Customer Stories

The Child Center of New York

This Queens, New York-based multi service organization serves a multitude of children and families, with staff that speak over 22 languages throughout Queens, Brooklyn, New York City, and Long Island.

The Child Center of New York

 Industries: Nonprofit, health care

Headquarters: Forest Hills, New York

Year Founded: 1953

Locations: Over 60

Programs: Over 100

Employees: Over 1,100

Clients: Over 55,000

Services provided: Behavioral health and primary care; financial assistance; early-childhood education; integrated care; family support; residential services; youth development

Board structure: 33 members and seven advisory board members; chair, three vice-chairs, treasurer, and secretary; 20 directors; seven associate board members, including a chair

'Touching Upon Every Kind of Social Issue'

Benj Bahr sits on three boards of directors, but The Child Center of New York’s mission was a special draw to him.

“It was really a good match,” he said. “Throughout my adult life, I’ve been associated with a number of organizations that have a similar offering or mission. The execution and the application of what we’re able to provide for resources is immediate. You see the people we touch. It’s been a dynamic place to be a part of.”

The Child Center of New York celebrated 70 years of carrying out that mission in 2023, and it continues to grow and offer more resources with each passing year, as its clients’ needs evolve.
Founded in 1953 as a children’s counseling center in Queens, it has since grown to serve over 55,000 children and families throughout New York City and Long Island, providing services that range from Early Head Start to Head Start to family therapy and benefits access.

A 25-member board of directors, including seven associate board members, help govern the organization, which employs over 1,100 people and operates out of over 60 locations.
“It’s really touching upon every kind of social issue that we’re dealing with as a country, from mental health to economic mobility to education to juvenile justice to advocacy for equitable resources,” said Kathleen Rivera, The Child Center of New York’s chief development and communications officer. “Because we’re in New York City, our staff speak over 22 languages. I always say it’s kind of a microcosm of The United Nations. You name it, and we’re probably able to help you in the language.”

How Dodgeball Helps The Child Center

Bahr initially became involved with The Child Center while he was in business school at Columbia University. The school offered a nonprofit board leadership group that matched students with nonprofits. “The Child Center is similar to many things I’ve sought out for spending my time and efforts on. It was a natural fit.”
Bahr, a portfolio manager at First Eagle Investments, organized charity dodgeball benefits, with proceeds going toward The Child Center. The tournaments attracted teams from firms throughout Manhattan.

“It was very easy to get people excited to do,” Benj said. “We had a number of people from The Child Center or the board volunteering or officiating. We did that for a few years. There aren’t a lot of locations willing to give up space that were easy to get to for that space. It served a dual purpose. It increased our pool of potential board candidates and future leaders at the board level, and also broaden our reach into organizations where we didn’t have existing relationships.”

“The execution and the application of what we’re able to provide for resources is immediate. You see the people we touch. It’s been a dynamic place to be a part of.”

Benj Bahr

— Benj Bahr
Board of Directors member
The Child Center of New York

The Focus on Youth

The Child Center provides after-school programs, summer learning opportunities, community centers, and school-based mental health counseling, among many other programs for school-age children.

“We’re in over 19 schools throughout New York City where we undergird the school with support staffing as well as school-based mental health support,” Kathleen says. “Our vision is to end generational poverty and that’s a very aspirational and audacious goal, but we truly believe in it, and we really believe that the communities that we serve.”

New Solutions

The migrant crisis in the U.S. has hit New York harder than most places, and The Child Center is ready for the challenge. Kathleen says it’s affected the school community more than most other aspects of The Child Center’s service sector.

“The kids obviously are enrolling in in school and some of them do not have the family support,” she says. “We’re also seeing it in our program main for overage, undercredited young adults who are looking to get their GED or vocational training, and we’re seeing a lot of just young people who are by themselves in this country without any support whatsoever or any families.”
The Child Center hosts food, coat, and backpack drives throughout the year in addition to providing its usual school-based services. At Cornerstones and Beacon community centers, which are open in the evenings and on weekends, it provides engaging enrichment programs for both children and adults so that all community members can rise together.

“The amount of programming that we’re doing under this one umbrella … I wanted to be a part of that because I felt like I could have the most impact in the work that that I do on a daily basis,” Kathleen said. “That really touched upon every issue that was really close to my heart.”

Employees Make the Difference

Benj and Kathleen agree the agency’s 1,100-plus employees make The Child Center’s complex operation run smoothly

“They’re incredibly dedicated,” Kathleen says. “We’re pretty fortunate. We have a board of directors who are involved as volunteers. I would do this as a volunteer. It’s work that we’re all very passionate about, and what I love about the culture at The Child Center is … Everyone’s there to support each other and get the job done and it’s all about the families that we serve every day.”

“They can do everything,” Benj adds. “The services that are offered are impressive, but so are the day-to-day challenges that are dealt with in terms of labor or personnel issues. The things that are required on a day-to-day basis just require people rolling up their sleeves and getting something done in the correct manner.”

Professional meeting footer
Elevate Your Board's Decision-Making with OnBoard

OnBoard combines the highest level of security with innovative features designed to optimize your board’s effectiveness. Start your journey and unlock unparalleled security, insights, and efficiency.