2016-03-23 / Features

Flushing House Founders Hold 100th Anniversary Gala

Aerial view of Flushing House, New York State’s largest non-profit Independent Living retirement community. Aerial view of Flushing House, New York State’s largest non-profit Independent Living retirement community. United Adult Ministries (UAM) will hold a gala celebration commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the organization which founded Flushing House. The fundraiser is on April 21 at The Garden City Hotel, Garden City. The parent company of Flushing House, UAM, will also honor three outstanding individuals at their gala with The Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award.

This Centenary Celebration is a story of perseverance by eight Presbyterian women who never gave up on their dream to build a special home for older adults. Their story began on April 12, 1916, when incorporation of the Brooklyn Presbyterian Home for the Aged was approved. Years passed with no construction, due to lack of funds. Inspired by the plight of WWI widows, the women’s auxiliary persevered, and in 1945 and 1946, they were given permission to purchase two brownstones in Brooklyn.

Realizing the need for more space, the board and auxiliary made their plans known to the Presbyteries. Another site was found and in 1954 an 11-acre estate in Woodbury was secured. First residents from the brownstones moved into the Woodbury mansion in 1955. The 60’s and 70’s saw larger buildings go up on the estate, and mergers with other Brooklyn institutions in need of more space. In 1971, the Reformed Church in America affiliated with growing United Presbyterian Residence (UPR), sharing governance of the nursing home with the Presbyteries of New York City and Long Island. By the late 1990’s, UPR was serving nearly 700 residents on a 33-acre campus!

In 1969, the Reformed Church at Bowne Street and 38th Avenue, Flushing, was destroyed by fire. UPR’s board saw this as an ideal site to finally build their dream home for older adults. This would be a nonprofit, nonsectarian, 12-story retirement community, with 319 apartments. An added benefit was that nursing care, if needed, was available at UPR. Ground was broken in 1973, Flushing House opened in 1975 and is still the largest, nonprofit, Independent Living retirement community in New York State.

Rose Kryzak was a senior activist who also persevered in fighting for older adults. A long-time Flushing House resident, she died on June 24, 1999 at 99 years young. To keep her legacy alive, UAM’s board started the Kryzak Awards in 2000. At each Gala, Kryzak's family has attended to honor award winners for their service to older adults. Kryzak was known for spearheading the EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage) plan, from her Flushing House apartment!

Flushing House’s honorees also persevered, dedicating years of service to older adults. Bruce Cunningham has been executive director of the Queens Interagency Council on Aging (QICA), from 2002 to present. QICA is the only borough-wide coalition of over a 100 organizations and individuals providing vital senior services. QICA speaks “With One Voice,” improving communication amongst Queens senior service organizations. As their “sparkplug,” Cunningham has created hundreds of QICA programs and has lobbied effectively with elected officials and policy makers, informing on issues of vital concern to Queens seniors. Charles and Christine Frank, the first co-administrators of Flushing House, met while working at UPR. They were selected by their board to open and fill up Flushing House in its first years of operation. These worthy honorees will receive the Rose Kryzak Senior Leadership Award.

Aside from perseverance on behalf of older adults, this Centenary Celebration is also about the continuing mission of UAM, Expanding Horizons For Older Adults. UAM asks all who care for the elderly to support their fundraiser. All proceeds support a special endowment fund, which keeps Flushing House affordable for many of the older adults who live there. Help strengthen their fund for the next 100 years.

The gala fundraising dinner will be held on April 21, 2016, at The Garden City Hotel, starting at 6:00 p.m. Please RSVP by April 4, 2016 by sending your name, address, and a $150 per person tax-deductible check payable to: United Adult Ministries, to Robert Salant, Director of Community Relations, Flushing House, 38-20 Bowne Street, Flushing, NY 11354. For more information on RSVPs and/or Souvenir Journal advertisements, call (347) 532-3025 or email rsalant@uam.org

Flushing House is the largest nonprofit, Independent Living retirement community in New York State, and one of the first to offer older adults Independent Living with supportive services on-premises. Please go to www.flushinghouse.com for more information.

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