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Dear Friends,

“No one knows what heartbreak is until you have seen your friends’ children start to walk and talk and yours just lies there doing nothing.” -- Olga DeFelippo, founding president of the Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC)

These heartfelt and honest words describe life as the parent of a child living with special needs in the 1950s when parents had only two options: place your child in an institution or keep them at home. With few choices, families were deeply concerned about their children’s quality of life and their future. This grim reality prompted a group of courageous parents to take action.

In 1958, these parents founded the GEC with the help of Senator William T. Conklin and Assembly Member Luigi Marano. Their mission: Build a “brighter future” for all children living with developmental disabilities.

Since that time the GEC has been at the forefront of the human rights movement. In 1970 GEC opened the first residence in New York State for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Now, 59 years later, the GEC cares for nearly 1,000 children and adults and their families. Our 17 residences are home to 123 individuals, some who have participated in our programs since childhood. They call their residence home, and fellow residents their family.

We are proud to serve the first known generation of senior citizens living with developmental disabilities. Today, 72 percent of our residents are 50 years old and over. One resident recently celebrated her 91st birthday!

However, as residents age, we face new challenges. With age come mobility issues that require physical modifications to residences. Some residents are living with cerebral palsy; others suffer from arthritis that requires adaptive equipment to assist with ambulation.

Major building renovations are planned to improve accessibility. We want our seniors to age in their home instead of being transferred to a nursing facility.

We continually strive to obtain funding through government grants, foundations, donations, appeals, and special events to help make these vital renovations possible.

Please make a difference and contribute to the GEC Building Fund. Your support will improve the quality of life for individuals living with developmental disabilities.

Allow me to thank you in advance for your generosity!

With appreciation, 

arlene paul

Arlene Rutuelo
President Bd. of Directors

Paul Cassone
Executive Director/CEO


Allow me to tell you about Margie, one of our residents …

margieFor many years Margie has lived in one of the GEC’s residences, that she fondly considers her only true home. There are many challenges individuals living with developmental disabilities experience in their daily lives. Margie must also contend with blindness. Needless to say her living environment is crucial to her quality of life, comfort and happiness. In her residence there was a need to provide an accessible bathroom. Margie and other residents struggled to get in and out of the shower. Because Margie became frightened when she used the shower she required full physical assistance, as well as emotional support to help her through her fear of falling. Thanks to a grant awarded by a private foundation, the GEC was able to provide renovations to the bathroom. Now, Margie and her housemates are able to shower with greater confidence and increased independence. The residence is in a brownstone located in Bay Ridge. As with most Bay Ridge brownstones, there are six extremely steep concrete steps in the front entrance of the building. To avoid the possibility of falling, Margie and her housemates required assistance to enter and exit their residence. With additional funding provided by the foundation, the GEC was able to install an exterior chairlift. Now, Margie and her friends can go in and out of their home securely. With these physical plant modifications, Margie and her friends will be able to live out their senior years in a comfortable and safe environment they lovingly call home.


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Other Giving Opportunities

Securities, Trusts and Real Estate

Donations in the form of: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, securities or real estate can offer the contributor a substantial tax benefit. Please consult with your tax advisor for current IRS rules and regulations.

Planned Giving

Planned gifts such as: gift annuities, deferred payment annuities and remainder annuity trust can offer the donor numerous tax benefits. The Development Department can provide information that would allow you and your tax consultant to choose a plan that meets your financial needs.

Wills & Bequests

The most important reason to have a will is to ensure that you are the one who decides how your estate will be divided. By remembering the GEC in your will, you will help perpetuate a legacy of care that has existed since 1958. If you already have a will, a codicil can be added. Please consult with your attorney.

Matching Gifts

To double or perhaps triple your donation, please inquire if your employer has a matching gift program. Please include with your donation, the matching gift form. The Development Department will complete the form and return it to your employer for processing.

If you have any questions, please contact the Development Department at 718-833-6633 x 228.