(May 13, 2010)

More than a hundred well-wishers crowded under a tent on a blustery day Monday to celebrate the dedication of the Kaplan Family Center at 21-23 Grand St. in the City of Newburgh and usher in a new era for the landmark Newburgh building.

The occasion was the culmination of a three-year fundraising campaign that saw a major renovation of Occupations Inc., located in the historic section of Newburgh.

Sitting in the front row Monday were members of the Kaplan Family, whose $900,000 donation by the Elaine and William Kaplan Family Private Foundation led to contributions and commitments of more than $300,000 from foundations and philanthropists and more than $400,000 in federal and state governmental grants.

Among those attending Monday were U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey and representatives for State Sen. William Larkin, Gov. David Paterson and County Executive Edward Diana. Hinchey and Larkin drew special accolades for the federal and state grants they championed for the Kaplan Family Center.

Occupations Inc. provides essential programs at the Kaplan Family Center location including the Newburgh component of Family Counseling Services of Occupations Inc and an array of child welfare services. The mental health clinic at the site is one of the busiest in Orange County, providing mental health treatment to children, adults and families.

Family Counseling of Occupations Inc. provides critically important mental health and child welfare services to more than 1,100 people a year. The people served have diverse backgrounds and needs, and most live in the neighborhoods near the conveniently located center.

The center is a recognized symbol of meaningful assistance and hope.

Child welfare services are available for families with children at risk of child abuse, neglect, placement in foster care or returning from residential treatment. Preventive case workers are available for home visits throughout Orange and Sullivan counties to support families in strengthening skills and creating positive parent-child relations.

Major visionaries for Occupations Inc., in addition to the Elaine and William Kaplan Family Private Foundation, are Alders Wholesale Florist Inc., Amy and Paul Anderson-Winchell, the Bonura Family, James DeStefano, Dupree & Monroe PC, Cornelia and Ed Gallagher, Thomas and Jeanine Glendening, Hudson River Contracting Corp., KeyBank, former Assemblyman Tom Kirwan, New Dynamics Corporation, Price Choppers’ Golub Foundation, Provident Bank, Rider Weinere & Frankel PC, Rich Rowley and Marianne Murray, Simon and Stella Shein Foundation, Jim and Eileen Taylor and Taylor Recycling, USI Insurance Services and Walden Savings Bank.

Benefactors are J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc., Brad and Mary Jorrey, MedWorld, an Omnicare Company, Mount Saint Mary College, Stewarts Foundation and the Sullivan Renaissance Program of the Gerry Foundation Inc.

Twenty-one Grand Street dates as far back as 1810. In the late 1800s there were several organizations in the Newburgh area serving the poor, indigent and the infirm. Among them was the Organization for Improving the Condition of the Poor, Orange County’s second oldest not-for-profit agency, born “out of necessity” in Newburgh in 1875. In 1886, under the guidance of Mrs. Annie Delano-Hitch, aunt to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, these services were united and renamed Associated Charities of Newburgh, with the motto “Not alms – but a friend.”

In 1895 Mrs. Delano-Hitch purchased and donated the building at 21 Grand Street to house the agency and solidify its future. Mrs. Delano-Hitch was an avid spokesperson for “helping the less fortunate to help themselves.” She worked to strengthen Associated Charities and improve the Newburgh community until her death in 1926.