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Annual Report 2019-2020

Photo Credit: Gerald Horton


Mercy Home, founded in 1862 by the Sisters of Mercy, first served homeless children. Five boys orphaned by a fire, appeared on the convent steps seeking safety. In 1883, the children’s wing was completed, providing a safe and loving environment for 600 individuals.

Letter from the

Executive Director Without a doubt, this past year has tested us and the people in our care. When New York City became the epicenter of a global health crisis, many of our programs were suspended and the people we support were unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19 safety guidelines. The pandemic made us pause, reflect, and establish new initiatives to ensure that our residents were able to remain healthy, happy, and safe. The incredible strides we made as an organization were made possible by our dedicated staff who stepped up during the tough times and helped us navigate through this new reality. Throughout all the growth and change we experienced, they never wavered on our mission to enrich the lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities. I am so proud of each and every employee who brought their very best to work throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and who embodied our core values of respect, trust, teamwork, care, and compassion. Despite challenges, with your help, we were able to continue cultivating the talents of the people we care for in a significant way while also keeping our residents safe during a period that was difficult for them to understand. We rapidly evolved our programs to meet the needs of the moment, established new partnerships, and created innovative, sensory friendly, and virtual activities to keep our community engaged.

This work—and much more—is detailed in the following report, which gives insight into all that we accomplished and overcame. As we share these highlights, we are reminded of the outpouring of love and generosity we received from so many of you. We remain deeply grateful to our supporters, staff, partners, and our community who inspire us with their commitment to our mission.

History of

Mercy Home

Our work to make this a more compassionate and inclusive world for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities continues as we help the people we support discover their individual gifts and abilities. Now as many of our residents and staff have become fully vaccinated and our city reopens , we look forward to safely resuming many of the activities that they have missed.

By 1976, we began to focus on the needs of developmentally disabled children, establishing a long-term residential care facility. In 1977, we established the first Developmental Therapy Unit in New York City for children with autism spectrum disorder. In 1978, Mercy Home opened our first residential facility in Red Hook, Brooklyn, followed by 12 more over the next 30 years – each one providing individualized care in a community setting.

I could not be prouder of who we are and what Mercy Home is doing today, and your support makes it all possible. Thank you for standing with us and helping us teach life skills, lifelong.

Mercy Home envisions a world of fairness and equality in which people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can live more fully integrated within the community. We work to change the world’s view of those we serve as we help them discover their individual gifts and abilities, and we seek to promote greater compassion and understanding of those people who make up our community.

Janice Aris Janice Aris, MS, MSW Executive Director

We provide essential services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Mercy Home’s mission is to ensure the quality of life for persons with developmental disabilities through the recognition of each person’s inherent dignity and right to a life filled with learning and love. Our mission is fulfilled in practice through our core values: respect, trust, teamwork, care, and compassion.

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“We were brave, and we got through this together.” “I felt depressed,” Hank stated when describing how he felt when he heard that day programs would be closed. He worried about becoming bored inside the house and was anxious about not knowing when the virus would be over. As a frequent traveler and social butterfly, not being able to go on outings with Mercy Home was difficult. Like Hank, the other individuals at the Joseph’s residence shared that they missed seeing their friends, going to program, and the independence gained from activities like getting lunch or shopping on their own. The pandemic meant adjusting to a new reality and grappling with feelings of distress and agitation that accompanied this sudden change in routine. Like you, COVID-19 had a profound impact on us. The sudden shutdown and stay-at-home orders were difficult for everyone to cope with, but they had a dramatic effect on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In March of 2020, New York State called for the suspension of all non-essential businesses and activities in response to the growing health crisis. The stay-at-home orders were necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, but meant that Day Habilitation programs would be

