New York City Mission Society’s motto – “Changing Lives Since 1812” – has great resonance for us. It speaks to the fact that we have been helping those in need longer than any other human services organization in New York City. It also makes us conscious of the great responsibility that those of us at New York City Mission Society have in honoring and perpetuating the organization’s legacy.

While the face of need has changed many times in New York City over the years, New York City Mission Society has consistently been at the forefront of human service delivery. Before the Civil War, we helped people primarily from Northern and Western Europe: the British, the Irish, and the Germans. After the Civil War and through World War I, we helped immigrants mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe: the Italians, the Polish, and the Greeks. Today, most of our work is focused on African-American and Latino populations in Harlem and the Bronx. And recently, we offered our help to those affected by the World Trade Center disaster.

Reflecting upon New York City Mission Society’s rich history has reinforced our own belief that human services are most effective when they embrace values such as dignity, kindness, and respect. These time-honored values have always been at the core of our work, and they are the thread that connects New York City Mission Society’s past to its present.