CIP Celebrates 2015-2016 Project Unveiling at Hartley House


On Monday, May 16, the NYJL Community Improvement Project (CIP) committee hosted their ribbon cutting ceremony at Hartley House located at 413 West 46th Street. It was an evening full of gratitude and celebration as children from Hartley House spoke about what the space means to them and the Hartley House Board of Directors and staff toured the newly renovated rooms, referred to as the “Creative Learning Space.”

Hartley House, a community service organization located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, is one of the only settlement houses in NYC that remains in its original, 120 year old facility comprised of four interconnected brownstones. Hartley House was selected as the 2015-2016 CIP community partner last spring and received a $50,000 grant from the NYJL to provide capital improvements to three rooms at the facility that are used for community programming. The grant was used by the CIP committee to renovate and upgrade the creative learning spaces where both children and adult educational programming occur on a daily basis.

During the project, Hartley House and the NYJL discovered a long history of partnerships: the NYJL first worked with Hartley House in 1905-1906 as part of the early settlement work, and in the 1920s, Hartley House was 1 of 4 settlements the New York Junior League focused on. The partnership was revived in the 1960s when Hartley House sponsored an after school childhood literacy program.

Volunteers from CIP and the NYJL contributed more than 700 volunteer hours completing this renovation, including running an RFP process to solicit non-profit organizations to apply for the grant and researching and bidding out the design and construction scope of work to designers and contractors. Over the course of six work days throughout the winter and spring, the volunteers worked closely with the designers and contractors to transform the room into a vibrant and welcoming space that serves youth and adult learners. NYJL volunteers painted bookshelves and bathrooms, assembled furniture and shelving, boxed and organized art supplies and books, and removed old bulletin boards to make way for new ones.

In addition to the renovation of the physical space at Hartley House, the Cooking and Health Education for Families (CHEF) committee has worked with Hartley House this year to host workshops to teach the members of the Hartley House community about healthy eating.

NYJL President Stacey Lawrence Lee said of the partnership,

“Our work with Hartley House is a great example of how two community organizations can come together to help fulfill their common missions. The NYJL and Hartley House are both rooted in working with women and children. Both have over a century of serving NY and both continue to meet the changing needs of our city by leveraging the passion and dedication of member of the same communities they serve.”

Nicole Cicogna, Executive Director of Hartley House added

“Hartley House was honored to have been chosen as the NYJL’s Community Improvement Project of the year. I could not have asked to work alongside a more passionate, enthusiastic, or committed group of women. Whether we were coordinating via email or standing side-by-side with crowbars during demolition, these women were always full of positive energy. We are humbled by this amazing award. May this be the beginning of a long and beautiful partnership!”

The NYJL is currently in the process of choosing its next CIP community partner for the 2016-2017 volunteer year. To find out more about volunteering with the CIP committee, email

Strengthening the families of the greater New York area.

The New York Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

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