indefinitely suspended, and we could no longer plan activities to get the people we care for out into their community, such as volunteering or attending a class or a show. The closure of these vital programs, which provide supportive therapy and structured activities that build a sense of autonomy, made COVID-19 much more difficult for the people we care for to understand and to manage. Perhaps the person who experienced the most amount of change in the early months of the pandemic was Fran, who retired from her job at Target months earlier than expected and who stayed at her sister’s home for a few months. She expressed that leaving Joseph’s and becoming adjusted to life without some of the independence that she gained from her job was a lot to take in. Those who remained at Joseph’s tried to stay positive and work through their feelings. James focused on prayer and helping keep the house sanitized. He prayed to protect everyone inside of the house and for more activities and games to make the time pass more quickly. With the help of you and all our supporters, Joseph’s received games and entertainment devices that

helped put anxieties at ease. Hank was able to watch his favorite classic musicals on streaming services and DVDs and play Bingo which is his new favorite game. Spending more time inside also helped some residents discover new interests and hobbies. Matthew began using Spotify and exploring his love of music, and Phillip spent much more time in the kitchen and learned how to make his own coffee and assist with dinner preparations. Although it was difficult to be separated from some of their friends, our residents were able to communicate and spend more time with their loved ones. Hank was able to regain contact with one of his cousins and began to get frequent calls from extended family which improved his mood tremendously. For others, however, COVID-19 prevented them from having regular in-person visits with family. Phillip used to see his grandmother every other weekend, but during the height of the pandemic they were only able to communicate over the phone. James could no longer go on regular trips with his father and sister, and instead made frequent video calls. continued on next page...

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continued from previous page... “I can only do my therapy on the computer now,” James noted when discussing the transition to virtual activities and therapy. Like many others, James was anxious about not being able to visit his therapist in person. In response to these stressors, Mercy Home’s Director of Psychological Services and our clinical team created active treatments to promote constant engagement, developed strategies to discourage unwanted target behaviors, and followed positive approaches to behavioral support to make this transition less of a hardship. The staff at Joseph’s also stepped in to help make the environment as stress-free as possible. They took everyone outside to the courtyard daily to get fresh air and worked with them to use new technology and discover remote, interactive learning opportunities. Socially distanced activities like dance and karaoke nights were also

done to keep residents active, and they prepared hearty home cooked meals alongside the residents to teach them new skills. One of the biggest lessons COVID-19 taught the residents at Joseph’s was the importance of teamwork. They each worked together to keep the house protected by wiping down surfaces, improving personal hygiene, and adjusting to wearing masks. Spending more time with their other housemates allowed them to chat about the things that they have in common and what they are looking forward to when things return to normal.

The pandemic placed an emotional burden on both our residents and staff. Director of Psychological Services, Jeffrey Sealy, reported noticing residents pacing around the house during the beginning of lockdown which could be an indication of boredom and idleness. Without being addressed, extreme boredom can escalate into “cabin fever” or distressing irritability that arises when confined to one location for an extended period. Maintaining morale and emotional health for both residents and staff during a period of such uncertainty was a heavy weight for our direct support professionals and residential managers.

When asked about what he would like the world to know about life at Joseph’s during the height of the pandemic, James stated “we were brave, and we got through this together.” *Names have been changed for privacy

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“We are our sister/brother keeper.”

My emotional well-being was a neverending rollercoaster. Some days were harder than others, however I was able to overcome all obstacles I was faced with. I am remaining hopeful!” - Mercy Home Residential Manager

- Mercy Home Residential Manager

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“Many people do not realize how many workers are essential...” “Many people do not realize how many workers are essential,” Eileen expressed. She is proud that the team at Addeo was able to work together and bond during these difficult times but wishes that people like Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) were praised more. Throughout the pandemic, Eileen and other members of the Mercy Home team provided comfort, care, and kindness during an unfamiliar and challenging time. It is because of Eileen and so many others, that the people we support were able to continue to grow and gain independence. Eileen is a DSP at the Addeo residence. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and fellow DSPs were nervous for the women inside of their residence, their families, and themselves. It was difficult for her to adjust to life in the wake of COVID-19. She missed simple things like sitting down for a cup of coffee and was occupied with worrying about the health of

