Mission and Pillars

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In full partnership with families and communities, Graham Windham strives to make a life-altering difference with children, youth and families who are overcoming some of life’s most difficult challenges and obstacles, by helping to build a strong foundation for life: a safe, loving, permanent family and the opportunity and preparation to thrive in school and in the world.


  • Create a clear Graham way in all that we do in partnership with kids and families to achieve family success and youth success
  • Go beyond systems into communities where we have roots to help kids and families thrive in Hunts Point, Harlem, and Central Brooklyn
  • Strengthen the One Graham approach to programs, staff support and wellness, information technology and facilities
  • Pursue justice by influencing policy makers to adopt policies that promote success for kids, families, and staff


To achieve our mission and vision, we have at our core, a set of deeply held principles.


We respect the inherent dignity and worth of all with whom we work and believe in the strength of family in all of its forms. We are diverse in gender, race, religion, beliefs, sexual orientation, identity and ethnicity. Knowing that we all face challenges in life, we believe that all are capable of developing solutions. Trust is an essential element of respect – trust between kids, families, and each other, and trust among the Graham community, funders, regulators and the public. There is no trust without integrity, both personal and organizational.


We are committed to continuous self-reflection and best practices, with rewards and celebration for excellent performance. Genuine, lasting solutions come from working together. Our team includes kids and families, allowing them (as the experts of their families and their experience) to lead the way. We value a culture that provides opportunities to develop, practice and master skills, with supports along the way, for our kids, families, as well as our dedicated staff and foster parents. We recognize that setbacks are part of growth and behavior change. We take every opportunity to celebrate progress and the accomplishment of goals that kids, families, and we have set for ourselves.


Kids and their families come first. Our decisions and actions are always driven by our kids’ need for safety, family, education, opportunity, and by their capacity to succeed. We recognize the effects of trauma and injustice and provide a safe and nurturing environment where people can heal and call for justice. We support each other. We recognize what we do well and where we need to partner with others. We are bold and passionate about this work and enjoy empowering kids, families, and each other, helping us grow stronger so that we can sustain progress and thrive in life.


All of us –- kids, families, foster parents and staff – lead by our words and actions. We take ownership and are accountable for what we do, how we do it, and the results. We believe in respectfully challenging those who don’t uphold our values. We own our mistakes and our successes and follow through on our commitments. Knowing that inclusion makes us better, we appreciate differences and create opportunities for participation in the development of solutions. We value open and transparent communication, including healthy disagreement, with the goal of strengthening relationships, building a more connected community and helping us solve problems. We celebrate incremental changes, growth, diversity, and our own, each other’s, and our collective achievements.

From Our President and CEO

Welcome.  Thanks for visiting Graham Windham, the nation’s oldest nonprofit, non-sectarian child welfare agency, founded in New York city in 1806 by a group of dedicated forward-looking women, including Isabella Graham and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.  Throughout the course of our long and illustrious 211 year history, we have been holding steady to our founding purpose…meeting the needs of New York City’s poorest, most vulnerable children.

This doesn’t mean we haven’t evolved, however.  Our mission today has been re-engineered to reflect more fundamentally the importance of loving families and education achievement in the life of every child we serve, and the importance of community in the lives of every family we support.

We have also come to understand that there is sometimes a gap between our best intentions and our actual service outcomes.  Thus, we have cultivated a strong performance-based organizational culture, supported by clear goals, targeted action planning, accurate measurements and a unique merit-based employee evaluation system, that keeps us engaged in a sustained and disciplined effort to get better, so our children and families can get better.

Graham Windham has been built to last, and continuously rebuilt to make a substantive and positive difference in the lives of each and every child and family we are privileged to serve.

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Jess Dannhauser
President and CEO