhoods and opened centers in new ones as the needs of communities have changed.  That is what we are doing now.”

Mark Edmiston, Chair of The Children’s Aid Society’s Board of Trustees stated:  “This was a difficult decision, but we know it is the right one given the growing needs in the high poverty communities we serve.  While we cannot commit to selling the property only to buyers who will continue educational and community services, we will certainly look favorably on competitive offers from entities that are interested in continuing those programs.

“This decision is not primarily about real estate. Regardless of the value of the buildings and whether they become landmarked, we are committed to leaving the Greenwich Village neighborhood so that we can focus on the higher-needs communities we serve,” Edmiston continued.

Richard Buery added: “We remain open to suggestions as to how we can support the Greenwich Village community during this transition, and we have confidence in the community’s strength and resourcefulness.  We understand that not everyone will agree with this decision, but we hope that most will understand it.”

About The Children’s Aid Society

The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City.  Our mission is to provide comprehensive support for children in need, from birth to young adulthood, and for their families, to fill the gaps between what children have and what they need to thrive. Founded in 1853, Children’s Aid is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call 212-949-4938, email ellenl@childrensaidsociety.org, or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.