It was not always easy, but she was able to balance keeping the women safe and healthy while navigating through a global crisis. At first, it was difficult for the individuals Eileen cares for to get used to wearing masks and understanding why they could not go outside. They missed their friends, participating in Day Habilitation programs, and small things like getting their nails done and exploring Kings Plaza.

that the ladies would lose the progress they gained over the years without regular stimulation and engagement while DayHabilitation programs were paused, and they were not permitted to visit with their loved ones. Some of the residents had never spent a birthday apart from their families, so the DSPs tried to serve as their family when they were separated from loved ones. They decorated and ordered their favorite foods to celebrate special events and tried to make everything feel normal. To prevent boredom and keep everyone engaged, Eileen and other members of the residential staff arranged karaoke nights and dance parties. Some of the residents became much more interested in baking and were able to keep busy by helping to make treats for the house.

DSPs inside of our residences worked extra shifts to help residents adjust to these challenging times. Eileen and other residential staff modeled social distancing measures and masking procedures to help residents stay safe. They were concerned

Eileen is happy that residents can now go out to restaurants, see their families, and have started to return to Day-Habilitation programs. She’s grateful to have made it through the worst of the pandemic and is feeling hopeful about the future.

her residents and her loved ones. She was concerned about bringing the virus home to her family or spreading it within Addeo. As an extra precaution, she began quarantining herself away from her own family. “I was just going to work and then going straight home,” Eileen noted.

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Celebrating an Enduring Partnership

Domenico Ciaccio, Ridgewood Savings Bank Friends can help you celebrate good times and enrich your life experience. But friends can also provide support during the tough times. Ridgewood Savings Bank has long been a great ally and partner to Mercy Home. We spoke to Domenico Ciaccio, Vice President at Ridgewood Savings Bank, about how this special relationship has grown, especially lately. To Domenico, the trying times tell the most about people. Mercy Home’s arts programs for youth and adults with developmental disabilities have really been tangible during this difficult time. “Families are seeing their loved ones prosper. If that was my son or daughter – to pick up an instrument and play it – it’s an amazing heartwarming feeling. You really expanded your outreach and engagement,” he emphasized. As a longtime friend and supporter of Mercy Home, Domenico states that he loves attending our events and has fond memories, especially seeing the residents perform in Melodic Soul. “They pick up their instruments and play so well. It shows the innovativeness of Mercy Home.”

Domenico was especially enthusiastic about our recent virtual Ability Over Disability art show and the way that our art therapists have engaged with young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities despite the hardships of the pandemic. During the pandemic, everyone has had to pick themselves up and pivot in their daily lives. That includes nonprofits and businesses. With 20 years of service in the banking industry, Domenico Ciaccio has learned that when there is a crisis, it’s time to renew your services. “Just like Mercy Home we reinvented our services.” Ridgewood Savings Bank needed to “make sure that continuity existed during the crisis,” he said, “70% of our loans in the past year were to small businesses.” Looking back, Domenico states that the MLK, Jr. Day volunteer event remains one of his favorite events because of the energy and enthusiasm. Every year, Mercy Home hosts a volunteer event celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Individuals and groups participate in painting or planting flowers and beautifying our homes for independent living in the neighborhoods where Mercy Home has a footprint.

Domenico is enthusiastic about Mercy Home’s continued partnership with Ridgewood Savings Bank. Having an impact on the community is important. “You see the great work that Mercy Home does,” like Mercy Home, Ridgewood Savings Bank seeks to “provide calmness to those who are struggling during this pandemic.” In many ways, Mercy Home seems like an extension of Ridgewood Savings Bank, “like helping people and helping the community,” he said. “Ridgewood Savings Bank has been around for 100 years helping the people that need it most. We strive to continue to invest in communities that we serve.” We are very thankful for our relationship and strong friendship with Ridgewood Bank. And especially the support of Domenico and our board member, Anthony Simeone, Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer. We’ve become enduring partners in a common cause.

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Supporting the people

in our care during COVID-19 Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to gather for a Valentine’s Day Dance hosted by Frank Seddio, have regular visits with our furry friends, receive manicures and make up lessons in a glam day with Princess Chambers, plant and harvest for Plant-Grow-Give, swim and BBQ with friends, watch our favorite home-team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, and walk together to raise awareness of Developmental Disability community.

Mercy Buddies

Princess Chambers Event

In March, our lives shifted. But, when we reached out to help, you were there, and we received so much support from our partners and friends and our sponsor, the Sisters of Mercy.. While our inperson events were cancelled, we were able to successfully host a ZoomAThon virtual fundraiser to raise much needed funds. The Sisters of Mercy and other supporters joined us for a car parade honoring essential workers. And we received so many tasty goodies from Brooklyn restaurants thanks to our friends at Myrtle Ave BID and Corkscrew Wines. When personal protective equipment was hard to find, you stepped in and stepped up to get us masks, gloves, sanitizing cleaners, and gowns to ensure the safety of everyone in the Mercy Home community.

ZoomAThon

PPE delivery from Brooklyn Borough President’s office

Brooklyn Cyclones event Princess Chambers Event

Food Drop Offs

BBQ in Syosset Car Parade

Valentine’s Day Dance

PPE Drop Offs

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DD Awareness Week


In-Home Respite

Mercy Buddies

Prior to New York’s stay in place order, we offered In-Home Respite where a staff member visits a family’s home to work one-on-one with individuals to create goals that help them enjoy experiences in their neighborhoods like going to the library or a musical, traveling on a bus or subway, or making plans to hang out with friends. They get the opportunity to travel around the city while developing socialization skills.

Gina absolutely fell in love with Gumdrop, she was so excited to meet him that she learned to communicate his name in sign language. For Gina and others with intellectual and developmental disabilities, interacting with their furry four-legged friends provides comfort and joy. The love and support that a therapy animal provides helps people with I/DD, especially those who are nonverbal, express themselves. Thanks to funding from the Sisters of Mercy and Fellone Accordino Family Trust we were able to bring smiles to so many faces.

Day Hab Without Walls For men and women that are supported by Mercy Home and prefer not to attend a traditional day program, Day Hab without Walls is a wonderful option.

Respite Many young people and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a strong support network at home, but still strive for social connection with their peers. That’s where Mercy Home Respite programs come in. Prior to the pandemic, people would come to our administrative offices in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. After March, we moved virtually and met through Zoom for playing cards, watching movies, and enjoying music and art with our licensed art therapists.

Along with Day Habilitation coordinators, participants plan activities that get them out in the community by volunteering at a local homeless shelter, attending a pottery or art class or going to a Broadway show, or even by becoming an organic farmer in our Plant-Grow-Give organic farming program. These kinds of independently driven opportunities help individuals build a greater sense of autonomy, while also driving their connections with the broader community. These activities build awareness and compassion in society.

Plant-Grow-Give

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Therapeutic Programs

Music Therapy Art Therapy Dance/Yoga Therapy Horticultural Therapy Pet Therapy

Zoom Music Therapy session

Luau

Since March, we’ve been Zooming away at our Respite and Residential therapeutic sessions. Participants have had a chance to experience the magic of music, tap into their creative energies while working with color and various textiles, and even better, thanks to our supporters , children in the Respite program received care packages filled with goodies.

Spinning the Composter

Art Therapy

Thank you standing with us. Your contributions have been a blessing to all of those in our care. Music Therapy

Brooklyn Cyclones


Board of Directors

Residences

Officers

Members Emeritus

Brooklyn, NY

Donna T. Whiteford, Chair

David Orlinsky

Gail Addeo Residence

Frank Fellone, III, Vice-Chair

Richard T. Santulli

Augusta Residence

Anthony J. Simeone, Treasurer

Honorable Matthew J. Emic

Herkimer Residence

Sister Frances Picone, RSM, Secretary

Directors

Joseph’s Residence

Advisory Board

Littlejohn Residence

Sister Camille D’Arienzo, RSM

Richard T. Santulli Residence Visitation Residence

Sister Theresa Agliardi, RSM Father Tom Ahern

Rev. Michael J. McGivney Residence

Harold Warren Residence

Kerin Coughlin

Senior Staff

Sister Margaret Dempsey, RSM

Janice Aris, Executive Director

Sister Linda Esposito, RSM

Monique Porter, Chief Residential Process Officer

Robert Flanagan

Minglan Cai, Executive Vice President of Finance

Lisa P. Goldstein

Doreth Edwards, Chief Compliance Officer

Ricky Jain

Helen Stewart, Director of Development

Queens County

Shea Hudson Kerr

Jamel Hunt, Director of Human Resources

Chrys Residence

Nassau County Mary E. Casey Residence

Raymond Quan

Franks’ Residence

Casey McKee

Kevin Keating Residence

Vincent Siasoco, MD, MBA Tim Solberg

Directors Bernadine Cadogen, Residential Director Lauret Campbell, Entitlement Director Andrew Cottet, Residential Director Maverly Dennis, Director of Nursing Ashleé Lyte, Director of Support Programs Eldon Mitchell, Facilities Director Kelly Nagy, Director of Training Jeffery Sealy, Director of Psychological Services *Board and staff listed includes representatives from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.

Supporting Programs Bridge to Better Living Nutrition Program Day Habilitation In-Home Respite Creative Arts Therapy Program Respite for Teens and Adults Plant-Grow-Give & Horticultural Therapy Mercy Buddies Pet Therapy Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

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Donors • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Anonymous Raymond Ally Richard & Caroline Anderson Edward & Maysa Antonio Paula Antonio Brian Archer Janice Aris Rhona Aris Annette Aspillaga Benevity Community Impact Fund Kathleen and Jack Best Bill Nolan Plumbing & Heating, Inc. Pauline Blake Anne H Bradley Richard Brady Black Productions LLC Brooklyn Arts Council John & Kathleen Brophy Carlos and Diana Caballero Claudio Caballero Bernadine Cadogan Caring Therapy Services, PLLC James Carr Catholic Cemeteries Catholic Teachers Association Peggy Cecere Sunny and Jay Chi Louis and Lucille Chiacchere Salvatore Chiacchere Joanne Colella Con Edison Peter Conlan Karen Cook Bonnie & Richard Cornwall Eileen Crespo Catherine Cronin Eileen Crumlish Sister Kay Crumlish (In Loving Memory) Cypress Hills Cemetery Lorraine Damm Elizabeth DeJesus Matthew D’Emic Ed Dempsey Sr. Margaret Dempsey Richard & Maria Denecker Jena Derman Alice & John DeSantis Micheline Desvallons Robert Donato

In-Kind Donors • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Margie Donohue Sister Linda Esposito Facebook Payments, Inc Ferne Farber Frank and Tessa Fellone Stacey Fellone Frank Fellone Jr. Michelle Finnegan Charles Fiore Rose Flath Flushing Bank Stephanie Freeman Jim & Nancy French FSC Foundation - Christian Brothers Services Grace George Susan Giliberti Dennis Glacken David Glasser Greg Goetz Goetz Family Foundation Lisa Goldstein Bernadette Grillo Koji and Marilee Hayashi Robert Hennessy Shea Hudson Kerr Sister Maureen King Rita Iannone Sean Infante Carol Lotta Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation Jackson Lewis Emily Jacobson Sr. Maureen Jessnick JP Morgan Chase Foundation Catherine Klein Jane Kohler Lauren Kravetz Robert & Clare Kretzman Thomas and Allison Kurian Roberta Kyle Joshua Lamberg Lets Make A Deal of New York, LLC Kenwin Lockhart Michelle & Chris Lowe Christina Luksa Mary Macchiarola Chandra Maharsj Virginia McCarthy Colin McCluney

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Joseph McDermott Margaret McDonough John McGowan Justine McGrory Sister Mary McGrory Casey James McKee McKeen Fund Merrick Pharmacy Mid Bedford Lions Club The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Elizabeth Muller Mary Murphy Virginia Murray Mutual of America Benjamin Neusius Sarah & Phil Neusius Carol & Steve Nuzzo New York State Council of the Arts William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation David & Candy Orlinsky Esq Kimberley Overs Salvatore Pampalone Thomas Panzella Paul Passant Diana Patterson Veronica Pellizzi Father Michael Perry Lennox & Vennis Peters Sister Frances Picone Plagiarist LLC Peter Procida Public Consulting Group Raymond Quan John and Leslie Riche Ridgewood Savings Bank Matthew Rizzo Kathy Rode Rose M. Badgeley Residiuary Charitable Trust RSM US Foundation RSM US LLP Nicole Runyan Kevin Ryan S & P Global Dinesh Sakhrani Santulli Family Foundation Fonda Sara Joseph Scarfutti

• Linda & W. Gerow Schick • Secret Santa Donors from across Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island • Charles Sentowski • Kathleen Sheehan • Dr. Vincent Siasoco • Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community • Barbara Slattery • Jim Slattery • Joanne Slattery • Sister Ellen Smith RSM • Robert Sorge • St. Joan of Arc Track Team • Steven Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation • Studio One • Lourdes Sullivan • Mary & John Sullivan • Greg Sutton • TD Charitable Foundation • Maria Tenebruso • The Weiss Family • Honey and Michael Theogene • Anna Tufano • Angelica Villatoro • The Hyde and Watson Foundation • Celeste Wasielewski • Alex Weiss • Wells Fargo • Donna and Bob Whiteford • Eliza Williams • Jacqueline Winstead • Tiffany Woo • Liz Wren

In-kind donors provided much needed personal protective equipment, meals for residents and essential care workers, gifts to help make the holiday season brighter, provide games and activities for residents as they had to stay in place, and so much more. Thank you all!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Karen Asare Kathleen Casey Jim & Nancy French Kristine Herman Lisa and Peter Nosal and their friends and family Sister Fran Picone Courtney Skeen and Christian Resource Celeste Wasielewski Alex Weiss Beatrice Weiss Bon Soir Caterers Brooklyn Borough Presidents Office Central Business Corkscrew Wines Falafel House Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities Myrtle Ave Bid Pancho Villa Peete’s Pie Putnams Soco Our Kid’s Place Sisters of Mercy Special Olympics St. Clare Church Catholic Church Stephen Siller/Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Government Partners Mercy Home proudly acknowledges its ongoing partnerships with New York State. The support and funding from Office of People with Developmental Disabilities enable Mercy Home to provide homes to those in need.

*Everyone at Mercy Home is appreciative of every donation received. We strive to be as inclusive as possible, please forgive us for any omissions. These generous donors represent gifts over $100.00.

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Statement of Activities Interest & Dividends

Special Events Revenue

Realized Gain on Investment Grants & Contributions

Non Residential Programs Fund Raising

Misc. Administration

Program & Government Support

Residential Programs

Support Revenue Program & Government Support Grants & Contributions Realized Gain on Investment Interest & Dividends Special Events Revenue Misc. TOTAL REVENUE

Supporting Expenses $19,028,683.00 $472,297.00 $(33,467.00) $344,142.00 $30,089.00 $51,436.00

Residential Programs Administration Non Residential Programs Fund Raising TOTAL EXPENSES

$16,422,087.00 $1,997,166.00 $768,623.00 $376,349.00 $19,564,225.00

$19,893,180.00

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Mercy Home for Children 273 Willoughby Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11205 mercyhomeny.org A Sisters of Mercy Ministry since 1862

It is the mission of Mercy Home to assure the quality of life for persons with developmental disabilities through the recognition of each person’s inherent dignity and absolute right to a life filled with learning and love. The mission is fulfilled by practicing the Core Values of Respect, Trust, Teamwork, Care and Compassion.

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Mercy Home's 2019-2020 Annual Report  

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